SERVICE IN SPORT, the ARTs AND OTHER ACTIVITIES
We need to locate our capacity to contribute service in sports, the arts and other hobbies – how we provide service and leadership to our significant pastimes within the context of the time that is available to us and what we enjoy
Teams and the pastimes we share with others often form the basis of the communities to which we belong. These communities are places that require all members to actively support, and to feel actively supported by the team. To this end, our teammates and peers in our hobbies are people we should actively care for and support. As always, our leadership and service extends to building a culture. Establishing a sense of success, purpose, humility, determination, respect and community through our words, actions and inactions, supports the work of everybody sharing the space with us. It creates a sense of unification and togetherness that allows us to transcend being just a group of people, and become an aligned unit in which all of us understand their roles, the collective ambition and the necessity of our commitment to each other. This is further supported when a team is committed to service, rather than any one individual. This is when our selflessness and dedication can come to the fore.
We are blessed to have these types of activities in our lives that we enjoy and that make us feel fulfilled. They represent opportunities to become richer people through the acquisition of skills, the experience of community, and exposure to the creative and artistic pieces of our humanity. This requires a high level of respect. First and foremost, respect is earned every day. It accrues because the relative quality of what we do and the weight of its contribution to the cause of the team. Those who feel it should come to them automatically don’t understand much about respect. Respect means appreciating the strengths and contributions of team members just as much as it means deploying all of our competencies to play our part. Respect means supporting our teammates through good times and bad. In particular it means helping those who are having a hard time and trusting that they will do the same for us. Respect means playing our part to eliminate the corrosive sources of undue pressure and politicking from within our communities.
Respect however does not mean blind support. There will be times we will need to criticise, when we will need to stand up to others, and in particular, times when we will need to protect others. Coming to the defence of our team mates demonstrates to them that they are cared for and valued by their team and their community. It shows the character that says everyone deserves kindness and the presence of a loyal friend in their corner. There will be times when members of our teams will disagree with us. Conflict is natural and it can be especially common in areas like sport and the arts when an individual’s performance and sense of self-importance can have a heightened influence over team culture or community dynamics and perception of them. This inevitably means that there will be times we are frustrated, argue, and disagree about the best way to do things. In these moments, our service is demonstrated by our capacity to resolve conflict, bring people together and solve problems. This involves the ability to take a step back, think through the problem at hand and make a commitment towards naming the causes and addressing them together. It is important that our efforts are not based upon blame and an unnecessarily critical analysis of what has already occurred but rather a commitment to fixing the situation for the better of all. On the other hand, if we see something that is unacceptable, we should be prepared to identify it and make it clear that this is not “the way we do things here.”
Throughout history, there have been teams of people in sports and the arts that succeeded not because of individual brilliance, but because of the whole team’s commitment to a shared vision. Through our service, we can all help create this shared vision. It also helps if we have a commitment to winning or winning through together and doing so in such a way we can all feel as though we have done so with honour. A result or a performance becomes a win when it helps us to feel as though we belong, it helps us to grow and it is done in pursuit of something which is good and right. This justifies the celebration because it becomes about “us” and our growth on The Pathway to Excellence. And when we lose or when we don’t hit the required mark, we can see the opportunity to console each other and look for further growth next time. Competition hones the performance of any teams but should be viewed with perspective. No win is worth sacrificing the culture of the team. For when we look back and remember what we did together, we will tell stories about both wins and losses, about good days and bad days. Most of all, we will be remembered for the character we added to the team and our capacity to bring the benefits of our service to others.
- Will I help name the problem and address it team or group cohesion is not going well?
- Will I reach out to a teammate or member of an activity who seems to be struggling?
- Am I always prepared to speak up if I think someone is being demeaned or harassed?
- Are the values and ethos of the team or activity just as important to me as its success?
- Do I believe that every team should have a service initiative or project attached to it?