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Schools of Thought: Camaraderie in Sports

Our area high schools and colleges are accustomed to success when it comes to sports. The North Dakota State University football team has had a lot of success in the form of five straight national championships in the last five years and 14 overall championships.

Our West Fargo Packers have had championships over the years in football, basketball, wrestling, softball, hockey, swimming, baseball and many individuals amongst other team sports. West Fargo Sheyenne is also beginning to experience success.

This success does not come because one of our area teams got lucky one particular year and the stars aligned. Yes, it is said that it is sometimes better to be lucky than good, but this is not the ingredients that goes into the making of successful teams.

Sports success on all levels starts at the top, beginning with administration and athletic directors and staff to coaches and trainers to players and even to the fans that support those teams.

Some have the school of thought that if just one of these levels does a good job the rest should follow suit and automatically all be good and succeed. This might be true on a rare occasion but having all levels working towards the same goals is definitely the preferred school of thought.

Athletes come and go and sometimes you get that group that is very special. That group may be very athletic or strong leaders or have chemistry or a combination of all the above.

Coaches also come and go but typically are with a team for a longer period of time working with many athletes over that time. If the coaches have chemistry and do not come and go frequently and have success, then they will usually continue with those results.

I have watched area teams over the years and have seen some coaches who should have had their teams better prepared as they are working with kids who are still kids even as they are in their early years of college. As a whole, our area coaches have their teams prepared pretty well.

It is always fun to try and analyze those teams which appear to have the most camaraderie. Large teams and even some not so large have many individual personalities and beliefs and cultures within the team. It is amazing how those teams can gel and have that camaraderie.

A main school of thought is that the successful teams are those which can set aside those individual ideals and beliefs and buy into the team concept. Some will place blame or point fingers if a mistake is made but the teams who succeed are those that can pick one or two individuals up and cover each other on those mistakes.

Teammates can help each other in more ways than just on the field or court. They can have that camaraderie in life in general and beyond the field of play. Friends come and go just like teammates, but the bond with teammates is more often than not long- standing and forever.

Camaraderie is special and can only be explained by those who have experienced it. I only hope that those who have experienced it can appreciate it when they see it happening with our area teams. For those who have not experienced it, I hope they can visit with someone who has and understand it. It is truly special and those teams that have it show it.

Wendy Reuer

Wendy reports for The Forum and West Fargo Pioneer, where she is also assistant editor. A University of Minnesota Morris graduate from North Dakota, Wendy started her career in television news and entertainment in Minnesota and at CBS in Television City, Calif. before working at newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota. 

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