May 7, 2012
Dear SAISD Staff,
First off, I want to wish all teachers a wonderful Teacher Appreciation Day tomorrow and hope you receive much-deserved recognition during this week that has been set aside for you. You touch the lives of our students every day, and I hope you know how much you are appreciated.
Today, I want to write about a topic that I find inspiring and that can always stand to be written about more: teamwork. Consider Webster’s definition of teamwork: “a cooperative effort by the members of a group or team to achieve a common goal.”
Now, if you will indulge this former baseball player and coach, let’s consider teamwork in the context of the sport. In baseball, as in any organization, everyone has a role. Spectators watch team members showcase their abilities on game night, little aware of all the goal-setting, planning, training and strategizing that took place to help ensure success on the field.
At the top, General Managers take on the role of visionary and constantly are searching for ways to improve the organization. They must look months and years into the future in building a blueprint for success, and that includes signing the right players and coaches while staying within their budgets. These managers do not get into what Stephen Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” refers to as “the thick of thin things.”
Baseball managers and coaches work with players, each of who brings a uniqueness and talent, as well as strengths and weakness. It’s the coach’s job to find the players’ motivational “hot button” and to know what truly inspires them, first as people, then as players. Coaches have to ensure that players hone their skill sets so they are equipped for success when they step onto the field.
Successful coaches lead people – not things – and remain loyal to the mission. They control strategies and take risks. Coaches must remain focused, no matter the standings or the second-guessing from fans, media or bloggers.
Then you have teammates. Good teammates are not necessarily the most talented players. After all, the best players don’t work in isolation – they work as a unit. And, remember, the best players don’t always win. They understand that they must support others especially during times of adversity. Good teammates sacrifice individualism and accolades when it’s for the greater good of the team. In baseball, it’s called a sacrifice bunt, or sacrifice fly. Good teammates know that if they support one another, then the team as a whole benefits, and they all win.
The legendary Mickey Mantle of the New York Yankees took his role as teammate seriously. In his last days, he had many visitors. They told him that he was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, ballplayers that had ever lived. They asked him how he would like to be remembered.
In the end, all Mantle wanted was to be remembered as “a great teammate” – the words engraved on a plaque marking his final resting place.
Today, may we each remember to say something nice or pat a teammate on the back. After all, we’re all working together to achieve a common goal.
Dr. Sylvester Perez