Team building is a collective term for different kinds of activities that aim to strengthen social relationships and define roles between teams. Normally, it is done once or twice a year to provide an avenue for teammates to resolve certain issues or to simply enjoy each other’s company. This year’s team building activity made me anxious for several reasons. First, it was repeatedly postponed to the point where I was worried if it would actually happen. Second, it was very weird to attend a team building activity without a senior. In other words, no one had enough experience and maturity to handle breakdowns, “heat of the moment” arguments and the like. Third, I was itching to get my hands on the Nike Kobe Mentality 2’s that were issued by the University. Lastly, I had a feeling that I would never get my fair share of sleep if there was a Karaoke in the venue-I was right, and Carlo spent the whole night screaming his lungs out.
After a long and grueling trip, we finally arrived at a private resort in Malagos. It was a large forest resort with a pool and a nice function hall. The first thing that caught my attention was the huge dome which was very similar to the structure built inside People’s Park. After our arrival, both teams decided to stay inside the function hall. Some of my teammates quickly mingled around and played a few games while few others opted to study and drown themselves with mathematical formulas or accounting exercises. I observed that people under the same course/cluster were seated together in order to share ideas and help each other. In other words, the subgroups within the team started to become evident. After an hour or so, both teams had dinner. This time, individuals who had common interests stayed in the same table. The function hall was filled with joy and laughter as we ate dinner.
Dinner was over but we were instructed to stay in the hall for the motivational talk prepared by Mr. Mark Samante. He was the former grade school sports officer of the Ateneo de Davao University. He started the talk by instructing us to give a short introduction by comparing ourselves to different animals. Some gave hilarious answers while the others presented well thought of comparisons. The body of his speech revolved around the three C’s that an Atenean athlete should embody- Commitment, Compassion, and Character. He was a very good speaker and was even better at synthesizing his concepts. The talk gave us a good laugh and some needed realizations. Overall, I realized that being an Atenean athlete gave us the responsibility to continue the culture that flourished long before our inclusion in the varsity roster. After the talk, I decided to go to my assigned room and rest.
On the second day, I woke up late and rushed downstairs to eat breakfast. After that, Sir Mark Paul Samante was already preparing to give another talk. This time, the discussion was about certain symbols that are found in the emblem of the university. I found the talk relevant because as a team without a clear identity, we can think of symbols that would best represent us as Atenean student-athletes. At the same time, we can think of certain symbols and metaphors that would give us an idea of what we want to become. After the talk, we were instructed to create our own coat of arms with the help our respective coaches. Our teamwork was tested in this activity as we tried to balance our interests to come up with more diverse ideas. It was fulfilling to see my teammates contribute various details to the coat of arms. At the end of the activity, I can proudly say that our emblem was arguably the best among the three participating teams.
After lunch, we were cleared to do anything and we decided to take some team pictures and play volleyball in the pool. I observed that instead of staying with their subgroups, the whole team stayed together. It was refreshing to see our coaches relax and enjoy the place. Towards the end of the team building activity, I was able to realize a few more things. While playing with my teammates, Coach Kirk continued to provide various twists in order to make the game harder (pool handling). I realized that even in vacation mode, our coaches still aim to enhance the abilities that we have and try to squeeze as much competitiveness as possible in whatever we do. This mentality helps us develop a competitive drive that we would be able to use wherever we go. Lastly, I realized that even if we have a lot different personalities within the team, we could harness those differences to develop a diverse environment in which everyone could grow. In the end, the team building activity was a big success. It made us appreciate our peers and forget the negative thoughts that we had before going to the venue.
By: Leo Lasola