What’s in a Game: Solid support system

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In this year filled with so much turmoil and strife, economically, socially and politically, it is important for everyone to have a solid support system. Knowing not only that you have people who would come to your aid, but also that they would want you to call on them for help if you ever needed it creates much peace, especially in times of unrest. Many this type of support to some degree, whether that be from family or friends, mentors or peers.  The significance of these individuals  cannot be overlooked in any aspect of this difficult life, but the necessity is heightened in times of change and struggle. 

Sometimes however, it is difficult to perceive this support, for friends sometimes struggle to express their desire to help.  Furthermore, it is complicated to ask for help because not only must you know yourself well enough to know when you need it, but you must also have the strength to ask someone to come to your side and prop you up. 

Will Baum wrote an article for Psychology Today elaborating on his time working in a crisis residential facility in California.  He handed out a worksheet with slots to fill out in two columns: who  supports you right now and who you would like as a source of support in the future. He asks frequently in the article, not only to the crisis facility, but to any and every reader: 

“Who out there is on your team?”

Now, one might think that those on a sports team might have an easier time answering this question. As the name implies, your teammates can be said to be on your team, right?

Undoubtedly, the team environment, through shared experiences and constant improvement through many physical and psychological hardships, is a great place to form those types of bonds you can rely on in times of need. However, it is the intentionality of the relationships that truly creates those personal bonds, that result in a safety net for an individual. Additionally, even if those bonds are formed, it takes a great deal of strength to call on them.  

Collegiate athletes especially have incredibly demanding schedules and must manage time incredibly effectively just to keep their heads above water. This demand can catch up with you if you let it, and especially when there is so much strife around an individual in the world, as in the case of the entirety of 2020.  One can turn the questions of Baum’s worksheet toward himself, asking not only where he or she can draw on support now, but where they want to have it in the future. The intentionality of building these relationships is the key to growing the width and solidity of each person‘s safety net. Not only is it important for student athletes, but every individual needs to know who is on their team.

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