Sunday, March 30, 2014

How to be a crappy teammate part two.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post on how to be a bad teammate, but I thin some of it bears repeating and I've come up with a few more traits you should be on the lookout for in your own behavior.

Photo by Joshua R. Craig
1.  You are always in competition with you teammates. Yes, we have to compete for a spot on the roster, but it's more important to be able to learn to work with people, especially when you're working for a common goal. When you join a team sport, you have to be willing to make some sacrifices for the good of the team. If not, please go play tennis or golf or something else that doesn't involve someone else being your teammate. At one point, I was expressing sadness about someone retiring from derby and our league, and the leaguemate I was talking to said "Good. More of a chance for me of getting on a roster." Owtch.

2. You are self focused to the detriment of the other people on your team and in your league. Number one covers this too, but it goes further than that. You don't see other people improving, or if you do, you see them as a threat. You don't celebrate your teammate's victories, or worse, you resent them. Don't be that teammate. Acknowledge when your teammates do something great! Don't always focus on yourself!

3. You don't think other people are important. Why do so many people want to do a team sport when they have no idea how to be a teammate? Of course your teammates are just as important as you are. Without them, you wouldn't have a team. People often accuse jammers of thinking they're more important than the blockers; if they actually feel that way, then I'd like to point out how difficult it would be the jam without a blocking line to keep the other jammer at bay. Most blockers know how sucky it is to be on the track without a jammer already, so at least people get to experience that in reality. The team needs everyone to be doing his or her best.

4. You don't stand with your convictions. Some people are big talkers, but not very good at the follow through. Sometimes people think that giving in to peer pressure means you're being a good teammate. It doesn't. Being able to express your opinions in a non confrontational but firm way means you are being a good teammate. Part of being on a team is sharing your ideas, and being open to hearing other people's ideas.

5. You're unreliable but yet you rely on others. You can't be bothered to show up on time, but you expect other people to pick up your slack at practice, or at meetings. That, my friends, is super duper lame. Get your butt to practice, do your volunteer hours, and don't be a burden on your teammates. I know that sometimes life gets hectic and you can't get everything done; it happens, but if it's a constant issue with you, then you need to reexamine your commitment to sparkle motion.

6.  You don't listen. In the end, listening is the most difficult skill to develop, but it's the most worthwhile in a team situation. Really listening is really hard, and it is a skill you need to practice; practice it as much as you can. Eventually you will be better at it, and that will make you a better teammate. Is it a skating skill? No, but it might be the most important skill you ever develop in derby.

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