Team dynamics evoke mixed feelings from athletes

The+varsity+football+team%2C+one+of+the+many+sports+teams+at+Carlmont%2C+huddles+before+the+start+of+an+away+game.+

Ujala Chauhan

The varsity football team, one of the many sports teams at Carlmont, huddles before the start of an away game.

One.

One toxic environment is all it takes to ruin your love for the game. One team is all it takes ignite a passion for a sport. One athlete is all it takes to tell a story.

Studies done by Southern Illinois University show that encouraging friendships amongst members of a sports team not only betters the athletes’ experiences of being on the team but increases the team’s success as well. 

A good team dynamic helps keep the team in order and creates a safe environment for athletes to compete in, improving results and keeping players motivated. As such, the sports teams at Carlmont work hard to see it displayed.

“I think having a good team dynamic benefits and helps our teammates work more effectively together and at meets,” Nathan Lorilla, a sophomore on the cross country team, said. “I think [our] team has a good team dynamic.”

Many teams hold team bonding events outside of school or practice to encourage members of the team to get to know each other better and create relationships within the team. These can include activities such as a small potluck at a team member’s house, going out to dinner together, or even just a trip to the movies as a team.

Such gatherings help the players create friendships by providing them time to bond with one another and find common interests. 

The varsity cheer team, one of the many sports teams at Carlmont, lines up in preparation to start cheering at a football game away. (Ujala Chauhan)

Former track and field athlete and Carlmont alumni William Castro-Ramirez agrees with Lorilla’s views.

“In general, I would say that [the track and field team’s] dynamic was pretty strong,” Castro-Ramirez said. “We didn’t have any formal bonding events but […] the team would get pretty close with one another, during practice and would often meet together outside of practice.”

This is not the case for all athletes and teams at Carlmont, though.

Senior Cassidy Manchester* played on the volleyball team for three years before quitting her final year of high school. She claims the environment on the team was horrible.

“[The volleyball team] was toxic and everyone felt entitled to more playing time, so it was really competitive and annoying because teammates would want you to fail rather than succeed,” Manchester said.

[The volleyball team] was toxic and everyone felt entitled to more playing time, so it was really competitive and annoying because teammates would want you to fail rather than succeed.”

— Cassidy Manchester

Unlike the track and field team, the volleyball team didn’t hold any bonding events, formal or otherwise, according to Manchester.

Such an atmosphere ruins an athlete’s love for the game and hurts the team as a whole. Players like Manchester can attest to such. She claims the circumstances created a rift in the team and made it so that none of the athletes on the team were very invested in the team’s success.

“[The team] was really cliquey because there were some people who wanted to cause problems, so they grouped off and didn’t associate with the others,” Manchester said.

The lack of team activities led to few friendships amongst the group and a weak team bond. 

“Everyone was just waiting for [the season] to end so they could do their own thing afterward,” Manchester said.

While some sports teams at Carlmont have succeeded in creating an ideal team dynamic, others have yet to catch on. 

“The school season definitely had its own good and bad aspects,” Manchester said.

*This name was changed by the author to ensure anonymity for the source that was interviewed due to fear of physical or emotional harm, in accordance with Carlmont Media’s anonymous sourcing policy.