Big Me, Little Team
Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
I’ll never forget standing in the locker room with my Division 1 field hockey players and listening to their postgame chatter. I was their new assistant coach, we had just lost our first game, and I was anxious to see how they were doing.
To my amazement, I didn’t sense the usual sober mood that comes with losing. In fact, the team leaders were upbeat as they discussed their glory moments while they changed out of their uniforms. One player, Maureen, talked about her personal stats, excited about her goal. Another player, Ellen, was happy with her two goals. None of the “superstars” cared about our injured fullback. I wanted to tell Ellen that if she’d only passed more we would have scored more and possibly won—but no one seemed interested. The team continued highlighting their own efforts. I walked out, bewildered.
As the season progressed, I realized that I wasn’t coaching a team, but rather a group of individuals primarily concerned with personal success. Talented as they were, they never experienced the glory of a shared victory or the bond that comes from a hard-fought team loss. They had no idea that they could be better than the sum of all their parts. When the head coach also focused on personal stats, a tone of selfishness was set and by the season’s end, ours was a group of disillusioned women. After their last game, few seemed upset that the season was over.
Watching a group of gifted athletes lose game after game showed me how much is lost when we choose ourselves over the team. I can only wonder what the women on the team would have been like if they had decided instead to live as Christ—the one who washed Peter’s feet, served lunch to 5,000 and, ultimately, took our place on the cross. His life, death and resurrection remind us that the call to serve others is the greatest victory we can ever experience!
1. In what ways can you model Christ’s service to others on your team?
2. How do you coach a selfish player?
3. How can you “live as Christ” today?
1 Corinthians 12
Jesus, fill me with Your Spirit that I might love others more than myself. Amen.