On January 15, 1892, Triangle Magazine published an article titled “A New Game.” Written by a young physical education instructor from the Springfield School for Christian Workers (now Springfield College) named James Naismith, the article detailed the rules for a game the instructor had introduced to his students the previous month.

Sports enthusiasts will recognize the historical significance of this event as the first official publication of the original thirteen rules of basketball.

While there have been some alterations over the years, most of the game’s original rules still apply. I’ve always been intrigued by Naismith referring to his new game as “basket ball” (two words) in the Triangle article.

At some point, the words basket and ball were connected to form the single moniker that we now use: basketball. Who made the decision to connect the words?

I have a similar curiosity about the word teammate.

In both cases, the connecting of the words seems appropriate. The objective of the game is to connect the basket and the ball. The objective of those participating in the game is to connect themselves to their team—or at least it should be.

Good teammates buy in to their team’s culture. They don’t see their identity as being separate from their team’s. They see the identities as being one and the same and relish the opportunity to integrate themselves into the team.

This is why good teammates don’t have compliance issues. They adhere to team policies. They follow the proper procedures. They wear their uniforms the way they are supposed to be worn. Good teammates want to be connected to the team and are willing to sacrifice a portion of themselves for that happen.

The final pages of the Triangle issue containing Naismith’s “Basket Ball” article include a variety of advertisements for nineteenth century goods and services—bicycle repair, camera shops, gymnasium equipment, etc. Nestled among those advertisements is a message thanking the magazine’s subscribers.

The message reads as follows: “To those of you who have stood by us in our infancy and have aided us…we shall endeavor to give you the very best that can be procured.”

When you assess yourself as a teammate, do you feel that you endeavor to give your team the very best that you can procure? Good teammates do.

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

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

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