Teammates are for life.
Anyone who has played a sport longer than a year or two knows that there is a special bond between people who have gone into battle together. A roster full of strangers at the start of a season, you are molded into a team over the next seven or eight months.
Strangers no more, bloodied and bruised by the battle having given all to the team for one last fight.
Fighting for a common cause. Fighting for dignity. Fighting for respect, honor. Fighting because that’s what we came here to do – together.
In the previous years, I’ve seen my former teammates struggle with very real life stuff. I’ve seen them trip, fall and get beaten down by the aches and pains that life can and does cause. I’ve seen them triumph, overcome and rise.
It’s a beautiful process seeing it from the outside.
It encourages my soul. I feeds my spirit.
I too have fallen. I too have been beaten down and I too have also gotten back up.
I recently had dinner with a teammate of mine and after some good, real conversation I said something like this:
“It doesn’t matter who we were or what differences we had when we played or where we left things at that time. When you go to battle with people, you are bonded for life.”
I meant it.
When one of my teammates hurts, I hurt too. When they celebrate and overcome, I celebrate too. That’s the beauty about being on a sports team. It connects you in a way that you could never articulate at the time – and even if you had your differences off the court, nobody cared once you stepped foot on the court.
It was game on.
To this day, my teammates are my people. They get my jokes and I get theirs. I know when they are holding something back and they know when I am too. We laugh about old stories and then laugh even harder that everyone has their own version of the same story. We support each other off the court, perhaps better now than we did when we were playing (although, my teammates took pretty good care of me back then to be sure).
I can text or call them and a wonderful conversation ensues with all the laughs.
They are my people, always will be … and they are fantastic human beings.
Who are your people? Who are your teammates for life?