Tom Brady, Team Goals, and CI Success

The Freeps carried a column by Mike Lopresti this am that quoted a few of Tom Brady’s remarks after Sunday’s win.

“…he spoke at length the other day with a clear understanding about what it takes to be a Patriot.

‘Anyone that chooses to play on the Patriots realizes that (winning) supercedes any other individual player goal,’ he said. ‘You have to make decisions as an individual on whether you want to be a member of this team or not. You’re going to make sacrifices like anyone on this team makes sacrifices, in the team’s best interest.’

And so Brady remains as cocky as Mr. Rogers, and Troy Brown gives up some of his receiving capabilities to help on defense, and the locker room stays humble pie. If the empire falls, it will not be by ego.”

” ” is Lopresti. The ‘ ‘ within is Brady. And this young man Tom is only 27 years old. He really gets it. Of course what goes along with this is the fact that the team is balanced. That no one player can do it all and that they realize it. They are aware of, appreciate, and need each other’s individual strengths. And the game calls for many strengths to be successful. Interesting, eh?

Now I think this is exactly what makes CI work. And if schools needed balanced skills and capabilities, it would work in schools. Rich tasks (moving the ball against a balanced opponent). Uncertain tasks (how many ways can you score a touchdown?). Balanced and multiple abilities within the whole team.

The part of this that isn’t often analyzed or talked about with CI because of the political implications with parents of individually strong kids is what it means to “make sacrifices.” Making sacrifices means that at times, you hold back your great strength to help others out so that the team works better. It means you don’t always grab air time and push your point of view that you know is right. The sacrifice here is short term and long term. Short term is you don’t get your recognition for perhaps being right or helping out by providing an answer. The long term sacrifice isn’t really a sacrifice. If the group is working right, and if the task is a rich task, there will be more than just your way of looking at the problem. Someone else will have another slant on the problem, perhaps even a slant you don’t see that may lead to an even more elegant solution. So your short term sacrifice of forgoing praise and recognition as an individual is replaced by a long term outcome of having a better solution and learning a few things that even you didn’t know. You learn to see more, see better, and therefore know more.

Getting a group of kids to talk about a short term sacrifice isn’t easy in the school context that favors reading and writing fluency at the most abstract level. The thinkers (hypothesizers), the builders (I can do anything with my hands), the drawers (look what happens when you switch it this way), the dreamers (what if we imagined the car were a boat, how would this be different?) are all diminished because their capacities aren’t honored in most of the recent curricular actualities. Perhaps rhetorically they are honored, but actually, not really.

There are perspectives emanating from championship sports teams that can be emulated. I think this particular perspective from the winners of sb39 and their genius coach Belichek is more than worth considering.

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Charles Rathbone

Retired. Emeritus. UDL consultant, FIrst UU Racial Justice Committee, photographer, married, four children, five grandchildren. Embracing life, all of it. "Today is tomorrow's past."

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