With the turning of the last page in the 2012 calendar and the start of the New Year, I couldn't help but get excited knowing this year would be the year that TEAM ONE will arrive on campus. It also got me thinking about what the word TEAM means to me and how I am going to convey that message to the group of young women we have all coming together in September to form the first Michigan women's lacrosse TEAM. This quote does a good job of summing up how I feel about THE TEAM: "The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team."
Recently, I have been watching a lot of basketball games on TV. Basketball is similar to lacrosse in many ways. It's my favorite sport to watch, but as of late I have been watching basketball games from a coach's perspective and looking at and analyzing different strategies, game plans, adjustments made based on how the game is developing, coaching styles, etc. It probably goes without saying that I've watched many of the Michigan basketball games thus far, both men and women. The women are off to an amazing 14-2 start and earned a top 25 ranking in the AP Poll, and the men are currently ranked No. 5 in the nation. Although there is a lot of season left, it's been quite an exciting year thus far for the Maize and Blue. While it's fun to watch all that talent out there on the floor -- among both coaches and players -- what has really resonated with me most is the heart of the group of individuals that make up this year's squads ... THE TEAM.
The women had a change in coaching staff this year and with that always comes a big adjustment for players and coaches alike. With just a few short months to implement their system, the women's staff has done a tremendous job of preparing their team for success and managing to translate a new style of off-court teaching to on-court wins in a very short amount of time. They are winning games because they are playing as a TEAM; they are all on the same page.
If you listen to commentary for the men's games, you will often hear about how much they like each other, how well they play together, or the fun they have out there together on the court. When you watch them out on the floor, they are unselfish in their play. When you hear each one of them speak, they are always talking about their teammates and how great they are and circling back discussion to others -- to THE TEAM. They are a TEAM in every sense of the word. And while they are all extremely skilled basketball players with an enormous amount of talent, they are winning in the way they are right now due in large part to the fact that they are playing together as a TEAM. With such a young squad, it's not an easy task to get everyone in sync while playing at the same level, but thus far they have been able to do just that.
It's true, "Together Everyone Achieves More" and this doesn't happen by simply playing with each other, but player together, playing as a TEAM. The 2013 edition of the men's team refers to this as "WE ON" (When Everyone Operates N'Sync). Well said.
It may sound like a simple task to accomplish: to work together as a TEAM, but just because you are called a TEAM doesn't mean you play like one. As we look to build the first women's lacrosse team here at Michigan, the strength of TEAM ONE will be each individual member. The strength of each member will be TEAM ONE.
We can't wait to get started!