I’m sitting in my bed, moved after watching what I would describe as one of the greatest displays of teamwork winning a championship. The Villanova Wildcats personified what it means to be better together. Here’s a team with the national player of the year but yet the sixth man comes off the bench and leads his team to a national title...and the team is giving all the credit to the brotherhood known as the team. The better together series has been about how to bring out the best in not only yourself but in someone else. To see a team make the sacrifice for each other to achieve the goal of winning a national title is refreshing in a day where individual performances seem to overshadow the concept of team. Their story is one of riding the highs and lows together. One of grinding it out daily together, keeping the big picture in mind. Their story is one of watching multiple members of the team step up when needed and nobody seeking the glory for themselves. In a previous post we talked about competitive drive being that force that propels individuals to success. It was evident in their play throughout the championship game and the entire tournament. Unselfishly passing up good shots for a teammate’s great shot. Preferring their brother over themselves. It’s not just a “thing” for this season, but it’s a culture that was built into the program. All you have to do is point to their last championship win and specifically the game winning shot where the man everyone expected to take the shot passed it to a teammate who was in a better position for a better shot to win.
Now to watch two years later and seeing the clear team leader celebrating the sixth man as he has the game of his career. It’s clear that the unselfishness displayed is a product of a solid team DNA that embraces togetherness, brotherhood, grinding as a team, trust, pushing each other to be the best they can be. Watching their celebration and hearing what they had to say was moving to me. To see a program that has done it the right way and without the “one and dones” is a throwback to a time where student athletes played for the love of the game, the love of each other and the love of their school. Now certainly some of these guys might go on to play at the next level, but the impression they give is that they aren’t looking past their present to a “possible future”. It seems like they’ve been taught that their future is tied into what they do in their present. Sports is a great preparation for life. What we learn through sports can have a lasting effect on our work ethic, on our relationships and on our leadership abilities. This game we saw the team leader learning he doesn’t have to always be the man. The sixth man who has the skills to be a starter embrace his role as the spark off the bench to lift his team up. The coach trusting his team to execute what they’ve been taught and the team following through and playing as they should. The bottom line here is that you have a group of individuals who laid down their pride and ambition for the greater good, the goal of winning a championship. This is what love looks like. Not seeking personal gain but pushing it aside to lift up someone else. The very definition of teamwork.....
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 ESV
This Villanova team showed us what it means to become “better together”. They defined and reminded all of us that teamwork ain’t dead. It’s alive and well and living in Philadelphia Pennsylvania! Stay Forever Strong!