This is a first in my blog, to write about mushy life lessons. Not really my style, but it gives me an excuse to write about my weekend and lacrosse.
I guess I need to explain an “Old Guy Lacrosse Tournament”. There is a small subculture of immature and physically active middle aged pseudo athletes that get together regularly to beat each other with titanium sticks. See this illustrated explanation of old guy lacrosse. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ju4bGgTX8Rw
Last weekend was the annual Florida Lacrosse Classic tournament, containing 40+ teams, playing over 100 games over three days in the Ft. Lauderdale area. The tournament raises money for youth lacrosse in Florida and has raised over $242,000 since it’s inception. There are age divisions, 45, 50, 55 and now even a 60+ division.
The team I played for competed in the 50+ division. Team is Faber College – yes from the movie “Animal House”, Faber is the fictitious college created by National Lampoon in 1978. The team is based out of the Tampa area, with some Pennsylvania, NY and Canadian connections to some old friends. You can tell by the name we are a bit off kilter, which takes us to the first lesson.
Lesson One – Breaking the Tension – during time outs and other stoppages of plays our team leader uses quotes from, the movie such as “Fawn Lebowitz on three”, I say Neidermeyer and you say “Dead!” on three, “Delta!”, “D-Day!” And many more. The purpose of the cheers is to keep the team loose while competing. I have seen this tactic fail miserably in the workplace as people try to pump you up or gain enthusiasm for completely mundane activities. Alternatively, try a little comedy to relieve stress and tension to loosen up the environment and build a more fun teaming environment.
Lesson Two – Group Communication in a Stressful Environment – During our games when the games were tighter then they should have been, teammates begin screaming at each other and confusion ensues. Same thing in the workplace. When there are deadlines, communication breaks down, tempers flare and mistakes are made. During the game you are limited in time outs. In the office you can always call time out and you probably should. Try not to react, but to put it all in perspective and get everyone to take a step back to re-group. You can improve productivity during a stressful period by making everyone stop and relax for five minutes, take a walk, share a story, etc.
Lesson Three – Knowing your Role on the Team – Right before the start of the Championship game on Sunday, our team leader gives the team instructions to “know your role”. In other words we want to have the best players at their positions as much as possible, defensive players play defense and get off the field for offensive players when we have the ball. In the work environment, it’s always good to do the same, but realize your role from group to group within the organization can be different. You can lead one project, while being a contributor or advisor on another. Key is to make sure all of the members roles are communicated and understood during the project. Too many leaders of a group causes tension and decreases productivity.
Back to the weekend. You probably figured out that the Faber team played for the championship of the 50+ division on Sunday. After four quarters and leading in the fourth quarter by a score of 8-5, team Faber proceeded to let the evil, low down, Specialty Snappers team tie the game at the end of regulation time. A few minutes into overtime the Snappers were called for two penalties (cheaters!) and Faber prevailed to become champions once again!
Those of you that have read my musings previously know I add musical references, and there is only one song I can think of that applies to this post and that is the Isley Brothers’ “Shout” as performed by Otis Day and the Knights at the Delta House. No need to list the lyrics as you should already have the tune in your mind…a little bit softer now.