But by far the most important result was that it awakened in us a strong, practical sense of esprit de corps, which in the field developed into the finest thing that arose out of the war– comradeship.

That was the lesson I took from my trip in Fresno. Although it was all fun and games, every single member in my relay team felt an enormous amount of pressure to do well. It wasn’t just a personal goal that we were going after, it was for the team. Sure we wanted to PR that day, but what really was engraved in our mind was how well we would perform to help each other. To satisfy one another and put it all on the line.


Fresno trip 2014

That’s the thing with being on a team. You can’t simply rely on yourself to do everything and expect to reach a major goal. It’s something I’ve learned these past few months. From what I’ve learned, going to practice is not only meant to benefit yourself, but also to build a sense of community and teamwork. Seeing your teammate running with you, enduring the same pain, as well as ups and downs of your workout, is satisfying. You are assured that they, too, feel like they an obligation to pursue. We’re all on the same boat, and that idea itself makes you feel like you’re a part of something big. Something important. A team.

It’s the idea that one person would be willing to do anything to help another that brings us together. We didn’t care if we did bad, but rather that our mates were going to be okay. We were the ones cheering them on, supporting them every step of the way. I recall my cross country coach lecturing us on teamwork and helping others. He told us to focus all our attention on a teammate before a race if we ever felt nervous or pressured in any way. In turn, doing this would reassure our performance and alleviate the stress and burden one felt before a race. I believed him… and it worked. Being on a team, you can’t be so involved in yourself and own performance that you fail to recognize the needs of others. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a team, but rather an individual sport.

Being let down by your own performance has been proven to negatively affect your team. Rather than focusing your attention on what you had done wrong and criticzing yourself, step back and look at the bigger picture. That the freshman you had talked to before the race had done amazing. One race won’t ruin your life. It’s the overall effort that counts. Think about what is best for the team and rest assured, the rest will come easy.


Last weekend, I remember it being exactly one hour before my race. I started to panic because I was so nervous. I was even worried about warming up and started thinking about all the bad things that could happen. I did not want to talk to anyone and took on a negative mindset. I was looking forward to after the race, which was the only thing that had motivated me at the moment. I then remembered that I wasn’t racing alone. I was in this for the team. There were three other members of my relay who felt the exact same way, not just me. At that moment, I felt connected to my team and understood that they too, felt the same amount of pressure and nervousness I was experiencing. That was the beauty of teamwork. That we were all in this together. No man left behind.

This meet was not supposed to be stressful… After all, it was just an all-comers meet. It didn’t matter what time we ran, as long as we did well at finals. So why were we so focused to accomplish something? Because we wanted to prove to each other that our team mattered. It was our opportunity to show our coaches and teammates that we also had the same mindset as they did. We wanted to win… together.

So what exactly is the definition of comradeship and teamwork. To me, it’s the idea that you are willing to sacrifice anything to help a teammate. It’s your willingness to do anything and fully recognize that you have an obligation to come to practice every day and support your teammates.  It’s enduring the same pain and torture, as well as highs, and realizing that your best friend running beside you is feeling the exact same thing. Sameness. We are together as one.


–Michelle Doan

I hope this piece somehow connects to you or at least leave you thinking about teamwork and what that means to you. I was inspired by the novel All Quiet On the Western Front  to write about this specific topic. The featured images are my personal pictures. Please don’t hesitate to voice your personal opinions on our comments section down below. We love to see that people actually take the time to read our posts and write back.

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