The game is tied with only a minute left. It’s a time-out, and he looks to his left and to his right and sees his teammates looking right back at him. He looks up to his coach and sees the confidence in his eyes. He knows it; the impossible can be done with the help of his team. Win or lose, he knows that the team will do it together. Win or lose, the team will have each other’s backs.

No matter how this game ends, nothing will change the relationships he has gained from being a member of this team. If they lose, he knows there are at least 10 other people who will feel the exact way that he does. That knowledge gives him courage and comfort.

If they win, he would not want to celebrate with anyone else but the people who are sitting next to him on that bench. If they win, this victory is all of theirs. They worked hard together every day in practice. They got yelled at together. They WILL succeed together.

At this point, I am going to leave everyone hanging. It’s not whether this team wins or loses, but it’s all about the team itself. The team is a unit. Dictionary.com defines “team” as “a group of people with a full set of complementary skills required to complete a task, job, or project.”

That definition is accurate. Complementary skills are necessary for any sports team, but there is more to being a member of a team than just the skills and the completion of the task at hand (winning).

There is no greater feeling than knowing that a large group of people have your back, are cheering for you, and are never going to disappoint you. A team can be as small as two people or as large as a football team (I swear football has like 90 athletes on the sidelines). No matter the size of a team, they have a special bond that never goes away.

This special bond is one of trust. A team cannot and will not function if they do not trust each other. A member of the team will have nothing but trust that, no matter what happens, their teammates will always have their backs. They trust their teammates to do what they have practiced and execute it.

On the court and during practices, a person can very easily come to hating their teammates, because they have had to run the same play 1,000 times because no one can get it right. Or they mess up and the entire team has to run extra sprints.

Teammates can become the most hated people in the world, but as soon as the play is over or the running stops, a team will instantly move on TOGETHER. Together, everyone achieves more. They will stand together as a whole unit, ready for whatever is to come.

Teammates are not afraid to hurt each other’s feelings, because no matter what is said or done, the team’s goal will ALWAYS come first. Everyone knows it’s for the good of the team. Teammates can’t stay mad at each other forever. Something good will happen in the game and all is forgotten.

Teammates go through so much together. They have good times and bad times. They have had times to be ashamed of a performance and times to boast about one. They have gotten yelled at by upset coaches and screamed at by adoring spectators.

They have won games and lost games, but they have done it together. That’s all that matters to them.

Members of a team have formed something deeper than members of a family have. A team is a sacred unit. I can’t explain the magic that one feels when a part of a team, but I can tell you this: Once a a teammate and friend, always a teammate and friend.

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