I am not a team player

I think I cooperate and collaborate well, but I’m not good at being on The Team. Coaches and Team Leaders tell us, “Come on! We can accomplish so much more if we work together as a Team. We gotta pull together!” Once a Team is formed, one of the first orders of business is to choose a “team captain” who tells the rest of the Team what to do. They tend to have the greatest appreciation for the need for “teamwork.” This is exactly the kind of thinking that makes me a poor team player.

Team JacketBut I love to play the game. Hated Little League…loved playing Indian Ball in the field in front of our house. Hated varsity basketball…loved pick-up games at the park. We had teams but they were temporary. We’d play a couple of games and then switch up sides. If the game was too one-sided, we’d adjust the teams to get a closer game. It was about having a good game, see? Not which team won.

Religion has teams (Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, etc.) and leagues (Christians; Jews; Muslims; etc.). If you are “on” a team, it’s okay to hate –and sometimes kill– members of the other team. Usually God (yours, not theirs) says it’s okay to do this. Sometimes you even have to die for your team.

There are only two teams in the game of politics: Republicans and Democrats. If you want to play, you have to be on one of those teams. Recently, politics has gotten all mixed up with religion. The star player for the Republican team is a dim-witted good old boy with a rich daddy, but very religious. If you believe the polls, almost nobody –including the folks on his own team– thinks this guy is doing a good job. If the other team (in this case, the Democrats) wasn’t waiting in the dugout to say “we told you so,” most people on the Republican team would send W and his pals back to Texas where he couldn’t do much harm.

The United States Congress is hopelessly fucked up and it’s all because of the teams. Is there even anything in our constitution about Republicans and Democrats? I don’t think so. So here’s what I’d do. At the beginning of every session of congress, we divide up into two groups, by random drawing. Instead of parties or teams, we’ll call one group the Chipmunks and the other the Ground Squirrels (so they won’t take themselves so seriously). If you get reelected and come back next year, you might be in the other group so there’s no point in fucking them over this year. Since we’re reshuffling the deck every year and you don’t have any permanent “team members,” it becomes more about the game than the teams.

All of which explains why I was always chosen last.

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