*dons baby boomer glasses* What is it with kids these days and joining things that they aren’t committed to?
It seems like the sports teams in my life have all been afflicted with an ugly case of apathy. Since entering high school, it seems like every upcoming class of freshman has gotten more and more lazy. I thought it was just a swim team thing, encouraged by an easygoing coach who had no rules and lots of cookies. However, this year, my friends on the cross country team have noticed the same issue. Girls are joining the team only to cut miles during practice and walk during actual races. It’s the same deal on the swim team – tons of girls join, skip practice, and can’t be bothered to do the actual workout when they care to show up.
What’s wrong with people?
So you, lazy, unmotivated teammate – this one’s for you. This is my open letter to the cancer teammate.
A commitment is a commitment. It involves responsibility, selflessness, and time management. It’s one thing to have to miss a practice every once in a while for personal reasons, like a doctor’s appointment or a family gathering. But no one has enough personal issues to warrant only showing up to practice once a week. That’s ridiculous. Rule of thumb: don’t commit to something if you aren’t positive that you can fully devote yourself to being the best you can be. Of course, you should do this for your coaches and teammates but most importantly for yourself. You are valuable. You only have so much time to spend on this earth. Why spend it being mediocre at something? Why spend it half-assing a practice? That makes no sense. Everyone should strive to be the best. If you can’t find that passion, that desire within you, perhaps making a commitment isn’t for you.
This is an issue bigger than yourself. Think about how many people are involved with just one sports team. Your coaches, your manager, your captain, your whole team, the mom who makes sandwiches before every game, your parents, the girl who offers to drive you to practice – that’s a lot of people. Don’t waste their time, either. It’s disrespectful. Your coach doesn’t need to show up to practice or to spend HER time writing workouts just for YOU. Believe it or not, coaching pays next to nothing despite being a hugely influential and important career. What if your coach started cutting corners like you did? You would be upset, right? You would feel like you’d been cheated? Well, that’s probably how your coach feels when she finds out that you can’t even respect her enough to put forth the most minimal amount of effort possible. If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for them. They care when you don’t. And if you can’t respect and appreciate that, well, you shouldn’t be a part of a team.
Finally, think about your teammates. Your captain. The people who stay after practice for hours, refining that one technique that will make them just half a second faster. The devoted, the dedicated, the hard-working. We hate teammates like you, to be honest. You take up space on the bus, in the locker room, in the pool. We would kill to be your age again just for another shot at being the best and taking advantage of every opportunity we can find. It kills us to see you wasting time at practice because someday, you will want to be the best, but you won’t be able to because of all that lost time. Not to mention, your sour attitude brings down the whole team. No matter how hard we try, we still here your “I don’t want to” “Let’s take this one easy” and “Let’s skip this last one”, and it sticks in our head and messes with our psyche. Sports are a mental game, too, and you hurt your teammates with your negativity. And, of course, when you goof off at practice or lose big at the meet, we also have to suffer those punishment workouts even though we don’t deserve them.
So, in conclusion – what’s wrong with you people? Why are you here? Don’t waste your time or anyone else’s on something you don’t care about. It’s that simple. Don’t be a jerk. Quit the team, or better yet, don’t sign up in the first place.
All my best,
The annoyed teammate