4 Ways to be a Loyal Teammate and Be Bigger Than Team Drama

Last Thursday I had a chance to FaceTime and talk on the phone with a team from Trussville, AL, CLEAtS ‘02. These girls were SO sweet. Prior to our conversation, I told them to think of 5-6 questions they wanted to ask me. They all asked great questions.  One of the questions was, “What was the biggest lesson I learned from playing college softball?” I had to think about this one for a few seconds. The first thing that came to my mind that I wanted to share with her was the concept of loyalty. I asked the young girl who asked the question, “Do you know what loyalty is?” And she replied back, “Yes.”

I told her the biggest thing I learned from college was how to be a loyal teammate and a loyal friend.

I told her it was very important to me to be a leader on my team and someone that my teammates and friends could go to. They could tell me things they were feeling, confide in me, and they could feel that whatever they told me was safe with me. I told her how important it was to be someone that her teammates could rely on and trust in. If you don’t have trust on a team, you don’t have anything. This is a quality that I still value very much in my every day life.

Amanda Scarborough I don’t know if it’s the Taurus in me or something I learned from my parents or previous coaches, but if you know me, you know I am loyal. I hold that quality very dear to my heart, and I think that it’s a quality that can dictate a lot of decisions that we make in our lives on and off the field.

I disliked drama from a young age. I didn’t and don’t like the feeling of being in the middle of things. To me, it’s negative energy. I don’t like to have negative energy surrounding my life, I feel like it pulls me down and it weighs on me. I remember middle school not being very fun years of my life. I wasn’t the most popular or prettiest and I didn’t have the most friends. Middle school is hard! I learned what it was like to have people be DISloyal to me, and I hated the way it made me feel…so that made a lasting impression on me. I never wanted someone to have to feel that same feeling because of something that I did them.

I like the feeling of smiling and laughing 1000 times more than I like the feeling of talking about someone behind their back.

Along the way I have learned…

  1. If someone confides in you, guard their secret.

It’s your duty as a friend that if someone chose you to tell something you, then they trust you.  It is your job you to care so much about that person that that secret stays with you. If a teammate confides in you, that means they see you as a leader. It’s important as a leader to understand the types of things you and your teammates can handle on your own, and the types of things that are the big issues that the coach should get involved with. To understand what to go to an adult about, think about if you feel like your friend, team or the mission of your team could be severely hurt because of what was told to you. (Important note: If there is a secret that a friend or teammate tells you that could be harmful to that person, it is important to tell an adult.)

  1. If someone is talking about someone else to you, don’t endorse it or repeat it.

The one thing about being on ANY team is that there WILL be teammates who talk about other teammates. So when that time comes, tell them you don’t want to hear it. Sometimes you may even have good friends who talks about other teammates, and it may be hard for you to tell them you don’t want to hear it or get involved, but if they don’t respect your decision for not wanting to hear it or talk about it, and they don’t really understand why, then that’s their problem. Whether you have the courage to stand up to your teammate to tell them not to talk about drama around you or not, don’t repeat what you hear. Don’t feed into the drama and into the gossip. Have the gossip stop with you. It might even get to a point where people stop gossiping to you…trust me, you want that! Stay far away from drama and the people who attract drama.  Remember, when you repeat that gossip to someone else, even if you aren’t saying that they are YOUR feelings, you are endorsing whatever is coming out of your mouth to someone else, thus making it what YOU are thinking and feeling.

  1. Always remember your own values.

To know your values, you must understand yourself and be comfortable with your own thoughts and feelings that you feel in your heart about the type of person you want to be. Close your eyes and think to the future. What do you want to be like? Think about what kind of friend you want to be known as and what kind of teammate you want to be viewed as. What do you see? If people who don’t understand those values, you’re better off without them. You will find those people who have the same values as you – those will be your forever friends. Sometimes, there might be only 1 or 2 of those friends and other people may have more friends than you. But who cares! I bet you will have way more fun with those 1 or 2 friends who hold the same values as you. Remember, you are never alone.

