We’re two games into our season without a win, at this precise moment. Not the worst start; not the best.
One of the things I am most proud of when it comes to the Spartans is the amount of people whom know exactly what their job is, what their role is, and when they haven’t done it. We are a young team that’s renewing all the time and it’s not easy to explain the rules and regs and ins and outs of American football in 3 hours a week to 50 men.
Without a win 2 games in to the season, I am always impressed when a member of the team stands up and takes responsibility for what they felt they did wrong. Having said that, I think it’s always important to remember that a team game is not won or lost because of one person.
Way too many times across my time in sport, I’ve heard people lament that they ‘lost’ the game for the team, or occasionally brag that they alone won it with their sole efforts. It is just not possible.
If you were the CB that let the RB passed with the ball to score the touchdown that won the game with 5 seconds left on the clock – it doesn’t feel good. I get that. But why did it come down to one score? Could the defense have done more to weaken the opposition’s score? Could the offense have put a greater shift in to widen the gap and see a one-score finishing line become a five-touchdown whitewash?
There is always more to it than just one man. We don’t believe in playing the Blame Game here – it’s not what you or I could have done, it’s what we could have done.
At the Essex Spartans we train our players to operate as a machine. A machine is not one hunk of metal – that’s what a fence is. And sure, a fence can be ornate and painted a nice colour and look pretty but ultimately it just stands there, dividing things. A machine has parts and cogs that move together, and if one part breaks it could go on. Not as well or as efficiently and not forever, but it’ll go on for a while as best as it can.
It’s really important to be the very best you can personally be on the field – that’s what we believe here and that’s what our coaches try and make the men understand every week. Self-evaluation is so important but means nothing if it is only done by one guy. That’s all ‘lose’ really is – Lost Our Self Evaluation. We do things together, or not at all. There’s a time for ‘what did I do wrong’, but there’s also a time for ‘what do we need to do now?’
And then we have to go on, together.
Everyone makes mistakes but the most important thing is having a strong team around you that will help pick you up and show you what to do better next time, and never ever allow you to feel that the weight of the whole result rests on your shoulders because of your error.
As we go in to our third game hoping for our first win, the margin for error is admittedly very small now. But one thing I am always confident in is that every man goes out knowing what he has to do, and what the man beside him has to do, and what the whole family has to do to make this work.
We don’t have an enormous degree of fame and greatness in our past, but we will have greatness in our future. And we will do it as a team, together, side by side – win or lose.
There’s no ‘I’ in team, and there’s no ‘I’ in ‘lose’ either.