Teamwork: Why I Love Football (Or, Baseball is Not Really a Team Sport)

Teamwork. That's why I love football. 464926_344637715584507_1791173626_o

I've never been a big fan of baseball. It moves too slowly for me. I've also never really liked soccer and I've never been sure why.

Rugby? Love it.

Cricket? Meh.

Baseball? Zzzzzzz.

Gridiron football, though, is something to behold. I realized recently what it is about the sport that I most enjoy.


Lessons From Little League

My son played teeball in the spring and is now playing Anklebiter flag football, so I've gotten to watch the early stages of a team coming together in both sports. And let's face it, I was a band geek who never really enjoyed sports and never had a positive sporting experience as a participant, so I kind of missed this as a kid.

But here's the thing. In baseball, the team on offense fields one guy.


The team on defense ... waits for that one guy to do something while one of the defensive players throws balls to him and another defender catches them. When the offensive player hits one, the nearest defender fields the ball and tries to throw someone out while running between bases.

That's the whole game in a nutshell.

My son's little league team spent every practice working on the individual skills of the players. At no time did we ever work on "plays", or team-based activities.

Not a lot of teamwork to be done, apart from the occasional double-play or triple-play. Mostly, it's standing around waiting for your moment to make an individual contribution to your team.

Lessons from Flag Football

In my son's flag football league, from the second practice, the team was drilling plays together, learning how to move as a unit, how what each one of them did would either make the overall play work or not, how it would create a hole for a running back to get through (or not).

They've learned teamwork from the beginning and have drilled it every single practice.

You can tell the teams that work on this from the ones that only work on individual skills. The teams who drill teamwork win games. The ones with great individuals don't.

They just end up with frustrated individual players who ought to be making big plays but who can't.

This isn't limited to football. My favorite player during the NCAA tournament last year was Iowa State's Royce White, who in one regular-season game made only 4 points himself, electing to assist throughout the game.

That's teamwork. And yes, we won that game.

What examples can you think of, sporting or otherwise, where teamwork is either obvious or not? Leave a comment and tell us about it!