By Dave Walsh, Columnist
What a wonderful time of year!
The Holiday Season has begun, a wonderful and certainly a favorite time of year for most. It’s a time of counting one’s blessings and looking forward.
And it’s a time for family.
We tend to gather during the holiday season as a family or a group of the people who mean so much to us.
In the sports world, that may mean a gathering together of your seasonal group of brothers or sisters.
Your “team” becomes your family. Your teammates are your brothers and sisters. Coaches are often looked upon as father or mother-figures, or even older brothers or sisters.
And in the sports world there are many teams, or “families,” gathered together at many various sites away from home, perhaps to compete. An example: The Wyoming Cowboys play tonight in Fresno, California.
The schedule says that the Cowboys and Bulldogs play their final conference games tonight in Fresno. In fact, it’s the final regular season game for both.
Yes, here it is the day after Thanksgiving Day and the very start of the Holiday Season, and the Pokes will knock heads in a very important season finale.
The most important aspect of this great time of year, of course, is the “family” part. This is the holiday season and, most importantly, the family season. I think that is what is best in the real world, and in the sports world too.
In the sports world, most of the teams that are successful talk about their affection for the group. They are fully convinced that the close-knit family feel is key. With that, the intense motivation that can come when one feels they are playing for “team” is special.
It’s not about individual achievement for the members of great teams, it seems. That’s not to say that there aren’t great individual talents who can be members of a great team. There are indeed great leaders, by performance and position, who are exceptional.
But the thing they are most exceptional at is helping their teammates be their very best. Great leaders, and great players, make their teams and their teammates better.
And they do so within the “family” concept.
The very best teams, the most successful teams, seem to have that one thing in common.
Like a close-knit family, the good team confides and relies on one another. The popular claim of “having one’s back” really does hold true in today’s team sports. It’s the popular term that makes the simple claim that, “I’m behind you, I care for you and I support you.”
And really, if you have that family feel going, that positive and passionate vibe going on, it has to increase the odds of being successful. What is more important than having the support of those who love you, the family and friends closest to you?
The answer to that one is nothing.
And that holds true win or lose.
The Wyoming Cowboys said as much, and proved the point of just how important “family” is. And they did so, even in defeat.
The Pokes suffered a heartbreaking loss to Boise State last Saturday in War Memorial Stadium. The Cowboys went toe-to-toe with a very good team and battled their highly favored opponent to the very end. They gathered together, banded together as one, and represented themselves, and their family, very well.
After the game, the Cowboys stayed united in their response. The Pokes accepted the result and accepted responsibility for the result. And they did so as a group, as a team, as a family.
It was made very clear that this Cowboy team will continue to perform after this last effort, just as they did during it.
There was never any mention of the silly “moral victory” theory or the “close, but no cigar” false comfort.
The Cowboys appear to be determined to continue with a great deal of hard work, together, as a family. That’s their best theory, and best formula, for success.
Here’s hoping you are off to a great start to this wonderful season with a belated happy Thanksgiving Day!