Why sports are ruining students: Part 2 The hidden “I” in team

My favorite sport to watch on TV is probably college basketball.  I thoroughly enjoyed this years final four, because I think I was able to see 4 good TEAMS.  Now there were certain players that may have gotten more TV time than others, but I don’t think NC or UCLA would have been great had they surrounded their star players with the likes of people like me.  I even think that the two best TEAMS made it to the National Championship.  They were well coached, talented teams that played as TEAMS.


Unfortunately this is not the way things usually happen.  In today’s world, it seems that most of the attention is placed on the athletes that are “me” first “team” second.  And make no mistake this has filtered all the way down to affect how students think.  Just watch a pick up game played by middle school or high school students and see how many passes are made, or how many players are on the team actually get to play as opposed to just being an extra body on the field.  But it is not just pick up games it is also in organized sports. 


There are countless middle school and high school “teams” built solely around one person.  Now I am NOT saying that everyone should have equal playing time and equal shots taken, but I honestly believe that the concept of “team” is lost in most cases.  Students are not taught you win as a team you lose as a team.  If a team loses but the individual plays well then that was the most important thing.  The thought that each individual player is part of something bigger than themselves is not taught, and this lesson is taught early.


This summer on many t-ball and small fields, children will be taught the early lessons of me first, win second, and team third mentality.  And as they grow this lesson will be reinforced over and over again.  But you are wondering what the problem with this is?


The problem is that students will take these lessons and apply them to every aspect of life.  When they are with friends, they are thinking about self first.  When they get to college the mentality will be everyone is here to serve me, it is all about me.  And then when they finally get a job and they have to work WITH someone or on a TEAM, they will have no idea how that is supposed to work. 


I honestly believe that this problem can be reversed.  We just need to start teaching early enough that when you are on a team, you put yourself second and the team first.  That means when someone on your team does well you celebrate, but when you lose, you lose as a team.  The reality is that the kids won’t have a problem learning this as much as the parents and coaches will have a problem with this. 



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