Where’s the “We” in Team?

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By Tommy Sneider
<tsneider@hilite.org>

In the morning, when you turn on ESPN’s “Sportscenter,” viewers are overwhelmed not just with the scores of the team but the stats of the players. Back in the day, sports used to be all about teamwork. Football used to be about unity. Basketball used to be about teamwork. But times have changed. Players are more about “me” than “we.” For example, when Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson said he would dance on the Dallas Cowboys star, NBA players that score 50 points every other night (LeBron James and Kobe Bryant specifically), and Pacman Jones, who is not only selfish but also stupid for ruining his chances to remain in the NFL. The list goes on and on, but in the long run, it’s only going to hurt the game.

In today’s statistics-oriented sports world, what remains are statistics about players. You no longer hear only about the team that’s succeeding right now, but rather which player has the most passing yards, who scored six touchdowns, or which player rushed for 150 rushing yards. The closest thing to teamwork is the defense stat on some fantasy football leagues.

Carmel sports are not like this. Every week, the football team comes out as a unit, showing the team pride and uniting in the middle of the field. Carmel’s team is not based around one singular player. When the team wins games, it’s going to be because of the team as a whole rather than just one individual. However, in the NFL and other professional sports, this is not the case.

The putting of names on jerseys has slowly trickled down in a few college teams, and some high school teams as well. This has not been the case at Carmel. The lack of students’ last names on the jerseys is but one of the many examples of team unity. In the past weeks, we have seen the cross-country team dressing the same, most notably stay classy Thursday. The football team shaved their heads in mohawks, coming together as one unit. Every year, the swimming team follows the same traditions such as dressing up on certain days or dying hair blonde and then shaving it all off.

IU and Notre Dame have long maintained the tradition of not having player’s names on the back of jerseys. In an article in The Indianapolis Star, a reporter asked Tom Crean if he would put the names of the players on the jerseys, due to players that nobody has heard of. Crean refused, basing his response on the long history of tradition at the school. Carmel is no different. The traditions the school’s teams have are examples of team unity, and they have left their mark on the performance of the teams not only in the past but recently too. The football team won State last year, and that unity has been shown all season long. The women’s swimming team has won 22 straight titles, and is aiming for 23 this season. The men’s and women’s cross-country teams have been exceptional all year, being ranked number one for most of the season. None of those sports are won due to one person’s individual effort. Rather, the team as a whole needs to unite in order to win, and those teams as well as all of the other sports at this school have shown their excellence. This is not only due to great individual athletes. This is because of the unity of the team. As a whole.

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