Diving…because what else would I talk about?

I was sort of at a loss about what to write this blog post on for a while.  I am a very structured person; I like rules and directions (probably the reason that I am an accounting major going into audit, lots of rules there).  Seeing Michaela write about exploring veganism reminded me just how much freedom I had with this post.  Thinking back to what I have been doing and what I have been thinking about the past few weeks, my thoughts kept going back to one subject: diving.  I am on the varsity diving team at Bucknell, which is part of the larger Swimming and Diving team.  Spending somewhere 18 hours a week practicing tends to ensure that diving is on my mind more often than not.  This past weekend, we competed at the Patriot League Swimming and Diving Championships, which was so much fun, as it is every year.

While swimming and diving both are individual sports, we all train and compete as one team.  We all have individual goals and things that we want to achieve, but we are also worried about the team’s success and want to help contribute to our team goals.  For all sports, there is usually some sort of long-term goal that athletes are working towards, usually a championship meet or competition.  The Bucknell Swim and Dive team participates in two championship meets, Patriot League Championships and the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships.  One of our team goals each year is to bring home a trophy at both of these meets.  This past weekend, the Bucknell women’s team placed 2nd at Patriots, which was a great success for the team and something that I am very proud of.

I definitely have my own individual goals and achieving those feels amazing, but seeing the team reach a common goal is always something special.  If people had been overly focused on their individual goals, we may have not had as much success as we did as a team.  The energy of the team is always very different at championships because everyone is just so excited to see what we can achieve as a team.  People cheer more, work harder, and do anything they can to boost team morale.  Athletes know how hard they have worked all season and are excited to watch it pay off.  Anyone who has been on a sports team can attest to this fact.  The swimming and diving season is particularly long, starting practice in August and finally ending a grueling six months of training at the end of February.  I think this makes championships that much more exciting for us because we have been building up to it for so long.

While the topic of diving does not really fit into our class about Business, Government and Society, the idea of short-term vs. long-term goals is definitely relevant to many of the ideas that Lynn Stout addresses in her book, “The Shareholder Value Myth,” and can also be applied to businesses in general.  Stout argues that short-term and long-term investors have very different goals, and how focusing on short-term goals can be very harmful to the business in the long run.   Cutting corners to achieve short-term goals only has negative affects on the business in the long run.  Businesses themselves are made of a group of people, employees, coming together to work towards a common goal, the overall success of the business.   If an employee is too focused on their short-term goals and their own career, the business as a whole can suffer.  This is absolutely true for teams.  A team member too focused on a short-term goal has the ability to harm the long-term success of a team.  Only by truly working together to achieve a long-term goal can a team, or a business, reach its true potential.


11 thoughts on “Diving…because what else would I talk about?

  1. After class a couple of us were saying we were surprised you said something to the effect that diving was not athletic? Or something like that? We didn’t think so.

  2. I’m guessing my comment came across wrong. Diving is not a very physically taxing sport, meaning that I am never really tired after a diving practice in the same way that I would be from a swim practice or running a few miles. Sure, it takes muscle and some athletic ability to be able to control your body, but it is definitely not a workout in the way that other sports are. Diving is just more of a mental sport.

  3. I really like that you wrote about diving! I think it’s fun to see what everyone writes about when we’re not given much direction. It shows our personalities and interests.
    I think this short-term and long-term goal idea can be applied to so many different things. It works great when you write about your team. It also really makes sense in a business, where you will always have your own short term goals but if you forget about the larger company goals, things could fall apart. This is definitely something that can be applied in everyone’s life – with school, work, relationships, and more.

  4. Tara you are an amazing diver and an amazing teammate and an amazing panera buddy. Congratulations on a very #ray moment and team love. Xoxo, Mariele y Rachel

  5. Tara,
    I can completely relate to your article about diving. Being a hockey player myself, I have experienced many competitive situations that influence team members to work as hard as possible. The part of your blog entry that seemed very familiar to me was the individual vs. team goals. It is so easy for someone to get caught up in their individual statistics that they forget about the overall team! It was great hearing about your Patriot League Championship experience and I’m glad to see that the swim team overcame the tendency to focus on individual achievement, and instead, chose to focus on the group as a whole.

  6. I can feel your post related to our skit weeks before. I think being a team player is essential not only in athletic teams, but also in companies. If all the members of a start-up, which is usually with team less than 10 people, only consider how to sucess their own career paths, I believe that such firms could never walk too fat away. Most great start-ups are assembled with people shared same values and would like to work hard on the same target. I am glad to see that most players are more focus on team profits instead of their owns. And I believe that will make our sports team grow faster and stronger overall.

  7. I thought it was interesting how you talked about importance of focusing on the long-term goals as a team rather than the short-term goals of the individuals. I completely agree with what you said and have even seen first hand how players who focus on short-term goals and individual stats can tear apart a team. I also have felt your struggle with the time commitment that college sports require. Congrats on the PLC!!!

  8. Congratulations!

    I was curious about one comment you made. You say that on your team, if people overly focus on their individual goals, it can affect the team success. Why? In your sport, it seems like the team will do best when each individual is utterly self-focused. Does you getting the best score you can somehow negatively effect your teammates? How so? Can you explain this more?

    • Thank you! I would say that a lot of times, individuals achieving their own goals can help the team succeed, but there are times when I believe that it can hurt the team. For instance, to qualify for NCAA Diving Zones, the qualifying score is 265 on 1-meter and 285 on 3-meter. If an individuals’ goal was to make it to Zones, they may lose sight of the team in the process. To get a score like 265, all of your dives (we compete 6 dives for each event) need to be good. If you have one bad dive, this person may realize that they won’t get the score to make it to Zones and basically give up on the rest of the event and stop caring how they do. If this person had realized how important their performance was to the team and the team’s success, they would continue to try their hardest throughout the rest of the event because even if they do not achieve their personal goal of making their Zone score, they would be earning more points for the team than if they gave up. It is scenarios like these that I believe that individuals too focused on their own goals can harm the team as a whole. Does this make sense? It may be easier to explain in person.

      • So, what you mean is that the individual should still try hard even if they miss an early dive as their total score still matters.

        That’s relevant, but different than in like basketball where a player could have high point totals, but doing so might lead to fewer passes, or more missed shots, or other factors that hurt the team even while individual metrics are up.

    • On a similar note, cheering for teammates always helps to make people more excited to compete. If people were too caught up in their own event to cheer on their teammates, their teammates may suffer. I know that when I am standing on the diving board and I hear “Let’s go Tara!” “You got this!” “GO TARA!” coming from all around me, I feel much more confident about my dive. It makes me feel like I have the support of my team and gives me more motivation to nail my dives.

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