So I want to focus on what it means to be a true teammate and to be resilient. My inspiration for this piece stems from the ESPN Project 11 on Alex Smith. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend you check it out. For those of you that don’t know him, Alex Smith is an NFL quarterback that is under contract with the Washington Redskins. He was drafter first overall in 2005 by the San Francisco 49rs where he stayed until 2012, from there he was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs where he played until 2017 and then finally the Washington Redskins.

Now Smiths journey in and of itself might seem fairly normal, but there’s a lot more to his story than just moving from city to city. His first few seasons with the 49rs were rather mundane to say the least and people had started to refer to him as a bust. In 2011 the 49rs changed their coach and Smith was able to lead them to the playoffs for the first time since 2002. 2012 looked to be an equally good season until Smith sustained a concussion at which point his backup Colin Kaepernick surpassed him and became the starter even though he only missed one game. Smith could have very easily gotten upset about this, but instead he decided the team was more important and did everything he could from a backup role to help the team. When he was traded to the Chiefs he continued his excellent play and lead the team to multiple playoff births and was a three time pro-bowler. But despite his excellent play on the field, the Chiefs decided to draft Patrick Mahomes marking the end of Alex Smiths time in Kansas City. Again, Smith found himself on the outside looking in, he was still the starter but his time was done. He could have easily given up, sat back and given up on the season, instead though, he did everything he could for the Chiefs. He helped groom his rookie backup to take the reigns, he put together one of his best seasons to date, was a pro-bowler, and lead the Chiefs to the playoffs again. Despite his performance he was traded the next season to Washington where he signed a four year deal. During his first season with the Redskins he had the team at the top of their division and was going on a rampage in the league. That, is when things took a turn for the worse. In a game against the Texans, he had his leg broken, a compound break at age 33. There were talks of possibly needing to have his leg amputated, 2 years later we still aren’t entirely sure if he will ever return to football. But, Smith remains optimistic that he will be able to return to the game he loves and he has gone so far as to say that he should be thankful for all that has happened to him.

All this being said, there are several things we can take away from this story. First and foremost would be Smiths resiliency. Multiple injuries and a potentially career ending injury and Smith still smiles and believes he has a chance at coming back. There is also the resiliency to continue fighting and working for a team even though you have been replaced or know you will soon be replaced. That kind of sportsmanship and teamwork is hard to come by. The final key in this story is type of teammate Smith is. He took his replacement under his wing knowing full well that he was on his way out the door.

This sportsmanship and teamwork is vital for the success of a team. The question becomes which is more important, your own pride or the team success? I will say, that if you always give your all, even if you are on your way out, you will most likely end up in a better situation than if you just give up. Others will appreciate the effort and energy you put in and will look to you to be a leader.