Significance of Having a Team

Mo Murray , Reporter

Before every game, the DHS girls soccer team gathers in a room together to talk about our goals and expectations. We take turns sharing with each other the standards we set for ourselves, and the roll each individual holds in the upcoming match. A black marker circulates the room and we use it to write reminders and notes on our hands and arms to glance at during the game if we find ourselves in need of a reminder of why we’re playing or what we’re trying to accomplish, and how we plan to get there. I write the same three words on my wrist every time; “play for them”.

The most important thing I have learned in my almost 11 years of playing soccer is that my team is my family. Having people behind you to support you in both success and failure provides balance and fun to the often times chaotic and intimidating environment of competitive sports. A soccer game can hardly be played for the personal glory of one person. We find our success through working with and for each other.

When you’re working with a team, you have  the opportunity to meet new people who often become role models and positive influences in your life. Mentorship from coaches and older players can have a large impact on communication, decision making, and other social skills as well as academic success.

Being a part of a team sport requires athletes to use both verbal and non-verbal communication skills in every aspect, whether it’s a team meeting, practice, or a real game. In order to find success, you have to learn how to efficiently communicate with your team members to take the next step. Being forced to adapt to stressful situations while still maintaining sufficient communication skills is preparation for “real world” scenarios where effectively communicating with others is essential.

Those who play team sports also learn to listen to others even if they don’t necessarily agree with what their teammate or coach is saying, because it’s possible in every game scenario that another person will see or understand something you don’t. Everyone will have to exercise this skill when collaborating with others past graduation, and working with a team gives athletes the opportunity to develop this long before.

Because competitive sports creates a more pressured environment, athletes learn important decision making skills. Every decision a player makes on a field can affect the team, the game, and their playing time. Additionally, most decisions must be made in seconds or less within the fast paced course of a game or practice. Although these situations can prove highly stressful, it teaches players about being decisive, efficient, and how to quickly recover from mistakes for the sake of the team.

Decision making outside of the athletic realm is also affected by team sports. Student athletes are motivated to make healthy decisions outside of school because of how it could affect their athletic eligibility and performance.

Being a part of a team, athletic or not, isn’t for everyone. But personally, I have found more love, support, and motivation through my team than I could have ever hoped for, and made significant connections that will last long after my final game in the Durango High School soccer program.