#Teamwork: What, you thought it was easy?!

Having grown up in the belly of the NFL beast on my father’s coattails, I developed strong, mixed feelings about football. Not unlike any father/son relationship, it’s a complicated story. But my grievances aside, the old man knew a thing or two about teamwork. He shared this lesson once (excerpted from Born Fanatic):

A football team is a business and a family. As a business, the players’ mission is to perform. Everyone has a job. Each job is a little different. All jobs are important. Not everybody does their job well all the time. But if most of the players perform their jobs well most of the time, the team has a good season.

As a family, the players’ mission is to stick together. Everyone has a relationship. Some relationships are more critical than others. But all relationships are important. A team with real relationships is a team that can overachieve.

A team that doesn’t emphasize performance is basically a fraternity. Without the relationships, it’s just a job. But a team of players who do their jobs well, and who recognize that the whole of the relationships is greater than the sum of its parts? That team wins championships together.

What my father didn’t tell me — I guess I had to learn it for myself — is that teamwork is a nearly impossible task. Honoring performance and relationship in equal measure simultaneously? Think about it. Darn hard to do, considering accountability to performance and sticking together in relationship can often work in opposite directions. But that’s teamwork.

And I believe it’s our destiny. It has to be. It’s also a choice. Daily. Which is why I’m still a Born Fanatic for the greatest team sport ever created.