  1. Have your teammates back, respect each other.

Your teammates should feel like you have their back and they have yours. This does not mean you have to be best friends off the field and do everything together outside of the field. That’s not what I’m saying. Sometimes you might not even agree with everything your teammate does outside of the field, and you can’t control that. What you can control is how you respect each other on the field with everything else put aside.

When it comes game time, and you and your teammates go into that dugout, they should feel undoubtedly that you have their back. True competitors and athletes leave everything but their sport outside of the field. Once you step onto that field, it’s go-time, and you compete together for the same goal. Because believe me, when you are out on the field with the lights on in the middle of the big game and you look to the person to your right or left on the field or in the dugout, you want to think, “I got you” – and not just think it, but MEAN it.

ANYONE can be on a team, but NOT just anyone can be a loyal leader who people look to and who rises above all the negativity and drama.

Amanda Scarborough

Through all of this, remember to be loyal and remember the mission of your team. Every team has a mission, no matter what sport. That mission is to win championships. (any championship: tournament championship, league championship, conference championship, district, etc). Do you REALLY want to win? If you are a true competitor and have visions of being great, all of your decisions you make should be based off the mission of the team; any other decision could be considered selfish and detrimental to the mission of what the team is trying to accomplish.

Remind your teammates the mission of the team when things get tough. Remember that mission is bigger than one person. Drama brings attention to the one person who is starting it.   The mission of a team is bigger than drama, gossip or bullying. It’s never about just one person, it’s about the team. If everyone feels like they are on that mission together, united and loyal to each other, that is when that team will win championships. It all starts with being loyal. Be loyal in your every day life and to your teammates wearing the same uniform to accomplish big things on and off the field.

Amanda Scarborough

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Amanda Scarborough

Big 12 Freshman of the Year (2005)
Big 12 Player of the Year (2005)
Texas A&M Softball All American ('05 & '07)
Big 12 Pitcher of the Year (2007)
WCWS Appearances ('07 & '08)
Texas A&M Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee (2014)
ESPN Softball Analyst
The Packaged Deal co-founder

39 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Great blog Amanda! Like Kristi said above, parents need to do the same. I feel a lot of team drama is surfaced from parents.

  • Very good ! I coach at the collegiate level and also travel ball and you hit on the nose. It starts with the parents. teaching the right values and how to treat others.as the saying goes, treat those the way you want to be treated. again very good kiddo!

  • I love this. So much drama on my team. Even bullying. I will use this as a road map to start making changes. Thank you! Luv, Franki

  • Your website gave me a lot to think about. Our team is at a low point in our fall season. Many players off our team seem to be gossiping about each other and I want to say something but feel like it would just add more drama. What do you think I should do???

    • Definitely don’t give in to the gossiping. Maybe print off my article and call a team meeting. Discuss with your team about how important it is that you all have each other’s back and that means these following 4 things in this article. Talk about how it’s important that you all believe and trust each other because you want to accomplish big things in the spring or next summer or whenever you will be competing. This is the first glimpse of you being a leader, take this opportunity and run with it!!! It’s awesome you notice that it’s wrong and you want to say something— that’s the first step!

    • I agree but I am going to tell my coach and ask what he thinks about it and just get over it

      • On my team there is one girl and because I am the youngest she thinks that it is ok to boss me around. Do have any advice for me Amanda?

        • Just be you! Don’t worry about what she is saying to you!! She will most likely stop! Don’t let it get to you!

  • Very well said. My hat’s off to you. Seems to me that you managed to find all the right messages through the years and held on to them tightly. Those who love you should be very proud of you.

    • Thank you! Lucky to be surrounded by good influences all around me and lucky to be taught to pay attention to those teaching my lessons by my parents!

  • Amanda-

    You might just saved my season (our season). We have the most talent we’ve ever had (and we have persevered through tough times) coupled with the most favorable district and yet “team drama” has reared its ugly head and seeks to steal and devour our collective potential. After a big blow-up yesterday, I ran across your article on facebook. I just made 24 copies for my high school team. It will be mandatory reading. Cross your fingers (say a prayer) as I hope it impacts them the way it did me. It was spot on!! Grateful, Coach E

  • Love this article. I’m a coach of a girls 14U fastpitch softball team. I will be making copies of your article and handing them out to each player at the next practice.
    Thank you for sharing.

