Leadership, teamwork and athletics

Article originally published in the Philadelphia Business Journal on November 3, 2014

Watching a grandchild grow each year as an athlete is a gift. My 10-year-old grandson Andrew has played baseball, basketball and soccer since the age of four, and excels in all three sports. Watching him grow as one of the leaders of his team brings a special pride.

Earlier this year, Andrew’s basketball team was behind by 14 points at the half. He took a leadership role and told his discouraged teammates that on a prior team on which he had played, they were down by 12 points at the half, but won by two. Andrew rallied his team, and told them they could win this game. The team came back and won the game by six points.

I have watched time and time again as Andrew drives the soccer ball up the field, swarmed by his opponents. Rather than take a low probability shot on goal, he passes off to a teammate who scores. Andrew knows it is more important for his team to get the goal than for him to score. He gets credit for the assist. His teammate – the other forward – does the same when he has the ball. This is teamwork at its finest – watching two well-coached 10 year-olds who have the maturity and presence of mind do what some adults never learn – accomplish more as a team than you can as an individual.

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