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Team Chemistry

It was the first game of the season, we were playing a team which would end the season ranked # 8 in the state of Texas. We were a 45 point underdog heading into the game (yes, they have betting lines for highschool football in Texas). For brevity, we were up 20-6 at halftime and it was 24-20 with one play to go in the game and us on the other team's 4 yard line. Following a timeout, we decided on an old trick play which everyone on the field had run since they were in junior high except for Big Country who was to catch the game winning pass.

Big Country was a great addition to the team. He had joined the team three weeks before this game. He was an excellent center, incredible blocker with quick feet and hands that could catch anything thrown in his general direction. What we did not know was he was directionally challenged. The play was for our star receiver to go one way and for him to go the other. Since he had not gone out for a pass the entire game it should catch the other team by surprise. The trick worked because the other team did not cover him; however, he went the wrong direction and when our QB rolled to his side of the field he was not there.

This was week one. We had just missed the opportunity to pull off the greatest upset in our program's history. Big Country was embarrassed and felt as though he had let everyone down. In the locker room after the game, I watched as he hung his head defeated. I also watched as his new teammates picked him up, used the mistake as a means by which to draw him closer to them and not as a means to push him away. Younger players saw this too. Our team culture for the season was defined that day and we would go on to finish the season with no more losses.

The chemistry of a team is a mixture of elements which combine to either propel a team forward or hinder its progress. Effective teams are more than just a collection of talented members. To be effective, a team has to be able to combine the efforts and abilities of members in the right way. Just as no two people are identical, no two teams are identical. Consequently, what works well for one team may not work well for others.

What I have noticed through the years is the championship teams I have been blessed to coach share a trust which comes from knowing that each player, regardless of their skill, will be respected for what they bring to the team and not what they lack or the mistakes they make. For example, some players bring great athleticism, others bring levity while some contribute an exemplary work ethic. What is even more unique is the brotherhood whereby players are open about their faults and weaknesses. They are comfortable holding each other accountable and this allows them to get through difficult situations with far greater ease.

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
James 5:16

God calls each of us to share our faults with one another. Confession is one of the most powerful gifts God has given us. It is by confession that we are saved. (Romans 10:10) It is by confession that we are healed. When we confess our sin we are saying that God is right and we are not. It is humbling ourselves.

James instructs believers who are struggling with sin to seek faithful and trusted brothers and sisters in Christ who will intercede for them in their battle with sin. He is not suggesting that we confess our sins carelessly to just anyone, but to mature believers who will provide spiritual and practical support. Of course, we should also confess our sins to those we have sinned against, as we seek forgiveness and restoration.

We are all on teams throughout our lives. Team family, team work, team friends, team church, etc. Each of these has the opportunity to be more fulfilling if we are able to do our part and follow Jame's advice. Confess our faults, take ownership and then to pray for those who are on our team and be accepting of their mistakes as they are of ours.


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