Rachel Jenae


I grew up playing a lot of sports. I had no idea how those years were shaping me. How those coaches were impacting me. I loved team and had no idea how much I would need those young-learned lessons. I was learning the wrestle to depend on others and at the same time bring my best individually. It wasn’t dependent on me, but then again it was. If I didn’t bring my best, then the team was weaker because of me and vice-verse.

I started playing basketball in 3rd grade and I was hooked – the competition, the pace, the strategy! I played with the same group of girls all the way through to my senior year and the highs and lows were real. The wrestle to not fight each other was real. But one thing I don’t remember ever wrestling with was their strengths. I was a point guard – a short 5’4”, and not a consistently strong shooter. I practiced hard, always working to get better, but these were the facts and I knew my weaknesses as well as I knew my strengths. My strengths were in seeing the floor, calling plays, defense, assists. Our primary post player was tall, strong and our high scorer most games. Each team member had their skill set and strength. One could swish the baseline 3’s all day. Another could fake and drive faster than you can blink. Another had the quick steal on defense. (I also had a special skill for fouling out every game, but we don’t need to talk about that today) Part of my job on the team was seeing and utilizing the strengths in others – and when we all did this well the interdependence made us great.

Team wasn’t always easy, especially with girls, but we only won together. If we were at odds off the court, it showed up on the court. If we were mad at the coach for his leadership in practice that week, it was evident in the game. If we resisted training or were lazy in the months leading up to game season, it showed in our record. Everything we did was dependent on every player showing up with their best every day – and receiving and utilizing the strengths of each person with zero comparison.

The skills I learned on that court have come up again and again in my life. Team is rarely easy, but it’s always worth it. The growing pains of training and development are intentional and unintentional. You are learning and growing in both, but the team you surround yourself with will most definitely determine the trajectory of your growth and pace of growth. Find a great team. Find great people with vision and heart and who fight well (even on bad days)! And dig deep into that team. Fight for them, not against them. Bring your very best, the same way you need them to. Be un-offendable on and off the court. When it “counts” and when “it doesn’t”. Practice every day like you want to play. And as my coach always said, “Remember, there’s no “I” in team.” This is not all dependent on you. Utilize your team. Your greatest victories ahead will be when you win with a team of people who are completely different than you and have fought for unity above everything else.

I love team and I love THIS team. We’re better together!