Letters to a College Athlete on a Team: Are you LONELY?

Connections to people are necessary for every area of your life.  As a college athlete one of your main objectives is to attract people to you who will be beneficial to your athletic career.  Making unselfishness a part of your identity helps with this.

She shoots with 4 people covering her……

She dribbles down the court for a lay-up.  However, there are already 2 other people down court ready to receive a pass from her for a lay-up.

She’s upset that she was not the highest scorer even though her team was victorious.

She yells at the point guard for not passing her the ball even though she is unable to make shots.  One of her teammates is scoring and therefore, is receiving the ball from the point guard.

These are all examples of a teammate displaying selfishness.  All instances show an athlete seeking public recognition for her performance.  In each case the athlete is seeking to put her stats above the team’s, especially points per game.  The desire for recognition outweighs the desire for the team to win, or whatever is best for the rest of the team.

Unfortunately, while playing for UAB, I was probably involved in some capacity in all of the above situations.

Like a lot of athletes, I felt that if you score a lot of points, you are helping your team win.  However, this is not always the case.

There is nothing wrong with being proud of your athletic performance.  The problem comes when you make self-efforts to elevate your recognition at the expense of your team’s plans of action.  These types of activities destroy the team’s morale and confidence in order to promote yourself.  It would appear to others that you do not care if the team wins or loses as long as you look good.

As part of a team, you want to do things that would elevate the need for you on the team or increase your team’s chances of winning.  You want to be in a position where your team or organization believes they are better with you as a part of it.

The presence of unselfishness can do that.  While practicing unselfishness, everything you do should be moving toward the goals and desires of the team as a whole.

Unselfishness promotes unity.  Many will feel comfortable and want to be around you because they will be confident and trust that you will not do anything that would harm them.  That is, you consider them before you act.

I encourage you to make unselfishness a part of your identity.  Begin by practicing unselfish activities with your teammates.  Instead of focusing on what you can do to get the highest score, focus on how you can execute your part of the offense perfectly and how you can get your teammates to do the same.  If you are having an off night, concentrate on other areas where your team needs improvement and try to contribute within those areas.

You will still get recognition and also gain more respect and trust from your teammates.  You will become a valuable member because you are helping to boost their morale and confidence by helping them get recognized for their contributions to the team.

What do you think?

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