There’s No I in Team
The crack of the bat, you see the yellow and red of the softball flying over the outfield fence and you know you just won the game. As you are running towards your team all of a sudden you feel them lifting you up onto their shoulders. Heading towards home plate to collect your championship trophy, you feel like you’re on top of the world. All the hard work it took to get here finally paid off. The decisions that you made and all the sacrifices that it took were all worth it. I believe that team sports can shape your life and the person you become.
Being on a team makes you part of something. From day one, as soon as you make a commitment to that team, you are responsible for everything that you do. When you are out, with or without them, you are a representative of your team. This means that you have to be responsible. I began to figure this out at a fairly young age but the first time that it really hit me was during my freshman year of high school. I loved partying, hanging out with my friends, and skipping school. I was always sneaking out of my house to go hang out with the older kids on weeknights when my parents refused to let me out, and I hadn’t been caught yet. It made me feel independent, like I could take care of myself and make my own decisions. This, I would soon find out, was not the case.
There was this huge party one night for one of my friends that was going away to boot camp. His name was Blain and we had been friends for about a year so of course I couldn’t miss it. My parents had said it was ok for me to go stay the night at one of my other friend’s houses, but of course, being the “rebel” that I was during this time, that wasn’t where I was really going. I left my house, got picked up down the street and headed off to the party. It was a short drive but I felt like it took hours! I was so excited to be out of the house doing what I wanted to do. I was worry free and felt pretty cool for out-smarting my parents once again.
The next morning I woke up to my phone ringing off the hook. As soon as I looked at the caller ID my stomach twisted into knots and my heart was in my throat. It was my dad, calling to ask where I was. Turns out he had checked out my story and quickly realized my lie. As I drove up my street my palms were sweating and I was wishing that I could disappear. The talk I had to have with my parents was one of the worst I have ever had. It was embarrassing to have gotten caught, and to have lied. They were disappointed and had lost all their trust in me. When I was finished talking with my parents I had a long time, two months to be exact, to reflect on my life and what I really wanted out of it. If I would have gotten caught even being at that party, I would have been ineligible to play for my high school for a whole year. My team would have been let down and my coaches would never have looked at me the same. Just thinking about the team made me regret everything I had done. I realized that if I didn’t start making more responsible decisions I was going to have a lot of problems later in life.
Playing a team sport not only makes you more responsible but it can also help you build leadership skills. When you are on the softball field for example, and it is a tight game, you always need someone to step up and be a leader. Leadership skills become useful in other situations throughout life as well. If you have to do a group project say in school or at work, someone will need to be in charge of it. Chances are there are going to be a lot of people who just sit in the background but if you can be that person to step up and take charge you will look much better to your teacher or employer. I used to be extremely shy and playing softball has helped me to break out of my shell and speak up After that night of getting caught, if I know I should not be somewhere, I can say “Hey guys, lets just go to my house and watch a movie.” It feels good to know that you are keeping yourself, as well as others, out of trouble. Team sports can help bring out this quality in anyone, as well as many others. Many coaches call these “life skills.
I would not have learned a lot of the things that I have learned so far in life without the help of my teammates. You have to learn to accept people for who they are and not judge, because one day, you might need them. My teammates were the ones who helped me change my way of life. I began to lose friends and not have as many people supporting me because of the decisions that I was making. They did not want to hang out because they were afraid that we would get caught dong something we were not supposed to be doing. I was losing peoples trust left and right and I was starting to feel ashamed of who I was becoming. This played a large role in me turning my life around.
Team sports round out a person’s life. They make each individual more responsible, more of a leader, and a genuine good person to be around. After everything that I have been through so far, I have changed so much. I truly believe that I would not be the person that I am today without being part of a team for so many years.
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