Why I Love(d) Being on a Team

by

By: Jan Hathorn
Director of Athletics

Now that I am in my third year of being the Director of Athletics, probably the most frequent question people ask me is if I miss coaching. And the answer is yes and no.  The answer is yes because I miss having my own team of women students who are learning and growing and maturing through the avenue of sport.  The answer is no because I still have a team of my own – the PE/Athletic department.  The common denominator in these two answers is team.  So much of what I am today and so much of what I will be in the future is the result of teamwork.  There is nothing like being on a team, and here are three key reasons why:

1.     True Community. There are very few places in this world where you can find true community anymore, but a team is one of them.  Whether you are the coach, the trainer, the manager or a player, everyone comes together around a single purpose – to become a cohesive group. And when a team comes together in this way, there is a real and lasting sense of unity and support that defies description.  You become one in spirit and heart, which sounds mushy and sensitive, but it’s true. Just look at the men and women who serve in the armed forces.  Their platoon-mates become like family to them because they have worked, laughed, lived and struggled together for countless hours.  Being on a team is so similar, although not life threatening.  And you know, everyone needs true community.  It’s hard to find in today’s world but you can definitely find it within a team.

2.     Students as teachers. Many times over I was the one being taught.  I learned something from the team members every day, and I am a better person for it. It doesn’t matter who’s supposed to be the coach or the leader, if it’s really a team, everyone has something to offer. That remains true today.  A coach will come to my office or we will work together on a project or issue, and in the end, I have learned something about life and relationships.  This type of teamwork eventually becomes second nature and next thing you know, everyone’s learning from everyone, and the end result is something that transcends most other things in life.  It’s simply indescribable.

3.     No one can do this alone. Whether you’re talking about competing in a contest, working on a project, or just living life, there is just no way anyone can do it alone. So many times, within the course of a season, this would prove itself to all of us on the team. Just when you think you can’t do it, someone steps up and fills the need or the gap.  Just when you begin to doubt yourself and wonder if you’re good enough, someone lets you know how important you are to the group.  And then you are reminded that you don’t have to do this alone.  You just have to do your part.  What a relief!  You’re not all by yourself, you’re just one of many who make up the whole.  Where else can one find support like that?

There are very few things in my life that have had such a powerful influence on me, and being part of a team is one of them.  I challenge everyone to find a team somewhere and become a part of it.  It will change your life, and you’ll be glad it did.

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