The thing I love most about sports is summarized in one word: Team. This past weekend I was watching the season debut of Saturday Night Live (lame, I know). The musical guest that night was Arcade Fire. During the Arcade Fire performance, I started relating what they were doing to a sports team. This week I will focus on what being on team truly means and how we can all be great teammates.
Arcade Fire has seven members in the original group. While on tour the band typically adds six more members to form a team of 13 musicians on stage. The team includes musicians performing on the guitar, drums, viola, horns, cello, and violin. While I didn’t find the song performed on SNL to be their best, I thought it was great team performance. I noticed how the lead singers, drummers, guitarists, and people on the horns all were focused on their individual role; and doing it to the best of their ability.
To be a great teammate you have to sacrifice. Great teams are teams of sacrifice. This past summer Lebron James was asked how he would describe his two-time NBA Champion Miami Heat. He said, “We’re a team of sacrifice.” I’m a Heat fan because of the way Lebron James, Dewayne Wade, and Chris Bosh gave up more money and accolades to come together and form a great team. Whether it’s with a basketball team or a musical group, people have to be willing to sacrifice personal glory for the good of the team. In a musical group the lead singers are always going to draw the most attention. In order to have sustained success, the other group members must accept that. Great teammates don’t care who gets the credit as long as the team performs well and gets credit. Legendary basketball coach John Wooden had a sign in his office that said, “It’s amazing what happens when you don’t care who gets the credit.” I think that statement summarizes it all and applies to all career fields.
Great teams are trusting. When teammates trust one another they are able to focus on executing their role because they’re not worried about whether or not a teammate will fulfill theirs. With 13 members on stage, the lead singer of Arcade Fire can’t worry about the drums or horns hitting the right note or beat. If he does, his performance will be off and the band as a whole will look bad. In basketball, great defensive teams trust one another. A defender must trust that their teammate will be in help position. This allows them to guard the ball with tenacity but without the fear of getting beaten, because they know if they do get beaten a teammate will be there with help defense. No matter what type of team we are on, we must be trusted to do our job. We must also trust our teammates to execute their roles. Without trust, teams will not perform to their maximum ability.
When we’re watching a great team perform, we see passion. We see fun. Great teams bring a passion for what they do and it’s easy to see the fun they’re having. Great teams are comprised of individuals who love what they do and love being a part of the family. Family is a term that sometimes gets thrown around loosely, but great teams truly become a family. They become a family because they spend a lot of time together, experience highs and lows together, and have fun performing together. When a group or team becomes a family, no one cares who gets the glory. It’s all about “We” instead of “Me.” It was easy to see by the body language and looks on the members faces that Arcade Fire enjoyed playing on stage together. If one paid attention to the NBA last season, it was clearly evident that the Miami Heat were a family.
The great thing about sports is that they prepare us for life after sports. All of our playing days end at some point; we can’t play the game forever. However, we don’t have to play a sport to be on a team. No matter what profession we go into, we’ll be joining a team. In order for a team to be great, it has to have great teammates. We should all strive to be selfless, sacrificing, trusting, and passionate teammates. If we possess those traits we will be great teammates and help make our team great.
Thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!