I was raising with rage in the lunch hour that day. I didn’t want to speak to anybody as it was an insult to me that I didn’t get selected as the captain of the football team. My best friend Samuel was chosen as the captain of the team. I was too angry at my sports teacher as I felt I deserved to be captain. Besides, this year we also had too many interesting school competitions and I’d prepared enough to be the captain.
Samuel was jumping with joy and my classmates were congratulating him. I was lost in my own internal battles that were running in my mind, “How can you be jealous of your own best friend? You’re a cheap headed guy, Johnny! No! I’m not jealous of him. It’s just that I’m sad because I feel I deserved the post….” and so on. As depicted in ‘3 Idiots’ movie, I was actually wondering what was the reason behind my sorrow? me not getting selected as the captain or my best friend getting selected as the captain?
Anyways, I concluded that I was sad and ordered a Coke. Samuel came to me and told how happy he was to be selected as the captain of the team! I gave a subtle smile and told, “Congrats buddy!”
We guys, likewise girls, can never admit we are jealous!
Days moved on and we started practicing for the inter school competitions. Samuel was training pretty well, He was a defender while I was an attacker. Although I always used to think that I can train the team better than him. I was too intolerant towards him.
The moment he said anything like, “Johnny, that’s not how you do it. You need to pass the ball often and not just run pass defenders…” and so on, I would tell him, “Sam, I know how to play it. Just because you’re the captain doesn’t mean you’re the best at it after all our position in the pitch isn’t the same so why not focus on your game and let me focus on mine. I can do it. We are a team. Don’t guide me so much”. I could notice that my other team mates didn’t like this kind of behavior from me. I was least bothered about it anyways.
Soon the date of inter school competition was announced. The sports teacher asked us to start our final practice and told that we’ve got to make it to the finals this time. My class was always knocked out at the knock-out stage. Samuel had taken this way too seriously and he motivated all of us to give our best. But then, he knew deep inside that I wouldn’t consent to everything he says. He didn’t treat me badly either. All he would do was to gently tell me, “Hey, I know you’re a great player. But please follow whatever I tell … it is in the interests of the entire team”. I would nod my head unwillingly. Every time we played, I never co-ordinated with him well. If he told me not to dribble too much and pass instead of dribbling as it would be considered selfish, I still would do it telling, “I’ve more experience than what you have. I know how to play this game”. My team mates told me what I was doing was wrong. They advised me to follow his commands and strategies as he would be drawing all of them in the best interests of the team members.
I was adamant.
I told them, “All of you can follow the commands of your captain. I’m better experienced than all of you, I’ll handle it myself”.
The most waited date had finally arrived. We all were all set to play and win the championship level by level till we reach the finals. In the first match, as usual, Samuel guided us with some tricks. I was too intolerant towards him even then. I don’t know why he felt that I was the right person to lead the attack. I went. I started playing by applying my own skills. I didn’t follow any guidelines that was given to me by captain. I was too stubborn on proving that he was the WRONG captain. My tricks didn’t work in my favour. I lost the first match and I didn’t score a goal.
Samuel had soon realized something. He just ran to my sports teacher. I thought he’ll definitely complain about me telling I didn’t follow his guidelines. After 5 minutes, my sports teacher called me. I went to him fearing that I’m fired from the team. But what happened next shocked me! He told me, “Johnny, your captain Samuel wants you to be the captain from now on. He says he’s not capable of handling your team. So you are the captain from now on. Go take charge of your team and boost your team’s spirit”. I didn’t know how to react!
I felt so stupid about myself. I was too jealous of him and was unwelcoming towards all his efforts and there he was who was ready to give up his captain post because he wanted the team to win.
It was a realization moment for me.
I went to Samuel and before I could speak anything, he told me, “Hey! Congrats pal! You’re now the new captain. Forget whatever happened Johnny. It’s fine. You don’t even have to be sorry. I’m your best friend and I’m proud that you are the captain of our team. Go on! It’s time to show our team spirit!” I didn’t have too much to speak. I just told him, “I’m sorry Sam. I was jealous of you. I’ve learnt my lesson. Thank you.”
Later, I told all my team members about my behavior and apologized to everyone. I told them that captain post is just for formality sake. All of us were equally talented. We made plans together as a team and executed them. We won that tournament and I was the highest goal scorer while Samuel won the best Defender of the tournament with the same energy levels we also made it to the Group stage, to Knock-out stage, and finally the finals too! I became indifferent towards the concept of captain post and saw it more like a mere formality. I knew that a team can succeed when there’s cooperation and team spirit. I know that it was not me, but our team spirit that led us till the finals.
I took home an important lesson that day.