Cheers to Belonging
I was watching a rerun of the old TV series "Cheers" the other night and a line in the theme song struck a chord with me. Cheers was a fictional Boston neighborhood pub run by former Red Sox reliever Sam Malone. The line in the theme song that caught my attention was "you want to go where everybody knows your name and they're always glad you came".
That got me thinking about our human need to belong. Man is a social animal and as such needs to interact with one another. We do this in a number of ways - in families, with friends, at work, and in clubs and organizations. At the core of all of these is our innate need to belong to something, frequently something with a purpose beyond just our own personal one.
An example of this that I see so often in the work I do with my sports photography is the team. Whether it is at the youth level, high school, or club team - everyone on a team wants to feel they belong. You often hear about how important team chemistry is to the success of a team. I think the chemistry is best when everyone feels they belong to the team and has an important role on that team, i.e. they feel important to the success of the team. If they feel left out or marginal, they lose motivation to contribute and may resent others on the team. This is the sure way to poison the team. The best coaches and team captains do their best to make sure everyone on the team feels they belong and are important to the team.
So, if you are on a team (or in any social group, actually) make the others feel like "you're always glad they came".