This I Believe

Katie - Glencoe, Illinois
Entered on October 1, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

I Believe in the Power of Teamwork

As a general policy, I tend to work independently of others on schoolwork, so that my grade reflects my work; not the work of my classmates. I hate group projects for exactly this reason, and the fact that, most of the time, one member of the group ends up doing all of the work and, most of the time, that member is me. However, there are occasions when group work is not only appropriate, but necessary. Throughout my athletic career, I have learned on many occasions that in order for a team to succeed, they must actually be a team and work as one unit.

Last year, I played on the Junior Varsity Volleyball team as a Freshman, and I had the time of my life. There were three Freshmen on the team, but we did not even need to stick together to survive. All of the Sophomores who were on the Freshman teams together the year before accepted us as part of their inner circle. We became so close so fast as a result of being thrown into difficult situations together that we began to read each other on the court and work out who would get each ball without any confusion. Nobody had any drama on or off the court with any other teammate, partially because the difference in age created a barrier that prevented comparison and jealousy. I feel we played so well because each member supported her fellow teammates, no matter what grade they were in. As a result of our teamwork, we qualified for the top division in our conference.

In contrast, last year, I also made the Varsity Basketball team. Unfortunately, this experience differed greatly from my experience on the Junior Varsity Volleyball team. Each team member played for herself and herself only. There was a greater difference in the ages of the players and, on this team, age mattered. Our one Senior would only socialize with the starting Juniors, who would occasionally speak to the decent Sophomores, who would then talk to the Freshmen, if we were lucky. Our team was divided both on and off the court. We never played like a team, whether we were practicing or actually playing. Some “team” members were ball-hogs, some could not resist criticizing other players during an actual game, and one or two were friends with everyone. Sadly, these few players made up a small minority of the entire team, and the entire team did not follow their examples. As a result, we finished up the season with an astounding record of 11-19. You go girls!

This year, I made the Varsity Volleyball team, and we are off to a fantastic start. I do not know if it is just a difference between the two sports, but it seems like my whole volleyball team is friendly and accepting of me again, despite the fact that only three of my former team members made the team. Also, one other Sophomore made the jump between the Freshman team last year and the Varsity team this year, and she is just as much a part of the family as I am. We only have one conference loss so far, and two fourth-place finishes in tournaments including mostly public high schools. As a volleyball team from an all-girls Catholic high school with less than 400 students, this is quite a feat for us. I know these impressive wins would not be on our resume’ without our team unity and friendship.