In a recent conversation with a former Major League pitcher, I asked him about one of his high profile teammates. The teammate was one of the greatest players in the history of the game, but has come under tremendous scrutiny in the last several years. He has been regularly accused of cheating the game, of being rather boorish toward the media and quite aloof from his teammates.
I was intrigued by the pitcher’s comment that he found him to be a great teammate. He said that what he valued was that the other player always showed up on game day. He was the guy he wanted in left field every time he pitched and he wanted that guy hitting third in the line up. In short, that teammate helped him win games. In addition, he said that when the game was over, all the media went to the high profile teammate’s locker rather than his. The pitcher was more than glad to have all that attention go to someone else.
Some of this high profile player’s youngest teammates were jealous of the media attention, extra space in the locker room and distance from team stretching and the like. This veteran pitcher would tell them to relax and to value the high profile player for his contribution to the team while the game was on.
As you compete, be mindful of your high profile teammates and the special set of pressures, responsibilities and inconveniences which they experience day to day. Be like this veteran pitcher and give them some space to be just a little different. Gauge their value to the team while the game is in progress and be thankful when they take some of the media’s spotlight off of you when you are at less than your best. Play your heart out and you may find yourself as the high profile teammate who is of great value to your lesser achieving teammates.