(Repost from a Facebook Note I posted a week or so ago)
Back in 2009, I was unemployed for about 5 1/2 months (between April and mid-September). I spent a lot of time looking for a new job but as many people know, it's not easy to spend a full day in front of the computer looking for work.
So I did a ton of different things including writing, working out, reading, and photography. However, one activity that dominated the majority of my time was basketball. I played basketball from 2 to 4 times a week (depending on what I had to do).
At one of the local recreation centers I played at, I got to know a bunch of the regulars. There were a few young guys as well as a few older guys that played as well.
A few of the guys constantly commented that I was "Mr. Fundamental" due to my style of play. If I had the ball, I was generally in the triple-threat position. I generally played within myself and tried to make the right play rather than the fancy play.
Then one time, one of the older guys made an interesting comment to me. He said: "You know, it seems like you don't care who you play with. You let anybody play on your team".
To be honest, I hadn't though much about that before. I simply enjoy playing basketball. Even though everyone likes to win, I don't particular care if I play with a super star team or a super old team.
Then it really occurred to me why I didn't care who I played with. It was because I adjust my game to how my teammates play. Many of the guys playing pick up ball just play and expect their teammates to adjust to them. For me, I try to take the opposite approach. Most of the time, I think it works. Sometimes, you may play with a group of players where you don't mesh no matter how hard you try.
If I played with a team of older (older than me) guys, I may end up guarding some of the other team's faster players (though I am hardly a spring chicken myself). If I played on a smaller team, I might end up guarding the opposing team's big man and focus on grabbing rebounds.
On offense, if I played with young guys, the young guys like to run and slash. I just filled in with my mid-range jumper. If I played with older guys, I may end up handling the ball, distributing and taking the open shots. If I'm on a team that just isn't good and isn't confident, I sometimes do take over the games.
This isn't to make like I am some super star. My overall basketball skill set is pretty average. I would consider myself a Jack of All Trades and a master of none!
I have a decent but not great jumper and it's from 15 to 18 feet. My ball handling is average and not great against pressure. My passing is simple and precise but not fancy. I play better defense off-ball than on ball. But when I play, I try to figure out what my team need's the most and put it to use.
The lesson here is that teamwork can be applied anything you do in life, whether it be school, work or your family and not just sports. I try to be the best teammate I can but when I was younger, I was pretty selfish. As I have gained experience over the years, I realized that I was never as good as I thought. However, I realized I had some skills and experience to put them to good use. It was then that I became a better player and a better teammate.