“Unrecognizable teams have unrecognizable players.” I cannot tell you how many times I heard this statement during my time as a softball player at the University of South Florida. It takes a special individual to truly understand this statement. When you get to the Division I level, especially at a Top 50, sometimes Top 25 program, you are playing with the best of the best. Your teammates were probably the best player on their high school team or travel ball team just like you. There is a reason why they are there. So how do you get a bunch of former number 1’s to gel as a unit and play together?
Unrecognizable Teams Have Unrecognizable Players
I always got the basic concept of this statement. In its simplest form, it means that you can be the superstar on the worst team in the country but no one is going to know who you are because your team isn’t good and no one wants to follow them. Bottom line: it is about the team, not about you. But as simple as this statement can seem, people will perceive it differently. Your experiences shape how you see things.
Being a high school athlete in a small town, I witnessed players get extreme recognition even though their team was not that good. It’s a small town – there were very few athletes going to play at the Division I level, or college in general. For someone who finds themselves in this situation, the meaning of unrecognizable teams and unrecognizable players can be confusing to understand.. It’s not because they are ignorant, but rather because their experience dictated this to be false! As I developed as an athlete and a person over the course of my career, this statement began to have more and more meaning for me.
Surround Yourself with People Who Make You Better
We don’t get to pick our teammates. The coach’s job is to bring in the best players for the program. It is your job to bring out the best of your teammates, and therefore, hopefully yourself. “Unrecognizable teams have unrecognizable players.” Collectivism is a cultural value of placing the group in front of the individual. When individuals care about putting themselves first, they often will do it at the cost of the group. However, when the individual cares about how they can best help the group, it will bring out the best in them. Making your team better will make them recognizable and therefore will make you recognizable! Unselfish behavior in a team environment does not mean you lose your identity. It does not mean you neglect taking care of your needs. Instead, it means understanding that your decisions and actions can affect those around you; that you determine how you are going to best serve those around you every single day. When done in a healthy and balanced manner, this ideology has the ability to provide the greatest sense of self-worth and positive identity for an individual. When we surround ourselves with people who bring this positive capacity out of us, we have the ability to reach our fullest potential.
My favorite thing about this lesson – it translates far off the playing field. Here at Athletes Warehouse, we are staffed with former collegiate athletes. From National Champions to a Major League Baseball pitcher, we all have the right to have an ego. Yet day in and day out, we put it aside and work together to better everyone around us. Often, we will have our athletes to work with multiple coaches so they get all of our perspectives. We are constantly learning from each other and our athletes because we understand it is not about us, it is about Athletes Warehouse. The selflessness expressed when an individual walks into this building is what makes this environment so special to be a part of.
“Unrecognizable teams have unrecognizable players.”