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Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Will you be wearin’ the green today? Will you down any shamrock shakes or green beer? Will you eat corned beef and cabbage?

St. Patrick’s Day is a fun, festive holiday. I’ve come across people who don’t like Valentine’s Day. I’ve encountered people who scoff at Groundhog Day. I’ve even known a few people who hate Christmas. But I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

The Irish have recognized March 17th as St. Patrick’s Day since the early 1600s. The date commemorates the anniversary of the death of the holiday’s namesake, a missionary credited with bringing Christianity to the Emerald Isle.

Interestingly, green was not the color originally associated with St. Patrick’s Day. Blue was. The Knights of the Order of St. Patrick wore a lighter shade of blue known as “St. Patrick blue.” Green didn’t become connected to the holiday until the Irish rebellion in 1798.

The Irish sought independence from British rule and began wearing shamrocks (clovers) on their lapels and in their hats as a symbol of Irish unity. The movement grew to include wearing green capes and green uniforms. The British eventually deemed wearing green as a rebellious act, punishable by death.

A popular folk song of the time, The Wearin’ of the Green, mocked the much-detested law and became the battle cry for Irish nationalism. The song’s theme captures an important aspect of being a good teammate: fearless loyalty. Take notice of the song’s final verse:

When laws can stop the blades of grass from growin’ as they grow
And when the leaves in summer-time their color dare not show
Then I will change the color too I wear in my caubeen
But till that day, please God, I’ll stick to the Wearin’ of’ the Green.

When will laws stop grass from growing? Never. When will summer-time leaves stop being green? Never. When will the narrator stop wearing shamrocks in his hat? Never. When will fear keep a good teammate from being loyal? Never.

Good teammates have an unwavering commitment to their team. They don’t jump ship when the seas get rough. They don’t quit when the demands are high. And they don’t let the opinions of outsiders scare them into diminished support for their team. Good teammates are all in.

An emphasis on individuality monopolizes our society. People are always trying to set themselves apart to the extent that uniformity is practically spurned. Good teammates value individuality, but they also embrace uniformity. Good teammates seek individual identity through team uniformity.

For all the negative talk surrounding the state of professional sports, the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS still value uniformity. All those organizations enforce strict rules for how players dress. They regulate everything from how uniforms are worn to the type of socks players can use. A big part of professional sports’ success is the pride taken in their product’s uniformity.

If professional athletes want to pursue individuality on the field or court, they must do so within the confines of the league’s rules for uniforms.

Good teammates take pride in practicing uniformity and in being part of their team. If you’re wearin’ the green today, wear it with pride. Embrace the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day with the fearless loyalty of a good teammate.

As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.

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