Do You Have a True Team at Your Auto Body Shop?
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Do You Have a True Team at Your Auto Body Shop?

Are you proud of the team you’re on at work? Would you call it a team? Does it have chemistry?

I’ll never forget it. It was 1980, I was nine years old, and I had just settled into a deep sleep on a school night when my dad shook me awake.

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“You’re on the Red Sox, Jay,” he said. “The Boston Red Sox.”

I was so out of it that I wasn’t quite sure what I was hearing. Even so, I understood enough to feel a shock of excitement. I had signed up for my school’s softball program, and the teams all had the same names as the Major League teams. Even though the Cleveland Indians were my favorite team, it was still cool hearing that I was on the Boston Red Sox — as if the real Red Sox had scooted over on the bench to let this little kid into their dugout. Well, actually, it was the St. Raphael Red Sox, but still …

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We ended up being really good, 8-4, no thanks to me. I remember my shoe falling off as I was tearing down the first base line after weakly hitting the ball back to the pitcher. I can still hear the coach laughing as I went back to retrieve it instead of continuing to first base. I guess youth sports weren’t so serious back then. Our parents weren’t grooming us all to be pros. You could laugh at such a silly thing as a kid going back to get his shoe. The Bad News Bears comes to mind. Of course, I was out by a mile.

The medal I received from the 1980 St. Raphael Red Sox, who reminded me of the Bad News Bears.

But remembering the Red Sox made me think: Are you proud of the team you’re on at work? Would you call it a team? Does it have chemistry? Does everyone have each other’s backs? Do you have people who you can sub into different roles when someone goes down sick or injured? Can you come back after a bad day and vow to get better? If you didn’t answer yes to all those questions, you’re probably not a team yet. And that’s okay. It’s not easy to build a winning team. And there’s always room to improve.

I could go on about the 1980 Red Sox, including how I used to daydream at night about smashing the ball over the fence, circling the bases and getting mobbed at home plate by my teammates. It all happened in slow motion in my head, and I would play it over and over. I never came close to doing that, but we were one heck of a team.

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