In high school, I played sports; basketball, volleyball and ran on relay teams in Track. After high school, I continued to play in volleyball and joined softball teams. When volunteering with Special Olympics, I was part of the Games Management Team. The underlying theme was that you needed to work together in order to achieve your goals. The blood, sweat, tears, long practices, long days, exhaustion and the relationships of those around you to persevere together to achieve your goal, to win. I’ve been on many other teams too, volunteering on boards of directors and project teams at work and the thought process is the same no matter where you go.
I don’t think I really truly understood my team until we had Maddox’s diagnosis. There are two goals for the team; keeping Maddox healthy/happy and to find a cure for CF. The practice of the goal is the tricky part, right? In basketball, if you didn’t execute the play in practice you ran ‘line drills’, you missed a serve and you were doing push ups. When looking at what we need to practice, I think it’s a completely different approach to what I’m used to. It’s the patience of getting an active 3 year old to sit down and do his vest. The perseverance of sitting next to him during his treatment to show that it’s important while the dishes are piled high, the laundry baskets are bottomless, and the backyard is a lake. Your priorities shift, you become creative, efficient through your exhaustion to get to the goal. You learn to multitask things that you never thought you could and take one for the team by saying “yes I can help” when in your mind, you could pass out. You also learn when to wave a hand to tag out.
This is my starting team.
Like every team there are different levels, you have your starters; the dependable ones that will be pushing you in every practice, cheering you on during the bad days, and celebrating with you during the good days. They are the first to show up and the last to leave. After your starters, you have the ‘bench’ team. Probably the most important that when the starters need a break to refresh and regroup, the bench team can step in and not let the ball drop, to keep the game going. After the bench, you have the fans in the stands. The ones that are cheering you on, doing the wave, screaming for you, supporting you, waving the banners and keeping you motivated.
When looking at my starting team, I am thankful for my co captain. When you are in the midst of an important game, the stress can take a toll on a mental status. Sometimes you need your counter part to look you in the eye and tell you ‘we got this’. The noise fades away, your mind becomes clear again on what the goal is, you are re centered, the clouds life and you are motivated again. The game comes back into focus and you execute the game plan. The high fives of team mates and the cheers of the fans sink in and you’re ready to do this.
You’re ready to compromise with a 3 year old, you’re ready to make the phone calls to the doctors, you’re ready to read results, you’re ready to sacrifice sleep to get the chores done, you’re ready to read the same book at least 3 times, you’re ready to give a hug during a meltdown, you’re ready to tackle your own meltdowns. You’re ready for whatever comes your way because of your team.
“We rise by lifting others” – Robert Ingersol.