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Teamwork – How do “you” spell it?

September 7, 2011

There’s an old saying that, “There’s no “I” in teamwork.” I’ve discovered that it might be a simple concept, yet few follow it.

My youngest son, Weston, is a teacher and also coaches 7th grade football. After his first football game yesterday, he received the following message from a distraught mother:

Mr. Weston,

I hope that the next game we have, my son (XXXXXXX) will have more than one opportunity to run the ball then in the game that was today. It was disappointing. As I mentioned to you before, this will be (XXXXXXX’s) 4th year playing football. The position he has always played before was a running back because he is good at it.


First, this young mother knows little about football. Even if her son was the best athlete on the team, it does little good for the best blocker to carry the ball if there’s nobody to block. Is the little fellow who can’t possibly block anyone – is he the one she wants out front paving the way for her son?

But the most glaring problem here is that the mother is completely focused on only one person – her son. Nowhere is the team mentioned.

Now, my son is a sharp young man that knows how to deal with a distraught parent, but I worry about the boy – and those like him. What kind of impression is the mother making on her son?

Back in my early days in emergency service, I got ragged a bit by the old firefighters. They accused us youngsters of being short on values – responsibility, respect, teamwork, honor, and others. Naturally, I thought they were just grumpy old men – out of touch with the new generation.

Now, I’m the old grumpy man. It bothers me to see people self focused. The “greater good” seems to be a saying made up by the “old folks.”

I believe the old guys that ragged me were right about their observation. The country is in horrible economic condition. Could it be that my generation was too self-focused.

The upcoming generations better “saddle up” and change their values. Because the only way we’re going to get our country back on solid ground is with some solid “old time” values.

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