I am One
I am only one, but I am one.
I can’t do everything,
But I can do something.
And what I can do, I ought to do.
And what I ought to do, with everything I have
I will do.
This is one of my favorite quotes and I first read it during my sophomore year at William and Mary. I read it in a book called “The Winners Manual” by Jim Tressel who was a former Ohio State football coach. Being a Michigan fan it was very tough to read a book written by the coach who always dominated my Wolverines, but the book has helped me through tough times as it is a collection of great stories, parables, and quotes. The “I am one” quote was mentioned in the book because it was a quote Tressel had the entire team read before every game. He had his players read it because he wanted each guy to understand that no matter what role, they each had the power to help the team. Even those who would not play in the game, had the ability to change the outcome of the game by being great teammates on the sideline. Those players had a choice, they could either stand silent on the sideline without using any effort and energy, or they could decide to do everything they possibly could to help the team.
When I read this quote, I was not playing many minutes at William and Mary. This was a different situation for me and of course it was frustrating especially on game days. I found it hard to get excited about the games or practices when I knew I was not going to play at all. After reading this quote though, I decided to re-read it before every game silently by myself at my locker. This quote allowed me to I understand that I was blessed to be at a great school, on a great team, surrounded by great teammates. I had the ability to make an impact besides scoring baskets. It would be a waste if I did not take advantage of my situation! It was selfish and wasteful to not do all that I could during games. Therefore I decided to commit myself to being the best possible teammate on the sidelines. When our team scored, I was my teammates’ biggest cheerleader, and when my teammates were pulled after making a mistake, I was their biggest consoler. During timeouts before the coaches came over to the bench, I tried offering up advice and what I saw from the bench and remembering what the scouting reports said about the opposing team. Gamedays were then as important to me as if I was playing every minute. The next year I was voted Captain which I attribute to my attitude at games and practices during a time in which I did not play meaningful minutes.
I tell this story to many of our my players because it is easy to take the easy route of being upset and sad during games in which we do not play. It is easy to quietly sit on the bench and occasionally, unethusiasitcally clap when our teammates score. It is easy to think “woe is me” and “I should be playing over that guy” during the entire game. It is much harder to put our ego in check. Each day as human beings we have the amazing opportunity to be our best self and to use every talent and ability that we have to the fullest degree. It is my belief that is our duty to use these talents and take advantage of this opportunity. In school we should strive to be best student we possibly can. We should try to be best friend, brother, sister, father, mother, each day and especially in situations where it is tough to do so. The same can be said for us as teammates. Though we might not be able to score 20 points, or collect 10 rebounds, we do have the ability to make an impact and it is up to us to decide on how much of an impact we are willing to make. We are only one, but we ARE ONE.