Houston Forward Times

23 April 2014 Written by  Jeffrey L. Boney


I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, "There’s no ‘I’ in team" right? It is often uttered by individuals with the intent of placing an emphasis on teamwork and not individuality alone.

Interestingly, even though there isn’t an actual ‘I’ used to spell the word ‘team’, you can take the letters and spell the word ‘M-E’ and if you get even more creative (check out the photo that I’ve included in this article), you can actually find an ‘I’ hiding in the midst of the word ‘team’.

Kinda cool huh? Well, I think so.

If you are anything like me, as a sports fan I get excited about the whole concept of teamwork and having a winning attitude. In every sport, you will have winners and losers, and at the end of the day, every team has one thing in common; they are a ‘team’.

In a ‘team’ sports concept, each individual player is expected to make an individual contribution for the sake of achieving success at the highest level of sports, which is typically winning a ‘team’ championship.

Many times, teammates will argue with one another and challenge each other to step up the game, perform better and contribute more. The end result should be an increased effort by every individual on the ‘team’ in order to win. Sometimes, however, many individual players get offended when they are challenged and they allow their personal feelings to get in the way of increased effort and output. This is a selfish and insecure way of being a part of a team.

We have all heard the stories of the player who has all the talent and ability and who wills their team to victory at all costs. We’ve also heard the stories of the player who had to overcome a serious injury, only to come back from that injury and lead the ‘team’ to victory.

Sadly, however, we’ve also heard the stories about individuals who allowed their personal selfishness and pride to disrupt ‘team’ chemistry and bring dysfunction to a ‘team’ that can’t move forward towards their goal of experiencing ‘team’ success and winning because of the attitude and negative energy that person brings to the ‘team’.

Whatever the scenario, both the good and the bad happened while each individual was a part of the ‘team’ and played a part in whether that ‘team’ was a winner or a loser.

You don’t have to like everyone on your ‘team’, but if you are about winning, you have to come together and everybody on the ‘team’ must give a maximum effort to the ‘team’ at all costs.

As a member of the ‘team’, you must also realize that each and every one of those individuals are your teammates and will always share that experience with you for the rest of your lives.

What bothers me the most about being on a ‘team’ is having teammates that don’t seem to care or have a passion about winning, and many times are extremely nonchalant about losing. Having a loser’s mentality is not something that I have ever embraced, nor been taught to embrace.

It bothers me when people refuse to handle constructive criticism when they are called out for failing to deliver maximum effort on behalf of ‘team’, but wants to take part in the celebration when other people on the ‘team’ step up and cover for their teammates shortcomings.

The majority of the world embraces sports and should always be appreciated. Youth and young adult athletes participate in global sports, such as the Olympics, Little League World Series and the World Cup. Human beings from across the globe understand the power of ‘team’ sports. These events are celebrated without reservation and young people are revered for their training and dedication of being the best in the world.

The bottom line is, ‘team’ sports should be important to everyone because it teaches discipline, following instructions, handling conflict and most importantly teamwork. Parents should continuously challenge their children to get involved in some form of ‘team’ competition and challenge them to be the best leaders they can be; by learning the discipline of being on a ‘team’.

I remember when Black people functioned as a team. From Rosewood, Florida to Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma, you can find countless stories of Black people coming together as a team to support one another and build one another up as a community of people.

Many African slaves were taken from their native land and separated from their families and had to work collaboratively with one another to overcome the vicious results of slavery. Black churches worked together to tackle the injustices that plagued Black people and sought to put their doctrinal differences to the side to win the game against injustices of Black people.

All in all, we can learn a lot from being a ‘team’. We need to not only know our role, but find a role to play to better ourselves and our collective community. Whether you agree or not, when one teammate struggles and isn’t challenged to perform better, the entire team is affected. We can try to be the best individual players all we want, but when we neglect our fellow teammates, the whole team struggles and oftentimes loses.

None of us has reached the pinnacle of success, just because we think we have arrived because we are star players. We must never forget the people who were apart of the overall ‘team’ success that made the ‘team’ great, while allowing you to shine in your greatness.

One of the greatest teammates to ever play in competitive sports, by the name of Michael Jordan, once stated two quotes that I want to share with you about being on a ‘team’ and being a contributor. He said, "Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships," and he also said "There is no "I" in team but there is in win."

Be a contributor! Be a winner! Be a better teammate!

Jeffrey L. Boney serves as Associate Editor and is an award-winning journalist for the Houston Forward Times newspaper. Jeffrey is a Next Generation Project Fellow, dynamic, international speaker, experienced entrepreneur, business development strategist and Founder/CEO of the Texas Business Alliance. If you would like to request Jeffrey as a speaker, you can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


MAA WereReady