The two most anticipated days in a child’s life are usually Christmas and that child’s birthday. Unfortunately for some children, those two occasions happen to occur at the same time.

I was born a “Christmas baby” and can personally attest to the frustration of having to share your birthday with a major holiday.

Receiving a Christmas/birthday gift from a relative or having my birthday present wrapped in Christmas paper always left me feeling slighted. As did never being able to bring cupcakes to school to celebrate with my classmates or have sleepovers on my actual birth date.

When I got older, I came to understand why Christmas birthdays are challenging for families. Finances are tighter, time is more finite, and logistics are a nightmare.  Christmas birthdays amplify the stress of the holiday season.

But just because I understood the issue, didn’t mean I stopped feeling slighted. One day my girlfriend—who eventually became my wife—suggested that I compensate for being “cheated” by picking an alternative date to celebrate what she called “Lance Day.”

Her suggestion seemed like a good idea, so I picked July 22 for my day. No other holiday fell on that date and it was spaced far enough away from Christmas to provide reprieve. The numerical date (7/22) also coincided with my high school football number (7) and my high school basketball number (22), which made it easy to remember.

I enjoyed celebrating “Lance Day” over the years. But the more I immersed myself into the art of being a good teammate, the less happy I became about the occasion’s premise. I grew to want the date to be associated with something bigger than myself.

Last year, I successfully submitted for July 22 to be officially recognized as National Be a Good Teammate Day.

Good teammates make being part of the team worthwhile. They help us when we’re struggling, congratulate us when we’re succeeding, and encourage us while we’re striving. National Be a Good Teammate Day recognizes the sacrifices, kindness, and generosity of these selfless individuals.

Whether it’s sports, family, community, school, or work, everybody is part of a team. Use this date to show your appreciation to those willing to put the needs of their “team” ahead of themselves.

How to Observe:

On National Be a Good Teammate Day, make an extra effort to express your gratitude to team members who go above and beyond the call of duty. Honor their contributions to the team with a boisterous “Thank you!” or a well-deserved high five or hug.

Here are some additional ways to celebrate:

  • Make an unsolicited good teammate move (i.e., a selfless act of kindness) for someone on your team
  • Take a teammate to lunch
  • Gift a teammate a copy of The WE Gear
  • Write a handwritten note letting a teammate know what specifically you appreciate about them
  • Reconnect with a former teammate and reminisce about fun times of the past
  • Share a photo of you and a teammate on social media and use the hashtag #NationalBeAGoodTeammateDay

One final note…

If you are the type of teammate whose selflessness and kindness goes unrecognized, reward yourself on July 22nd with a slice of victory cake. You’ve earned it!

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

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Lance Loya is the founder and CEO of the Good Teammate Factory. He is a former sports coach turned bestselling author, blogger, and professional speaker, who inspires TEAMBUSTERS to become TEAMMATES. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or through his weekly Teammate Tuesday blog.

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