i have been a competitive athlete for my entire life. playing team sports for so many years, i have learned what it takes to be a team sport athlete. in my opinion, these are the qualities of a fantastic team player:
– hard work
– knowing what it feels like to be on the bottom.
all of the above are probably typical qualities one might expect from a team athlete. they are the qualities that are often spewed out in job interviews by these athletes, because they are attractive to prospective employers. in fact, having team experience is an ideal asset to employers today. however, although all athletes will advertise these qualities, a handful of athletes (usually the most successful ones) often do not possess a few of them.
being on a team for so long has allowed me to experience every type of teammate there is. but, since i graduated to being on a varsity team for my university, i have been exposed to a new breed. i haven’t exactly come up for a name for them yet, but they have a precise definition of a person who, on paper, is an ideal team player that you would want to work with. however, they do not possess the qualities expected of a team player. these athletes are the naturally born stars. they woke up one day and decided they wanted to be a volleyball player, or a hockey player, etc. they have such natural born talent and discovered it at a such a young age. playing the sport came easy to them, and they were targeted as a prospect in their sport since they were very young. they start every game. they come into practice never worrying about their coach yelling at them or not being able to complete a drill. they define themselves as natural born leaders, yet they never take any initiative or even have a lack of commitment to their team because they know that no matter what, they will play. they have coaches praising them, putting them on pedestals. they are given all-star awards on a constant basis. they have an honest-to-god idea in their minds that everything they do is commendable. they also have the social skills of a goat.
these athletes think they know the meaning of hard work, when in fact, they have never had to work a day in their lives. they often have the type of parents that saw this spark in their child’s eye…erm…arm, that screamed “university scholarship”. they ran with it from there. mommy and daddy took on multiple jobs to fork out money for expensive agents and private lessons, camps, and provincial teams. their life has always circled around themselves.
i don’t mean to generalize here, but this is just coming from experience. they have a prince/princess mentality, that they feel offended when they have to do more work than they feel they should. they crumble and complain when things get a little hard. it is almost impossible to be close friends with them and enjoy their company, because conversation is often filled with a) ignorant comments about others and b) useless details about themselves.
so, employers everywhere, be careful when a prospective employee tells you about their athletic past. you do not want the stars; you want the left bench.