A few years ago when the Ohio State Buckeye football team won the national championship their coach Urban Meyer said something that forever stuck with me. He constantly declared how close his team was. They looked at one another as a family, and that this closeness was what propelled them to an unexpected national championship.
Being a Wisconsin Badgers fan I remember seeing their remarkable turnaround that year, and was quite shocked that they were able to claim the most heralded trophy in all of college football. Ohio state's roster is always stacked with extremely talented athletes, but this felt different. Urban Meyer had won national championships before, but the words pertaining to "family" was never more evident than this specific year.
Family is a collection of people that are instrumental in your life. They are there to support you, love you, and guide you in life's many challenging tasks. Without a family, life can be an extremely hard journey. By working hard to make your team look at one another as family members you are giving each and every athlete another shoulder to lean on. You are giving every individual on that team the brother or sister they always dreamed of having but were never given. There may be numerous individuals that feel left behind by their families or by society, and by teaching them the true values of family you are giving them an entirely new release on life. The desire to care for someone and to be cared for by others is a natural emotion/feeling that all of us have. By making your team look at one another as a family, you are helping your team to fully understand their true potential as not only a player, but also as a human being.
Merriam Webster defines family as "a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head." When comparing that definition to what a sports team's dynamics usually are it fits very well! The group of individuals are the teammates, the roof is the organization/school/etc. that they compete for, and the head is obviously the head coach. The connections between family and sports are there, but what does this mean and how should a team go about creating it?
We will break it down in part 2 (to be published soon!).