Our team is having a pretty good season. We’ve been together for quite a while now. We have practice almost every single night. In the summer we practice days, too. Most of the time, we enjoy practice, but for a while, there it was a real drag.

We realized that we had become far too accusatory toward each other. Say, one of us had a breakaway and blew it. Or fowled the play. Or missed a pass. We were in the nasty habit of eye rolling, finger pointing, and  lecture shouting. But then we didn’t like what sort of team we were becoming–with everybody pouncing on everybody else.

It wasn’t helping us improve, either. We were becoming defensive and angry, and unwilling to take risks with each other. To turn things around, we’ve tried to make our team a safe place to make mistakes. Why would we be surprised at fumbles and errors? We should expect those.

We’ve been together long enough that we can anticipate each others’ errors, based on weaknesses. But we can use that to our advantage. When we see a team mate headed for error, we can give helpful reminders or move into a support position. And when he blows it, we can help him up and encourage him for next time.

We know that there will be lots of next times. We’re in this together for the long haul. Nobody gets traded on our team. We might add a few players–but that won’t be till our kids are old enough to get married. And then, they’ll be starting a team of their own.

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