This past weekend, I played in a water polo tournament with my team. I've always loved water polo and the team aspect of it, but this weekend really made me think about why team sports are so fun. I've been a swimmer for most of my life, which is a really individualized sport, so I've grown to appreciate the beauty that is team sports. Here are my reasons.
1. You meet a lot of people
Team sports usually require a large amount of people to play, and because of the turnover every year, I've gotten to come into contact with a large range of people.
2. You often grow very close with these people
Spending countless hours at practice and tournaments really unites a group of people. I feel like throughout my years, I've bonded with many people in various years on the team and been able to have a unique shared experience with a certain small group of people.
3. Blame isn't on one person-- everyone shares responsibility
In a team sport, everyone plays an important role and depends on each other. If one person hasn't been going to practice, it affects the whole team in a game. I like this sense of shared responsibility and trust that goes along with playing a team sport.
4. It requires lots of communication, planning, and coordination
Often, people see this as a drawback to playing a team sport, but I think that the constant communication and coordination between team members to run practice and go to games is an interesting dynamic that allows the team to grow closer together.
5. You get to see your friends/teammates improve and play well
The best part of playing a team sport (in my opinion) is getting to see the people you've gotten really close to perform really well. It's so fun being able to congratulate your friends when they score a goal or make a great play, since you've seen them practicing hard and putting in the time and effort.
6. There is an aspect of plays and strategy that individual sports do not have
Team sports have a lot of strategy and plotting involved. Everyone has to be on the same page, which is unique to team sports. Individual sports have more of a mental game aspect, but team sports rely on communication and planning within the group, which is really cool.
I love the fact that in swimming, if I do poorly on a race, I really can only blame myself, but it is a nice change of pace in water polo to be able to share successes, defeats, and everything in between with my teammates. I'm so glad to be a part of the team I'm on now and I'm grateful for all the people I've met along the way!