There Is No "I" In Team

January 8, 2008
By Chris Bland, Woodstone Ct., MI

Now that it’s all over I would have never predicted it would have started this way. I can still remember the day before the first meet and Coach Mike was announcing the starting racers for the first race of the season. Surely I was going to be starting I was one of the gnarliest skiers in all of Caseville and I was only a sophomore. I was so ready for the thrill and pleasure of my name being called amongst the older boys who I would call teammates for the upcoming winter, as Coach Mike announced the first couple names I just assumed he was saving the best for last.
After the first five were called and with only one left to be named I was starting to feel a little nervous that I would not be racing. As the last the final racer was announced it was not me. I instantly thought why did you have to be skateboarding right before the season started and break your wrist. I am pretty athletically talented and have numerous amounts of hobbies. Some more dangerous then others and for some reason I thought it was a good idea to go to the indoor skate park in early November when the season started right after Christmas.
So there I was at the skate park ready to go hit the gnarliest ramp at the park so I approached it with a lot of speed hit with all the power I had flew into the air lost balance and was spinning back and approaching the ground fast. Inch by inch I neared the ground with my legs above my head and my right arm flailing back and flapping as if I thought I could fly.
SNAP. My right arm had broken my fall and it was obvious by the humungous dent sticking out of my wrist that it was broken. At that very moment I looked into the future and could see my wrist being broken all season long and having ruined an entire season of skiing, which was what I practically lived for. I saw the upset faces of the older skiers who would be heartbroken to hear the news that the young gun idiot was goofing off with his friends and broke his wrist. I could see how upset the captain of the team was going to be who also happened to be my brother. I thought I am never going to hear the end of this. I laid there on the ground feeling pathetic and useless.
From the skate park I went to the hospital where they had to perform surgery on my wrist. I kept asking them how long is my arm going to be broken when will I be able to ski. The doctor kept repeating, “we won’t know until the surgery is over” so sitting there on the hospital bed I prayed that the surgery would go well and they could put my bone back together. I was feeling pretty confident in the doctors at this point because I had broken 9 bones before that. After the surgery I awoke in a new room very uncomfortable to my surroundings and very unaware to what was going on due to the anesthetics and painkiller I was on. After a while I came back to what was more normal and the doctor explained that the bone had set very well and that I should be around 100% in six to eight weeks.
I thought this is not a big deal at all I won’t miss any of the ski season. I felt really lucky and thought I wasn’t going to miss any of the season. However that is not the case skiing is controlled by the weather and five weeks later we had gotten some early snow and practice was going to start earlier then I had originally thought. So as practiced has started I stood at the bottom of the hill watching everyone having the time of there lives and stood three like an idiot. So after two weeks of feeling useless and observing from the bottom I was finally healed and was ready to start practicing with the team. I was skiing the best I had ever skied. It was obvious that I was going to be one of the best skiers on the Varsity Team. I thought to myself how cool it would be to go from the JV star to the Varsity star and only be a sophomore.
“Felix come over hear” I heard It was Coach Mike .I was so upset that I didn’t even want to talk to him at this point. But I did anyways. He said “you know why you aren’t racing tomorrow right”
“kind of” I replied. I figured it was going to be some sort of punishment for missing a lot of practice when I was injured
“Well you will be racing soon it is just not fair for the other guys who were training hard the whole time while you were standing there doing nothing. I thought to myself that it was fair but I was still rather upset because I am a firm believer that the best should get the spot despite any other circumstances. But its not always the you want it to be.
So as the race rolled around I was on the hill to support my team and help them prepare for there runs and for the first time all season I was being a good teammate and was not being a poor sport about everything. After the race to no surprise we won even without me. I thought wow this is the start of a great season. After another week of training it was race time again and I was announced as one of the racers. I was so happy but again I really didn’t care because I realized that it was a team sport and it would be more rewarding if I started acting like it was. So with my new attitude I took the hill with the best spirit I had ever had, and when it was go time. I was so pleased I was having so. much fun and we started off 2-0. One buy one the opponents kept coming and we kept winning.
It was a great season because the camaraderie that was shared was unreal. . We were all one. Everyone became so close and it was a really special thing, because most people did not expect us to be undefeated by the time the regional race rolled around. So regionals were the next morning and expectations were big. Everyone was prepared and there had been a team dinner the night before. Emotions were all over the place we thought we could win but we really had no idea how we would perform. The first event was Giant Slalom and that wasn’t really my best event but I figured if I tired my best I would be fine. Surprisingly I did pretty good and it looked like I was in about 8th and my brother was right behind me in ninth. That meant good things because I was going to the state meet as an individual regardless if the team made it, and so was my brother. After the Giant Slalom (which is the other event that you race where the turns are tighter and a lot smaller) it was time for lunch and the Slalom was in the afternoon. I was so pumped because as a team we were in first after Giant slalom, which was pretty big. Then I thought to myself It’s time to do work. With slalom coming up which was our teams strong event there was no way that we could possibly lose.
As we all stood at the top of the hill with our starts coming we were not cocky but well prepared to win. As each of my teammates came down the hill the more I couldn’t help but think we got this in the bag. There is no possible way for us to lose today. As our last racer came in clean we all felt so excited and like we could accomplish anything. We all pretty much had thought that we won but we were not one hundred percent sure. With the awards ceremony just minutes away we were all filled with excitement and joy. First it was the individual awards. In giant slalom we had four athletes in the top ten. In slalom we had three athletes in the top ten, and yes I was in the top ten in both events. After the individuals in the top ten had collected there medals I thought bring on the real hardware.
They began to announce the team results from last to first. Slowly they announced each team and a small applause was followed. As the places got lower and lower the applauses got louder and longer. As the first eight had been called and we were not called it was official we had won regionals. “And this years regional the Caseville beavers” the man yelled.
“roar ra ha” noises filled the air from all fans teammates and parents that didn’t stop for a few minutes. We all ran up to the podium as a team and accepted the trophy with pride. The fun didn’t stop for a couple days. It wasn’t the fact that we won that made the season so special it was the fact that we started from nothing and went through a lot of struggles and became a real team to end up where we did.

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