“Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”
— Vince Lombardi
In 2009, as the football chaplain for Austin Westlake High School, I asked a young man named Tanner if he was a pretty good quarterback. Of course, with tremendous humility he answered, “Yes, I am.” So, I proceeded to put words in his mouth and tell all of the offensive linemen that, “Tanner had it and he could do it without them.” As you can imagine, Tanner chirped up and said, “I didn’t say that.” Puzzled, I said, “What do you mean?” Tanners reply was perfect: “I do need them!” Now Tanner and I had never met, and this wasn’t pre-planned, which made it even better. Tanner realized that whatever success he would have was a direct result of his teammates playing to the best of their abilities. Life is tough, and it takes people like you to have a complete understanding of the “team” concept. There is nothing in life anyone has ever accomplished that they did totally on their own; it just doesn’t work that way.
Fast-forward: Tanner and the 2009 Westlake Chaparrals went on to play in the 2009 Texas 5A Division I State Championship game, and Tanner continued his career as the starting quarterback at Wake Forest, where he started the better part of all four years. Now, Solomon makes a great point in Ecclesiastes: it is far better to have people with you, the return on the labor is “good”. If you are ever going to reach the highest levels of success, realize you can’t do it alone, and take people with you.
I find it interesting that Jesus built a team of disciples as he started His earthly ministry. Jesus understood that at some point, he would need this group to continue the ministry that started with Him; they would have to continue the legacy. When you go it alone, you will only be capable of so much — but when you grasp the idea that your team can and will multiply your effort, it is then that you will begin to see true success.
Thinking Questions on Team Unity:
- What does the term “Team Unity” mean to you?
- Describe what true unity looks like to you as a Student-Athlete
- Identify your weaknesses as a student-athlete
- What are you willing to do to get better in these areas?