  • Thank you. My daughter is a loyal, loving, caring person who is on a team with lots of drama and disloyalty. We were just discussing last night how to stay positive and lift people up instead of dragging them down like so many of her teammates do. I will share this blog with her.

  • This needs to be read by every COACH with any sport! Winning is not the most important aspect of team sports! Great words! Thank you!

    • I agree because my daughters team has a bad coach who is a control freak and loves to scream bad words at his daughter. No one and I mean no one can be better than his daughter because he thinks she is so good but she really a isn’t so maybe I will bring this to the attention of the team and not the coach because they are all great kids and the oldest and youngest kids are the most drama free

  • A parent of ine if my athletes shared this article. And it fits, her daughter is a multi-sport athlete including softball. I however, am her bowling coach, and these are the exact things I am trying to instill in my players. Only four years in as a coach (let alone that I am the varsity (and only) coach for the ladies and I see it improving year by year. Thought that there was an element this year that kept us from reaching our full potential and it fell within the purview of this article. Still had the program’s best season ever, but it might have ended as a state champion instead of a quarterfinalist and #5 ranking. Thanks for the sharing your thoughts and allowing me to pass them on.

  • Loved this Article, it was as if it was written by me, being a Taurus and Loyal to the end. Some of these things are hard to instill in players when the coach themselves are encouraging the girls to tell them everything that the players are saying. If a player is venting in the dug out and says something, it shouldn’t be taken out of context, because you don’t know why that player is saying what they are saying. If it does so happens that you do know why they are saying it, then instead of being a busy body and running to the coach, be the first one to tell that player “you shouldn’t feel that way because ….” but when you have girls running to the coach and telling them everything, it creates animosity, jealousy, disloyal and tension among the players! It doesn’t always start with the parents!

  • Great article, printing it off for my girls to read and put into practice. It’s very important to share with today’s younger generation.

  • My daughter is 12 and has played for her team for two years. She does not like drama not into boys and is a quiet girl. She would rather not be with the girls when they are not on the field. However on the field she is all about her team, she is a very good softball player. This year the cut her from the team saying it was because she did not fit in with the girls off the field. Now a girl that thought everything was softball a girl with so much love for the, has no desire to play the game anymore. Is she wrong for not being with the girls off the field? Will she ever be able to find the love for the game?

    • Hi Cindi, Not every girl will hang out all the time with teammates off the field, but off the field camaraderie is a big part of being on the team. You do not have to be best friends with everyone that you play with, but there is something about being able to bond with your teammates off the field for the betterment of the team. I don’t know if I agree that that’s a reason to CUT someone off of the team, but I will say in my past experience the few people I have played with on a team that did not do ANYTHING with the team outside of the field ended up not playing softball and they ended up quitting.

  • Mam, this was so wonderful! Such and perfect writing! I’m going to share it with all of our girls!!

    We teach and hopefully model the same things!!

  • What a great article and your advice is so right on in so many different situations today. I love that fact that you are encouraging loyality to these readers and you don’t have to get caught up in that tangled web. I so agree that what someone does off the field is left there and once you are on the field, you are ONE and that provides more of the sportsmanship that I love to see encouraged to all players. In my 39 years of working with the young ladies of softball in my area, I believe this is the right path to always take. Thank you for reminding us all again of how important it is to be a loyal person. You are an inspiration. If you can help just one person in this road of life, then you have accomplished your goal for sure. Keep up the good work.

  • Thank you so much for your words of wisdom. My daughter gave up playing for her hs team her senior year because of all the back stabbing and gossiping that went on. She is much happier having walked away from all of that with her head held high. She will continue playing travel ball this summer and he’s to play at Edinboro U in the fall. Here’s to brighter days ahead!

  • Great stuff Amanda ,I put this out to my team who are having trouble with this very issue hoping that they understand after reading this ,thank for a great article.

  • I love this and needed to hear it! Thank you. Having a hard time with this on the 12U travel team I coach. I’m ready to give up coaching even though it is something I love to do and something my daughter continues to beg me to do.

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