On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS July 1, 2013 #443 Up next…Loyalty

After further review…Speaking to a diverse audience recently, I encouraged each to value teamwork in their families, in their work place and, by extension, in everything they do. I remember so well what Hall-of-Famer Steve Young, former quarterback of the San Francisco Forty-Niners, once said, “If you play alone, you’ll be alone”.

I describe teamwork by using the acronym T*E*A*M (Together Everyone Accomplishes More). If you take your hand and spread out your fingers, each of your fingers possesses the strength of a single digit. But if you clench them together into a fist, they become much more powerful. Mohammad Ali never won any fights with his fingers, but he sure did with his fists. The power of a T*E*A*M is discovered when everyone “clenches” together.

Loyalty to that T*E*A*M is what keeps it unified. Loyalty, a noun, is defined as “something to which one is bound by a pledge or duty”. Google explains it as “A feeling or attitude of devoted attachment and affection”. The teams I watched over the years of my career as an official met both these descriptions; but what is the source of that “devoted attachment”?

It’s easy to cite several examples of pro athletes who play for their name on the back of their jersey rather than the logo on their helmet”. Loyalty, as with confidence, starts with reminding yourself to keep the commitments you make to yourself.  If you can’t do that, I believe you’ll find it difficult to keep commitments you make to your T*E*A*M. No one wants to take way your individuality; it just means using your  talents within the framework of your team. Team- building comes before teamwork.

Loyalty becomes visible when you are willing to admit your mistake rather than alibiing your way out of it. Loyalty is strengthened when you step-up to take responsibility for your actions. There is no better place to learn teamwork than in sports, or a club, or being in the band or choir. Loyalty learned in these venues will serve you well in your family, in school, in business, or in any area involving relationships

The late Jim Murray, Pulitzer Prize-winning sportswriter, said it best when describing the qualities of a person he admired: “He makes the word loyalty a verb not a noun”.

Will you make loyalty a verb in your everyday relationships?

To contact Jim go to www.jimtunney.com or email him at jim@jimtunney.com.

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