Spring training is a good time to meet the new guys and interact with your current teammates but it’s not until the regular season starts that the bonds begin to form within your team for the coming season.
The first month is when the chemistry happens on the team. As we have meals, experience rain delays, and spend time together in the clubhouse, there’s a lot of time to interact with each other outside of our time on the field. Once the heavy competition starts, that’s when we’re really able to get to know our teammates on a deeper level.
Everybody on our team is different and we all have our own personalities. Likewise, every one of our leaders leads in a different way. We have a great group of guys on the Cardinals who have been on the team for a long time now and who are able to help create the community and atmosphere that we want to have as a team. I’ve learned that to be a great leader you simply need to be yourself. It’s about being open, available, and vulnerable, letting the other guys see who you are. I don’t want to hide who I am, I want to always be available and I aim to be a good leader for these guys.
It can be easy to get caught up in the competition of the game itself and become self-focused on stats and results but I often try to remember that though the game’s important, the impact that we can have on others is more important. It’s the relationships and influence of Christ that is lasting and that’s what counts. When your focus is on results, it’s easy for the team aspect to get left out. As a veteran player, I try to maintain the right focus on and off the field.
Being 10-12 years older than most of the guys on my team, I know that I am in a different stage of life than they are. Sometimes this makes it hard to relate to others or hard to connect as well as I could have when I was in there shoes but at the same time, I was there at one time. I remember what it’s like to be there and I want to serve them where they are at, even if that means putting aside the things I would normally do and step into their world.
We will always be in different stages of life than others around us but we can’t be focused on ourselves alone. I learn a lot from the younger guys on our team; I’m so blessed by the energy and excitement that they are bringing to the game for me again. Sometimes it can feel daunting or discouraging to leave my kids and wife at home to go on the road for 10 days at a time but I am really encouraged by the excitement and joy that I see in my younger teammates. That is what a team is all about: challenging and encouraging each other to be our best, give our best, and have the best perspective that we can, recognizing how blessed we truly are.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” —1 Thessalonians 5:11
Matt Holliday is a regular contributor of The Increase and will be providing monthly articles and opinions.
Check out Matt’s Increase profile here: https://theincrease.com/author/mattholliday/
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