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The Essence of Being a Great Teammate

There have been tons of books and articles written instructing players on how to be a great teammate. Many of them talk about things like cheering loudly in the dugout or communicating well or standing up for a teammate if he/she is verbally or even physically attacked.

But one of the best things you can do is to simply step up and do something that needs to be done to help the team – even if it’s outside your normal role. I recently heard a great example involving one of my pitching students, a young lady named Sammie.

Sammie’s high school team was scheduled to play a game that day. They typically have just enough to actually play, so when they discovered that their one and only catcher had gone home sick from school it left a giant hole in the lineup someone had to fill.

I’m sure you can see where this is headed: Sammie said she would volunteer.

Ok, maybe not quite that dramatic but still good.

Now, as I understand it Sammie has never caught before in her life. Not even in rec ball.

She has always been a pitcher, and she has become an excellent pitcher. But she had pitched the day before while fighting through an injury so her pitching again wasn’t a possibility.

She could have just stood by and looked the other way, but the team needed someone and she said she’d strap on the gear and give it a shot.

That’s remarkable enough. But there’s one other minor factor that makes it even better.

If you look at the photo at the top of this blog post what do you see? Look closer. There you have it.

No, that photo isn’t reversed. Sammie is a lefty.

So basically you have a lefty who has never played the position before stepping up to play one of the toughest and most important positions on the field. And one with some extra risk of getting hurt through foul tips or chasing after pop-ups or plays at the plate or just flat-out missing the ball because you’re not used to catching it while someone is swinging.

Not sure if she tried this but she’s a dancer so maybe.

In my world, that’s the essence of being a great teammate. Because if Sammie doesn’t step up (and clearly no one else plans to either) the team doesn’t play.

There are many ways players can contribute to a team. But when you’re willing to look beyond your own needs and worries and do something that’s well outside your comfort zone you separate yourself from the crowd.

Or as Mr. Spock would say:

Or the one.
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