Have You Ever Played a Team Sport?
I participated in only one team sport in High School; Cross Country running. At the end of the season I was awarded a trophy for being the most valuable player. That’s not the reason I remember my sport with such fondness. My time on the Cross Country team made a lasting impression on me because of the Coach, Mr. Edmonds.
Inspired by the values he embodied, we knew that winning was less important than our sense of ourselves as a team. At the meets, when the boys ran their race, the girls spread out along the course to cheer for them. We would stand at the top of small cliffs they had to scale, wait on the other side of streams they had to hurdle, and watch from the side of long muddy roads and marshes for our boys to appear and come storming past. They did the same for us. It was amazing how you could find a little more energy when the words “You can do it!” were followed by your name; when you were being encouraged by someone who completely understood how you felt.
The experience of being on the Cross Country team was a metaphor for life within a community. You ran hard. You got tired and sweaty but everyone else did too. You didn’t always win but if people were cheering for you, you still felt good inside. At times you got a cramp or didn’t pace yourself and had to stop, or you didn’t gauge the cliff or stream well, fell and had to try again. Sometimes you paced your teammates as they ran beside you and at other times they did that for you. You ran in the rain and the cold on strange courses with puddles spanning the road and mud slowing your progress but you charged ahead anyway. And even if it took the last of your energy to make it over the finish line before collapsing on the grass in exhaustion, you were happy because you knew you would be rehashing it all with your teammates later.
Have you ever had the experience of being a member of a great team?
photo credit: Jack Newton