I was sitting here in the office catching up on some things while waiting for our game with Southwestern Oregon when I noticed a book on one of my shelves called “Wooden on Leadership,” by John Wooden. I picked up the book and it opened to a section called “Team Spirit.” Here are a few ideas from that section: “Team spirit is an eagerness to sacrifice personal interests or glory for the welfare of all.” (Notice it says eagerness not just willingness!) “Each individual revels in the glory of the group rather than the glory of the individual.” “There is only one star that counts: the team.”
I couldn’t help but think that this is a trying time of year for a lot of teams. Every game is huge. Playing rotations are usually shortened. Roles change as the needs of the team changes. Some players have continued to improve while some have stayed stagnant. There are even some players who actually look like they have gotten worse, when in reality they just haven’t progressed and improved as much as other teammates and opponents.
The players who have continued to improve over the course of the season and who have become more and more productive want to play more and usually deserve to play more. But for them to play more, someone else has to play less. How teams handle this situation is often times the difference between being champs or chumps. A lot of teams have at least one player who would rather play more than win, but those are usually not championship caliber teams. Championship caliber teams have competitive players who want to play as much as they can but if it comes down to playing more or winning more, they choose winning. And they do so without whining, complaining or making excuses.
So far, our team has been extremely unselfish and supportive of one another and I fully expect it to stay that way. And if it does, we have a chance to accomplish some great things over the next several weeks.