The Patriots…what can they teach us about team?
The Patriots are the most hated team in football and as a Patriots fan I have struggled most with the politics of Patriots leadership and happy to see other teammates speak out against hate. I was proud to watch Martellus Bennett and Devin McCorty raise their hands during the anthem in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick and remained impressed by Chris Long’sdeep understanding of race, politics and the power of being a white ally.
The Patriots reflect the complexities of human beings creating tribes based on economics. The Patriots Way is a tradition of trust, loyalty, doing your job and winning. Yet, the team is divided on issues of national politics currently ripping America apart. For example; Brady did not go to the Obama White House, has been public Trump supporter, and several Patriots will not go to this years White House visit.
Are the Patriots showing us whats possible for economic “teams”?
America is the team we are all playing on. Like it or not, if we want to win anything permanent we will win it together, with trust, loyalty and doing our job. What can we, as American’s, take from the winning outcomes of a team divided? Are the Patriots showing us a way for people to come together and win as a team, regardless of deep personal differences.
Team dynamics, like societal dynamics, are relational and only thrive when all members are bought in and agree to contribute. Ultimately our successes are intrinsically linked. As Martin Luther King jr. reminds us, “Either we go up together or we go down together, let us develop this form of dangerous unselfishness.”
What would it mean for us to look past a person’s color, status or political affiliation, what if we worked to be inclusive of everyone including supporters of Trump and Kaepernick when it came to winning as a country? What if we said Team USA will be first in education then worked for every child’s success?
I do not think we need a kumbaya moment, but simply decided to see everyone in America as part of our team. I am not sure how the Patriots feel about one another, but I am encouraged, for humanity, at their ability to put such serious issues aside on the field and win the Super Bowl.
As America actively redefines itself its worth asking what will it take to build a team identity? What would it look like for some of us to put our fists in the air, next to a team mate with a “make America great again” hat in his locker room during the national anthem and then go out to work as a team for a championship?