Teams smile in the face of adversity

Published 8:38 pm Sunday, August 13, 2017

In 1981, the Georgia Bulldogs won the National Championship.  (I know you Auburn and Bama fans get tired of me writing about Georgia. I will lighten up in the next few weeks.)  Each player wore a tee shirt with the words: Team me.

In the most simple way, it illustrates how a successful team operates; each member is but a component of the bigger organization.

This doesn’t just apply to football.  Teams succeed and fail in businesses, charities, families, networks of friends, the armed forces, and hundreds of other examples. (I have been a part of successes and failures.)

Here is what I have learned:

Teams face adversity. While the character of individuals and teams are sometimes difficult to assess, when faced with adversity, character become easy to identify.

When we face “trying times” as a team or alone, most of us naturally turn to those around us for guidance. Time, and time again the importance of establishing common goals, good habits, and loyalty to the team has proven invaluable to teams performing under the most immense pressure.

Often adversity can force individuals and teams to achieve the un-expected and extraordinary in tough situations

A few years ago, a talented college football team lost their two best players (both were running backs) due to injuries in the first game of the season. These players were so talented that either could have won the Heisman Trophy that year. The anticipation for a stellar season was seemingly lost by fans, players, and coaches.

But conventional wisdom proved to be incorrect. Rather than unraveling, the team ended up winning ten games; beating two teams that were heavily favored. How did this happen? There are many theories, but a close look showed with the power of team work and the ability to apply useful habit building developed during the months before the first game, the team compensated for the loss of those running backs by making adjustments and “stepping up.”

The injured players took part in every team building exercise during the season, encouraged the two replacement running backs, and “remained part of the team.” Their devotion to teamwork inspired the rest of the team, particularly the offense, to actually excel more than anticipated before the injuries.

The team smiled in the face of adversity.

There are only two choices: support and extend a hand to your team member and adjust your team, or leave the wounded soldier on the battlefield.

The first choice is always made by teams who smile in the face of adversity.

Jason W. Swindle Sr. is a Senior Partner and Criminal Defense Attorney at Swindle Law Group in Carrollton.