A Player Within His Team


     When a player joins a team, he is automatically agreeing to a set of conditions which limit his individuality and stress the welfare of the team. The coach should assess the talent and explain each player’s role to him so that the best interests of the team will be promoted and the chances for victory will be increased.

     Since hustle demonstrates one’s concern for the team, it is absolutely obscene for any player to expend less than his total energy during any practice session or game because a team always needs complete dedication and effort from all personnel in order to achieve its maximum potential. Not everyone can be the best, but everyone can always try to do his best. If only all players who do not hustle could understand how a paralyzed person would greatly desire to take full advantage of all chances to do so, the players would very likely never again fail to move as they should! Perhaps the first requirement for all players should be a visit to some area of massive suffering in order to digest the splendor of their opportunity to be even able to play! I simply do not believe that it is ever justifiable for any player to “loaf” as compensation for his gifts and good fortune.

     If a player is unwilling to sacrifice his ego and assume a worthy but unrecognizable role in order for the team to succeed, then such an individual is unfit to call himself an athlete because an athlete is not simply a great talent in sport – much like an adult male is not necessarily a man because he is strong and of a certain age. How sad it is to see a team capable of greatness achieve only mediocrity because some players constantly fail to cooperate with one another in executing the game plan, but rather are concerned only with their own reputation! Consequently, they will not block for one another, pass to one another, or most importantly continuously work hard and cheer for one another.

     When an athlete on a team performs, he should not be playing firstly for his own goals (unless such goals are synonymous with the team welfare as established by the coach), but rather he should be playing for a universal creed which all true athletes accept and which states, “To participate is always to employ the full measure of one’s resources on behalf of the team.” Thus, the biggest shame is that anyone who disbelieves in the above quotation would even dream of participating in a team sport. If anything, such a person belongs in an individual sport where he will only be a detriment to himself. “No one has the right to do that which, if everyone did, would destroy the team.”

     No one would deny the fact that some egotistical, lethargic players are members of certain teams, but the exact reasons for their existence and presence on such clubs is unknown. I am positive that the reasons are complex and the treatment is uncertain. It could be that various factors throughout life impress themselves on one’s mind and cause some players to be satisfied despite quitting and/or defying the team interests, while others never quit or stop serving the team and, yet, are never satisfied.

     If coaches knew what factors motivated self-centered players, perhaps there would be fewer of these failures today. I do know that problems will increase when the coach fails to deal firmly with an indifferent player (if such a person is allowed on the team in the first place). There will likely be trouble among the players because the selfish attitude of some will ruin the total joy of the season for the others; or, possibly, the coach will eventually address the team about the dreadful effects of apathy - only to discover that he is too late. Am I dreaming when I envision a group of players to be single-minded in the cause of building a team based on mutual concern, exemplified by everyone’s subservience to the common good? I cannot think of many things in sports more pleasurable to watch than teamwork which produces upsets, and teamwork demands thinking in terms of “we’ instead of “I”.

     It would be wonderful if a system could be devised wherein a team earns a score based on the formula of its total effort/physical capability to produce and achieve minus its actual performance. The team with the smallest deficit between its potential and the real score of the game would be the winner. Everyone (every team) would have to undergo the supreme test of challenging himself (itself). “The true test of an athlete is in the struggle, not the outcome.” To what extent and at what levels should winning be emphasized at the expense of other factors? A big problem is how to produce altruistic athletes when other qualities are far more greatly publicized and rewarded. “Doing your own thing” might be wonderful in some places, but it does not belong in team sports.