This I Believe

Collin - Springfield, Missouri
Entered on May 1, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: community
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I believe in the power of teamwork. It is essential throughout all facets of life. Teamwork divides the task and doubles the success.

All of us have worked in teams at some point in life and can recall interacting with others to meet team objectives. I recall one particular instance at a football camp over the summer. On the first night, myself and my eleven teammates were given the task of completing a difficult obstacle course in less than six minutes. If we went over the six minute mark, the entire camp was given the punishment of 50 “up-downs”. The camp director chose my team, out of every team in the camp, to do this obstacle course. Fourteen-hundred eyes were fixed on us. The twelve of us lined up and took off at the whistle. We all made it through the majority of the course without a problem, but once we got to the twelve foot wall, we came to a screeching halt. Everyone was trying to get over the wall on their own to save time, rather than work together as a team. This strategy was doomed from the beginning. Finally the camp director’s whistle blew, and the entire camp did their 50 up-downs.

As I stood there panting, with my hands on my hips, my mind was racing trying to figure out how we were going to get through this obstacle course until finally it hit me. We weren’t doing any of this as a team. I called my team together and gave a strategy for the wall so all of us could get through without a problem. It sounded good, but now it would be put to the test.

I led my team over to the starting line, not knowing what to expect. All I could do was hope and pray that we could pull together here and get this over with. The whistle blew, and we were off. Everything went smoothly again until we reached the wall. This time, though, it was different. One of my teammates and I boosted the other guys over the wall, one-by-one, and then those ten would pull us up. Once we hit the ground on the other side of the wall, we noticed something written on it. It read, “TEAMWORK” in large bold letters. As the clock came around on five minutes, the twelve of us walked through the finish line together, as a team. It is amazing how much you can accomplish when it doesn’t matter who gets the credit.

I think that Legendary Coach Joe Paterno summed it up well when he said, “When a team outgrows individual performance and learns team confidence, excellence becomes a reality.” This is what I believe.