Monday, June 18, 2007

Tournament 5 - Lesson 1- Evolution of a team

The theory of natural selection helps an organism develop (through a number of generations) by selecting individuals that are best adapted to survive. The final design is not an optimal design for survival, but is adequate for the job. This is similar to winning results in being an adequate team, but not an optimal team. Note that we (as story tellers) apply evolutionary theory as analogies in all sorts of fields either keeping true to the theory or bastardizing the hell out of the theory for our own explanations. Let me be a bastard.

Pictured Above: Oscar releasing a flick over Toly. I'm guessing foul was called. (photo courtesy of Kirsten Taylor)

Teams "evolve" into a better team and players "evolve" into better players when they meet challenges or almost meet challenges. The biggest lessons are learned when your team just barely loses or barely wins. In these cases, you make the greatest growth since the entire game is full of repeated adjustments and situations that balance on the edge of success and failure.

Our team, Grand Trunk, had what appears to be a great record of 6 wins and 1 loss at No Surf in Cleveland, but in our minds we only learned from 4 of those games, and the loss was far more valuable than the 3 tight wins. The one loss also meant that we missed an opportunity to find even more good competition.

The best thing you can do to improve your team is strive to win, but put yourself in situations in which you will potentially lose. The great dynasties such as the Oilers, Bulls, and 49ers never had instant success. They faced years of disappointing losses in the playoffs that sent them back to the drawing boards until they finally found the formula that resulted in years of being the best.

It seems rather obvious that you improve by playing against good competition, but that means we all have to strive to win, but have the poise to handle losses and use them as the most important experiences as opposed to devastation.