Saturday, August 28, 2010

our team

sports is invariably associated with the concept of the team. fashioned as a collective, constructed as a whole, identified as a unit, under a common flag and anthem and uniform and purpose.

even in individual sports, there is still an association with the team, with each athlete being the spear-point of a motley cast comprised in varying degrees of assorted coaches, trainers, therapists, nutritionists, consultants, managers, agents, accountants, assistants, acquaintances, associates, friends, and groupies.

for all athletes, in some form or fashion, whether professional or amateur, there is always some form of a team.

ostensibly, the team is supposed to be aimed at helping us achieve the one thing athletes desire most: winning. winning over others. winning over the self. winning over the challenges before us.

the problem is that this is not always true.

invariably, in the course of our lives, in ways sometimes fortuitous, in ways often disastrous, in ways always painful, we'll find that the team is not about us winning. teammates, coaches, our attendant assorted casts of characters and supposed companions, will in various ways at various places during various times--inevitably, in the worst ways in the worst places during the worst times--prove themselves to be something they should not: competitors, enemies, betrayers, thieves, parasites, spies. with conflicts of interest, mixed loyalties, separate agendas. serving a purpose other than us winning.

it is at those moments that we realize our real team.

and our team is not our supposed teammates, or coaches, or attendants and hangers-on. it is not the ones who always tell us yes. it is not the ones who do for us what we want. it is not the ones who dominate our lives. it is not the ones who come to us when our life seems good. it is not the ones who'll leave us when we find that we need them most. our team is not that.

our team is who we don't always expect. it is the ones who aren't afraid to tell us no. it is the ones who do for us what we need. it is the ones who step aside to accommodate our lives. it is the ones who've always been there for us. it is the ones who'll stay with us when we need them most.

and it is the ones who in various ways at various places during various times--inevitably, in all ways in all places during all times--prove themselves to be about the one thing we desire the most: winning. over others, over ourselves, over all the challenges that may ever come before us.

it is, in short, the ones who have always sought the best for us. even though we didn't know it, couldn't believe it, refused to accept it, even though it was always offered but ignored. even though we, and they, did not always understand each other.

that is our team.

and hopefully, we realize this before it's too late.

so that we can cross the finish line together, and share the life we have won for each other.

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