Saturday, September 25, 2004
Teamwork is overrated.
We can tell our children that there is no "I" in "team," but do we really mean it?
Personally, I can't imagine the Denver Nuggets making a playoff run last year without Carmelo Anthony, the Indianapolis Colts winning a game without Peyton Manning, or the Giants without Barry Bonds.
The days of the great team efforts are disappearing quickly. Players are deemed succesful based on how many dollars they can put in their pockets, not how many championships they bring to their towns.
That's why I find it so amazing that you can still find great examples of teamwork -- the Angels winning the World Series a few years ago, and the Patriots taking the Super Bowl the past few years.
However, you don't have to look to the national level to find the perfect example of teamwork. It can be found in Steamboat Springs.
The unusual thing is that the best example of teamwork I've seen this year is in a sport typically associated with individual efforts -- golf.
This year, the members of the Steamboat Springs High School golf team have put the "team" in "golf."
During the season, five players have led the squad, including four state qualifiers -- Hans-Peter Bacher, Ryan Brees, Paul Berry and Kenton Gamache.
The team's No. 5 guy, Tucker Smalley, who didn't get to play in the regional tournament where teams are limited to four players, also has led the team more than once this season. If the regional qualifying team had a spot for a fifth player, he would be traveling to Colorado Springs next week to play in the state championships with the rest of the Sailors.
Steamboat isn't a team led by single players who consistently shoot rounds in the mid- to high 60s. This is a team of consistent golfers who take turns stepping into the spotlight.
It's proof that all of these guys are great individual golfers, but that they are even better when they are combined into one team.
Coach Steve Dodson said he has seen a competitive drive among the Steamboat players to be the best on the team during practice, but when they step onto the course, the players realize that it takes three scores to win a tournament.
This team used all five players to win six out of the 10 regular season tournaments, and the team probably would not have won the regionals if Smalley wasn't on the outside, pushing his teammates to play better.
If this team brings home the state title this year, it will be because all four golfers show up at the Country Club of Colorado ready to play.
I will not be surprised if the team does win the title, because showing up as a team is what they've been doing since August.
There is no doubt the members of the high school golf team have proven that there is no "I" in "team" -- or in "golf."
--To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209
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