Being a player/coach isn’t easy, be it sports, business or life in general.
Last weekend was the annual Cape Cod Lacrosse Tournament. For the past four years, my buddies have registered a team and I just showed up to play. I did my part to lead on the field, but I didn’t feel responsibility as a coach.
This year, I stepped it up. I designed our jerseys (and picked the team socks!), worked on the roster a bit more, communicated to everyone, decided the starters, influenced our style of play, (even took some videos to thank our sponsors) etc… all while trying to play defense and have a great time with friends I only see once a year.
It wasn’t easy.
I’m competitive and I like to win. Last year, we did not win (the championship, nor many games). This year, I was determined to change that.
But in the process, I realized it’s a really tough position - being a friend, a teammate and the coach. I wanted to win and yet I also wanted all my buddies to get plenty of playing time. I wanted to coach, but I also wanted to just let my team play the game - purely and free - the way it’s meant to be played.
I know I blatantly made some mistakes as a coach (and as a player!), and it was scary in Game 1 when we lost badly, but I’m really proud to say we won every game after that to bring home the 2010 Championship!
I think the winning formula was a balance between leadership and letting go. When you put the right team together, give them a problem to solve and the tools and trust to do it… good things are going to happen.
And really important, we emphasized having fun on the field. The team we beat was swearing at one another by half-time, while we coolly joked about the previous night’s shenanigans.
The best compliment on the weekend though was this:
I heard a lot of people on the sidelines saying how funny you guys were and how much fun you all were having during the game…must be legit if you can have fun and win at the same time!
Be passionate about what you do, have fun doing it and it’ll never seem like work. While I know I learned a lot of this through my career in sports, I’ve had a similar experience in business.
When we started working on HomeField, I know I had a tendency to micro-manage, which isn’t great as a friend, co-worker or ‘CEO’ to my cofounders, Dan and Joe, and our new guy, Henry. But I’ve learned to let go and the results have been phenomenal. It wouldn’t be possible without the trust that we all have with one another.
This week, we’re in my hometown on Cape Cod to get some great work done on HomeField, but also to think big and have fun building a great company together.
So here’s to Beach House Lacrosse - the 2010 Cape Cod Lacrosse Champions - and to my buddies - Dan, Joe, and Henry - for being awesome teammates, letting me be a player/coach.
[Photos by Leslie].