There are times when we break from a role because it seems meaningless to us when in reality it is exactly where we should be, because it is preparing us for something better. Even if that something is simply a lesson.
Back in high school I was a part of a club. Well, it wasn’t officially a club, it was just something two of my basketball teammates and I made up. We were the OG’s, short for “other guys”.
The three of us got a lot of time on the court during JV games and made up the heart of the scout team, the group of players that would run the offense or defense that our next varsity opponent would likely run against us. However, we rarely got into a varsity game. We were always asked to suit up for the varsity games, in addition to playing on the JV team, and maybe, late in the game, if we happened to be fortunate enough to be far enough ahead, the coach would lean over and look down the bench and say “hey, you other guys, get up here.” That’s how we got our name.
Truthfully I did not mind playing JV or being on the scout team. I took my role very seriously and worked really hard at it, in hopes that I might earn a chance to play a more meaningful role in a varsity game. It never happened. I decided not to go out for the team my senior year. At that time seniors did not get to play JV ball and I just could not stand the thought of putting in all that time and effort and not getting to play the game.
My senior year I signed up for track, a huge disappointment to me. I was not in the best physical condition and in spite of good intentions of working out (during those evenings free of basketball practice) the discipline and conditioning of basketball practice was missing. I was not at my best.
To this day I regret that decision. First, I let myself quit based on my perception that “playing time” in the game was the most important thing. Second, I failed to see how my participation in basketball prepared me for much different roles, later in life.
The lesson was clearer to me as I became a coach and employer. I realized, with great appreciation, the roles held by players on my teams. I learned the importance of showing appreciation, in every possible way. Now, I try to share with them how their participation might prepare them for the future in other endeavors. To me, they are more than just those “other guys”.