Teammates: From Good To Great


 girl teammates

A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.

Proverbs 17:17, New Living Translation

I think I’m a good teammate.  Every job I’ve had, and every place I’ve worked, I’ve made friends and forged lasting friendships.  I currently have a friend at work that is going through a really difficult time.  As coworkers, we are also teammates. I like to think that I’m a good teammate, and I want to be a great teammate. But to go from good to great, first I have to be consistently good.

A good teammate is someone willing to get outside of personal thoughts and emotions, a friend who tries to understand, appreciate, and encourage other members of the team. “Basically, treating one’s teammates with consideration and respect is vital to being a good teammate,” said Britt Brewer, an associate professor of psychology and the men’s cross-country coach at Springfield College in Massachusetts.

I think I’m a good teammate because I show concern.  A friend at a previous job pulled me aside and told me this: “Do you know what your problem is? You care!”  There are subtle ways to communicate that you care: Cheer for your teammates, regardless of whether they’re fast or slow, veteran or neophyte, varsity or JV. Or rally the spirits of someone who’s had a bad performance. Share stories; listen to a teammate’s problems and worries. This is the key-concern. Are you concerned about the people you train and race with? Can they sense it, or do they sense something else?

I work with people who aren’t good teammates.  They aren’t good teammates because they don’t care.  A lack of concern can show up in many ways. At a certain point, seemingly harmless kidding can become cutting. Even encouragement can sound like criticism, as in, “Don’t let him beat you!” There are things a teammate does, intentionally or not, that disrupt team cohesion.

Consider this analogy about good teammates from a girls track team: “There’s plenty of competition against the other teams without creating more among our own runners,” says Wes Player, girls coach at Mead High School in Spokane, Washington. “If two girls on the same team are trying to beat each other in every race, it can wear them out emotionally.” This is probably the trickiest part of being a good teammate. You have to try to move yourself up in team standing. But you also have to support your teammates’ efforts to do the same thing. So remember the ultimate teammate rule: “God first; team second; yourself last.”

So be a good teammate. Runners need to remember that they are on the same team.  That’s the key. We are on the same team.  As believers, we are fighting the same foe: injustice, inequity, and inequality.  If we can remember that, and muster and marshal our efforts against our common enemy and not against each other, we as a team and as individuals will always have a shot at victory.

Be a consistently good teammate and work your way up to being a great teammate. How? Try these on for size:

 A GOOD Teammate…

* Makes newcomers feel welcome

* Cheers other players

* Attends team functions and social events

* Accepts the coach’s decisions

* Sends a note or gift to an upset teammate

* Develops team T-shirts, cheers, songs

* Joins group warm-ups, stretches, and cool downs

* Shows interest in teammates’ problems

* Organizes group runs during the off-season

* Sets a good example of right and wrong

* Is a friend

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