Monday, August 5, 2013

Working as a team

In a school setting, there is no shying away from a team. Teachers work with their grade-level team, with their department, with the school site. Students work with partners or groups, and learn to work with a variety of people who they may or may not initially get along with.

My husband and I choose to raise our kids as a team. I may be the softer one at times, but when it comes down to it, and after each conversation, it's definitely "us" versus "them."  We want "them" to grow up to be responsible, caring, kind-hearted people.  

One of "them" has a kryptonite; the other has flying power.  Jason is most notably a basketball player; theee best! He's small and fast, and can fly down the court.

Not aggressive, but assertive.  Even in the world of "noncompetitive" sports, he can pick up the rules of the game and hone in on what makes it fun.  In basketball, Jason wants the ball.  He wants to shoot.  He wants to score.  He wants to pass.  He wants to handle the ball.  And that's just in one sport! In baseball, he wants to catch.  He wants to throw.  He wants to bat and get that home run.  He wants to get outs for his team (one game, he got 3 outs in one inning!).   We haven't tried soccer or football yet, but we're ready for it!
All of his skills don't matter to us as much as the way he treats his team. He is the first one to clap when his teammate scores. He is the first to give a high-five for an awesome pass. He is the first to help his teammate up if they fall. On the bench, he'll start a chant for his team.  His genuine enthusiasm for the game is contagious.

A good coach is also a factor in promoting teamwork.  We're lucky that Jason has had some coaches who not only worked on individual skills, but stressed the importance of working together. Now that Dad is coaching this season, just after a couple of games and practices together, the team is calling out each other's names on the court, knows some basic terms and correct stances, and even trying to be humble when we make a cool play.

Hard work, focus, and practice pay off.  But Jason also has fun with his team and truly enjoys the game.  In just two seasons, he's learned things about teamwork that my husband or I could not teach on our own.

Proud? Definitely!  We're only hoping that nurturing, and not pushing or pressuring, these experiences add up to a lifelong love of healthy, physical activity, while at the same time, give him a chance to use these skills in other areas of his life.  In this highly competitive individualistic society, finding a "team player" is sometimes rare.  Jason is practicing at a young age to bury "boys will be boys."

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