A Captain’s Responsibility

Simon - Jamaica, New York
Entered on December 9, 2009
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With leadership comes responsibility. In a sport like bowling, in which the individual talent and ability takes center stage, the captain alone shoulders much of the responsibilities that unite a team of athletes who care about personal statistics and improvement. He has to make sure that every bowler comes to practice on time. He has to ensure that the tiny elements of teamwork that are universal in every sport still exist after every frame, in every practice, in every match. Most importantly, he has to be able to boost morale and keep players focused.

I started out as a timid, sensitive bowler, and I wasn’t motivated enough. Yet the then-captains helped me adjust to the competitive and team style of bowling. Whether I bowled a strike or a spare, I always found welcoming and encouraging high-fives on my way back to my seat. Cheers of “Yeah, that’s how you do it, Simon!” and “great shot!” demolished any traces of shyness that I still had. Consequently, I became just as a strong and vocal cheerleader for my teammates as they were. On the other hand, the captains weren’t afraid to approach me when they felt I needed advice, and I learned to not take any criticism of my game personally.

During my tenure as captain, I strived for the same goals that they did. I made sure that everyone was included in the team events and practices and that we all motivated each other throughout the matches. I led all the cheers and the high-fives and everyone echoed my spirit. My speeches pushed even the bowler who just had the worst academic day of his life to put that aside and focus on the pins. I had my trademark line that I always reminded my team: if you can do it in practice, you can do it when it’s crunch time. Following the doctrines as I preached, I put that same amount of effort into my shots, and I mustered out what it took to knock those pins down when it mattered.

A leader is born when he stands out and makes others around him better. As I watched my teammates pour their hearts out and our scores rise higher and higher after every match, I was absolutely fulfilled in taking care of my responsibilities as a captain.