In hockey, everyone is responsible for playing his position but only the goalie must primarily prevent the other team from putting the puck in the net. When the opposing team scores too many goals, the goalie may get pulled and replaced. If the opposing team is shutout and scores no goals, the goalie is praised.
Goalies, like specialists, are hired to perform a very specific function. A team without a goalie is vulnerable; a goalie without a team is, well, just a target to slap the puck past.
We all come with our own strengths and most of us know what it’s like to work with and live with other people. The most successful groupings of people are often the ones who understand their specific function or role in the group and each one fulfills this role with the understanding that the rest of the team is “playing,” too – it’s not a one man effort.
One of the best aspects of the game of hockey is when a player prevents a very close goal. While this is the main function of the goalie, it is often other players that lunge, dive, and fling themselves in front of the net. In a way, it’s kind of heroic, definitely self-sacrificing, and it exemplifies the concepts of teamwork by literally laying down on the ice (with sharp skates all around them) to prevent a goal. It also shows that the individual is not more valuable than the success of the team. After all, an entire game can be lost in only a few seconds.
There are certainly a lot of ways we can be a part of a team at work, but also with friends and family. In hockey, teamwork literally means lying down in front of the net to help the goalie if needed. At work, it may mean covering for someone who is sick or hasn’t been able to catch-up on missed work. In friendship, it may mean giving valuable time to cook, clean, or babysit to ease burdens for a struggling marriage. As a neighbor, it may entail watering grass or picking up after someone else’s dog. In your family, it may mean picking up your spouse’s dirty laundry off the floor for the 9,117th time, without complaining.
Acts of service are limitless. Acts of love are priceless. It’s all about teamwork.