There Is No "I" in "Team"
But there is a "Y"...at least as far as I'm concerned. As a kid growing up in Corinth, we really only had two options when it came to playing sports: the YMCA and the city park. The park was primarily known for tennis, baseball and soccer, whereas the YMCA offered quite a bit more - football, baseball, basketball, soccer, camp, swimming, etc. I played tee ball one year at the park, but after that, all of my sports-related activities were concentrated at the "Y," as we called it.
There were numerous baseball fields and one larger field for playing football. That football field was the center of activity on any given day...
It's where I played six seasons of football - my first three were on the Golden Bears, and my second three were on the Blue Hawks.
It's where I played one season of soccer - I was on the Bill Dalton Insurance team (orange and black uniforms) and I sat on the bench almost the entire season.
It's where the annual Punt, Pass & Kick contest was held each year, and Annie Brawner (yes, Annie...a girl) usually walked away with the 1st Place trophy.
It's where I met my first "foreigner" - an exchange student from Germany that was living with the Williams family. He was an amazing soccer player...
It's where I had to learn (the hard way) that it's more important to root for your team from the sidelines than it is to stare at the cheerleaders (namely, Ashley Atkins and Kristen Lorentz).
It's where I got my first taste of playing a sport in front of my parents and my grandparents and wanting to make big plays to impress them.
But more than anything, it's where I learned that being on a team and playing as a team is more important than the actual outcome of the game itself. Sure, we loved to win. We wanted to win. We sure as hell didn't want to lose. We learned that winning is great, but when one team wins, the other team loses. But not really. So it's really not about winning...or losing. It's about playing the game as a team and doing the best you can. If you win, great. If you lose, so be it. You shake hands with the other team after the game, regardless of the outcome, and you say, "Good game."
I learned so many things on that field that it's really hard to articulate or even put them all down on paper...or a screen, if you will.
All I know is that whenever I go back to Corinth, something pulls me back to that field. I drive down there, park and walk out on it.
The grass smells the same. The bleachers are still there.
So is the old scoreboard.
Was it really about keeping score? I don't think so.
It was about learning to work together. To win together. To lose together.
As a team.