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Talking it over - Teamwork

At this time of year you hear a lot about teamwork. We are in the midst of the most aggressive sports season for some ages and about to head into tournaments. Teamwork is an important part of success in sports but also an important aspect of success in life.

I am a firm believer that young people should experience what it is like to be on a team. It doesn't necessarily have to be a sports team but any type of team. It could be Knowledge Bowl, debate, speech, dance, cheerleading or any number of others. Even participating in music, art and drama can give you the feeling of being one of the group or part of the team.

As a team member, you need to work together, learn aggressively and compete responsibly. Working as a team teaches you so many lessons, not just about the subject you are focusing on, but about how to work with people of varying personalities and beliefs. As a team member you are constantly learning new things, practicing and perfecting your skills. Sometimes these new skills, facts and procedures have to be learned quickly and practiced often. Then applying all that you have learned in a competitive yet considerate way, is another part of teamwork. Each one of these things helps prepare a person to work in a 'team-like' atmosphere at jobs and in relationships.

Being competitive in sports or other team-type organizations is not a bad thing. As long as you are fair and remember the rules, competition can be healthy. After all, life is all about competition, whether it is in buying and selling a product, raising a family in a fair yet challenging manner, or keeping a home or business active and thriving. Competition helps challenge and make a person strive to be at the top of their abilities.

Another part of teamwork, however, is sportsmanship. Playing or competing in a fair manner is more important, in some ways, than winning or losing. This is also a good lesson to carry into adulthood as we compete in several ways in our jobs and relationships.

Respect for leadership and fellow teammates is also important through all aspects of life. Even if someday you can say you have no one to answer to but yourself, you still have to respect yourself at the end of the day. You should also show respect not only for those in authority above you, but for those who work diligently for or with you.

Team spirit and teamwork can be learned at a young age but should not be forgotten at any age. Teamwork is a lesson that never stops and keeps us 'on our toes' throughout life.