When a group of 13 year old girls are placed together on a team you just never know how things are gonna go. (Understatement? ☺)
Strong personalities, teenage mood swings, competition, friendships – it can be a little, well…unstable.
So it was a pleasant surprise this weekend to see this group of girls who haven’t always seen eye to eye, unite toward a common goal. A soccer goal to be exact.
As we watched them over the course of this tournament – through the 37 degree weather, wind, mistakes, hotel breakfasts, decorating the coach’s car, victories and frustrations, a strange thing happened. They bonded. And that changed everything.
Being an outside observer, there were 3 main things that contributed to this connection and to all teams (yes, even NICU teams):
- Because they spent time together off the field, they began to see each other as human beings. They began to appreciate the quirkiness of some, the stable friendliness of others. Once they returned to the field this appreciation showed up as support for mistakes or missed opportunities.
They had each other’s back, literally and figuratively.
- Each game became less about who was good at what. It became clear that every single person mattered. Everyone embraced their role or the fabric began to unravel.
A real team has no ONE champion. No ball hog. No ego. Only moments of heroic effort and heart by the team, for the team.
- The energy (and fun!) that’s created by this connection is palpable. It overflows.
It’s what happens when 14 girls dressed in bright pink socks for breast cancer awareness month and play soccer at dusk in 38 degree weather and decide to win. Or exhaust themselves trying. (And they did win!)
They made me think about all of us who work in the NICU as part of a team. It’s not all that dissimilar. It’s what happens when you clock out at the end of a stressful day knowing you and your team ‘left it all on the field’.
The goal we’re shooting for lasts a lifetime.
It takes a team.