Find Your Team
As I am cuddled up in blankets on a comfortable couch with my college animal welfare judging team, eating snacks, and laughing uncontrollably, I cannot help to think how teams have impacted my life. These teammates are the people that have supported me throughout the years. These are the people who have spent hours planning banquets, studying for the competitions, crying, comforting, and chopping fruit in a yoga fashion. (More on that later.)
From the very beginning, students learn the “basics” of being on a team. Coaches and teachers would always emphasize utilizing strengths, communicating and being dependable. Although these are adequate lessons learned on paper, additional interactions with teammates are much more valuable.
Sports were the earliest team activities that I can remember. I was never the best, in fact I was FAR from that title. Why? Because that title does not exist in team sports.
Teammates utilize each other's strengths to develop a competitive nature. You learn how to work with each other and respect decisions, on and off the court. As time goes on, sports become more competitive, important as the stakes climb higher, and more people are depending on you. I remember my senior year of volleyball season. We were in playoffs, if we lost that evening, we would be done for the season and I would return my #18 jersey for the last time. To calm our nerves, my coach played us our team song “Roar” by Katy Perry, wrote us an individual note saying how our individual strengths can help the whole, and uplifted our spirits and confidence through her inspirational words. Out of all the games won, impressive kills, perfect sets and miles on the line, I remember these memories. I know jamming to Katy Perry had impacted me more than the physical fundamentals of the sport.
In high school, I was always on the executive teams for my 4-H club and my FFA chapter. I didn't do it for the resume builder or because my mother told me to do it, I did it for the opportunities to plan events. My favorite memories of FFA were early morning meetings (with coffee and donuts as incentives) planning banquet, procrastinating through telling stories, and hounding our advisor with legitimate and silly questions. While planning events, you get a sense for strategically working together. Once it all was done, people clapped and congratulated us for the hard work WE put in for the successful year.
Career Development Events are opportunities to thrive as an individual, and work together to complete the task. In preparation, we would critique each other with constructive criticism during reasons practice. Reality check, it is absolutely impossible to learn something without the help of somebody else guiding you along. I remember going through practice round after practice round, discussing the ins and out, techniques, and strategies for the contest. We want others to succeed, not only because it goes into our team score, but because we want to better the individual in their self-confidence and their ability to be successful.
Now, let’s talk about my experience today. We have been practicing all semester for this contest. We have spent hours nose deep in our research, drilling one another on standards, and focusing on the scenarios we will encounter in the competition. Today was the day. The hours of work for the Animal Welfare Judging Assessment Competition all comes down to one hour of competition. I freaked out because I was nervous. I freaked out because I was incompetent. I freaked out because my hours of hard work came down to one hour IN FRONT OF THE JUDGES. But what did my team do? They supported me. They calmed me down, gave a pep talk, made me laugh and got me prepped to be successful.
So here I am, still cuddled on the couch, laughing with my teammates, and telling stories about today’s competition. Just like reminiscing on our Katy Perry jam sessions, these are the memories I am going to remember ten years from now. Growing as a person, laughing, respecting others ability, and challenging each other to be the best individuals they can be are the factors that make up the team. I cannot help to think how teams have impacted my life, they have all taught me valuable lessons. Oh, and don’t forget the fruit yoga.
(Disclaimer: fruit yoga is the act of chopping fruit in a yoga fashion to calm the nerves and laugh as a group because of your foolish motion whilst chopping fruit.)