This is a short one that I hope can make you laugh and learn at my expense.

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I have so many great memories from the sport of football but one sticks out above the rest and it wasn’t so great at the time. When I was 10 years old and playing youth football, my teammates and I decided that it would be a good idea to have a “rock fight” before practice (genius, I know). Suited up in our pads and helmets, we proceeded to pelt each other with small rocks near a parking lot as we waited for our coaches. Surprise, surprise but within minutes, a rock hit a car and we all stopped, dropped our rocks and did what any group of 10 year olds would do… pretend that nothing happened.

Of course, one of the parents nearby had witness the whole thing and informed our coach when he arrived. To this day, I’m not convinced that I threw the rock that hit the car, but when our coach sat us down, nobody fessed up and I took credit. Our coach brought me up in front of my teammates and explained that what we did was wrong. I don’t remember much of what he said because I was too busy holding back tears but I do remember what he said last. He told us that we were all going to run to hold us accountable for what had happened. Before he sent us off to run laps he told the team that “even though Joe threw the rock, we win as a team, we lose as a team, we have fun as a team and we get in trouble as a team.”

We ran our laps, I cried my eyes out the entire time and my teammates consoled me as they ran alongside of me. From that day on, I was Joe “Rocks” Rinaldi and to this day I still get that every now and then. I’ll never forget that practice and that lesson that we learned that day.

The lesson (for me) was that it’s bigger than us. In sport, but also in life, we find ourselves as part of various teams; with groups of people who we are committed to. Whether it’s a football team, a friendship, a marriage or anything else, when we commit to other people, you win together, you lose together, you have fun together and you get in trouble together. Life is so much bigger than us and part of what makes life meaningful is sharing it (the highs and the lows) with the people around you. Life is so much bigger than just us.

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I hope that coach is reading this blog and smiling; you taught me (and my teammates) more than you know and I wanted to thank you for helping me become the person who I am today.

“A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group – that’s teamwork.”

John Wooden

It’s bigger than us.

Joe Rinaldi, PT, DPT

IG: @joerinaldi.dpt

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