Winning Teams & Personal Defeat

Like most of you, I was glued to the television last night watching the USA women’s gymnastics team trials.  Every Olympics I marvel at how young these girls are.

The pressure.  The stress.  The focus.  The maturity.  So much for such youth!

(Pic source)

But something else got my attention last night…

The encouragement.  The camaraderie.  The care.  The concern.  The way they supported and cheered each other on was really powerful.

Their sport is unique in that while they are a team, they are still individual performers.  While competing together against the rest of the world, they are also competing against one another.  Case in point for the ‘all-around’ finalists.  The new rule limits two ‘all-around’ gymnasts from each country.  And last night by the slimmest of margins, Jordyn – the currently ranked World #1 was outperformed by two of her teammates and will not compete in the Olympics ‘all-around’ competition.

The conflicting emotions among those girls was gut wrenching to watch.  While trying to support one another, they were also trying to deal with their personal emotions.  Jordyn’s heart was breaking with her loss, while Aly was trying to enjoy her victory.

This is the tension of real teams.  Working together to accomplish great goals while also trying to give our individual best performance.  Some days we win, other days we lose.  On the days we lose, there is sure to be another team member who is winning.

It’s a crazy irony of emotions.

How do you support your team members in their success on those days where you feel like you’ve failed miserably?

How do you balance the perspective and goals of the team with your personal dreams and desires?

The strongest teams find the will to do both.  As difficult was it was, once Jordyn composed herself for the press she praised her teammates for their accomplishments while graciously acknowledging her own disappointment.

Let me encourage you to not get so lost in your own defeat that you miss the opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of others on your team.  They need you in your strength and in your weakness… and you need them too.


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  • Brewster July 30, 2012  

    For me it is believing the best about others. That teammates are on my team not the competition. If I am honest I can fall into that trap. I have learned to battle this by becoming others champion. Praying for, cheering for, and helping those we work with can help us transition for competitors to teammates. 

    • Jenni Catron July 30, 2012  

      You’re one of the greatest champions I know Brewster!!

  • Annecmabry July 30, 2012  

    Such a good post. I think it shows such integrity to be honest about the disappointment and the struggle to overcome that to acknowledge another’s achievement.  As much as many would’ve wanted her to suck it up and not mess up Ally’s moment, she needed to feel her disappointment in order to move on.  But choosing not to wallow in it and to look out and consider everyone else (the teammates, coaches, media, fans, etc.) was brave and mature!  What a great example she set.

    • Jenni Catron July 30, 2012  

      So true, Anne. She needed to feel it and process it. Made my heart hurt for her!!