Written by Claire Stalzer
Rebecca is a talented soccer player and is preparing for her first game of the season. Her team has been playing together for as long as she can remember, and they use their teamwork and non-verbal communication to play the best they can.
Keywords: teamwork, nonverbal communication, all or nothing
Rebecca woke up this morning fresh-faced, and ready to take on the day. Today was the day of her first soccer game this season. Rebecca’s team, the Fighting Squirrels, have been playing together since they were young girls, and they were about to begin their last season before they graduate from high school and leave for college. The team has had its ups and downs throughout the years, but each and every player on the team has a love for the game and the girls she plays alongside. As Rebecca was getting ready for the school day, her mom, Amy, was preparing a big breakfast to help Rebecca fuel up for the long day of running and playing that she had ahead of her.
Before the game, the team had to suffer through a school day before they could get on a bus and be driven to the field. The hallways were buzzing as the teammates were talking about their opponent for the night and what strategies they would use to defeat the Hawks, their rival team. The team captain, Jocelyn, checked in with each player and made sure that they were drinking enough water throughout the day so that they would be hydrated and in prime condition for the big game. Because the girls had been playing together for so long, they have had their game-day routines set in stone for years and hardly need reminders at this point.
As the bus driver pulled the big, yellow bus up to the soccer stadium, the girls spilled out of their seats and made their way to the Fighting Squirrels’ bench. Each player laced up their cleats and continued chatting about what they expected for tonight’s game. As if each player had an internal clock, they all stood and got in position to begin the Fighting Squirrel warmup routine, stretching, and practicing kicking and passing the soccer ball to each other. Rebecca had a good feeling about tonight’s match and could feel the team’s chemistry as they assumed their positions while anticipating the kickoff.
Rebecca began to feel anxious about the two hours of game that stood before her. She decided to take a deep breath and spend a moment feeling the spikes of her cleats dig into the green grass to ground herself. After a moment, Rebecca looked up and made eye contact with her teammates and felt peace as she was reminded that her teammates have her back and they were in the game together.
When the referee blew the first whistle, the Hawks took the ball and darted for the goal. The Fighting Squirrels chased after and got into position as they applied their strategy and remembered that they could work together to keep the Hawks from scoring. When Jocelyn stole the ball from the Hawks’ star striker, the team jetted towards their own goal and passed the ball between each other over and over again to distract the defense. It was almost as if the players knew exactly where their teammates would be before they knew themselves. Rebecca was passed the ball, and her mind went quiet, and her feet took over as they carried her to the goal, and she sent the ball into the back of the net.
The game continued, and the Flying Squirrel’s confidence did not waver. The score was five to zero, and the girls were working like a well-oiled machine. When the second period was almost over, something terrible happened. Jocelyn went to kick the ball, slipped, and twisted her ankle. The team could tell that she was in pain and instantly ran to her side to help her get to the sideline to rest and get the ankle checked out by the team doctor. To make up for the missing talent, the rest of the team had to step up and perform even better than usual.
Despite the missing player, the Flying Squirrels blew the Hawks out of the water and finished the game with an eight to zero score. The team knew that because they had played together for so long and had practiced for this moment, they would know each other as they knew themselves and would succeed if they trusted each other and not let one missing link bring them down. Because of this teamwork, the players scored goals at a bountiful rate and won the game!