What’s Best about the Team

Greg Nelson/SI
Greg Nelson/SI

Being a native San Antonian, I’m pretty excited to see our San Antonio Spurs win their fifth NBA title in fifteen years. Among the multiple accolades and records broken by the core members of this team – Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and coach Gregg Popovich – what impresses me most has less to do with their skill and more to do the longevity of their relationship. For his entire career as a head coach, Popovich has not led any other team. Duncan, Parker and Ginobili have spent their entire NBA careers with one team. There’s something to be said for pursuing something significant over a long period of time in the context of a tight community.

I know a group of friends who, for the last twenty years or so, have had the opportunity to create something pretty significant. They will tell you that they have had the rare privilege of getting up every morning to do what they love to do. As infrequent as that may be, we do hear people talk of loving their work and most people envy them from a distance. But there is something else they will tell you; a second component to how they have spent the last two decades that is often overlooked.

They’ll tell you that they not only got to do the work they love, they also got to do it with people they like. If the former is rare, the latter is rarer still. It reveals a gap in my own life that I will never be able to fill.

These friends have known each other since they were in their 20’s. They shared a common dream of creating something that did not previously exist. The vision they shared was in the context of their friendship. Some of them met when they were in their adolescence. Others came along a bit later. But, they clearly spent time with one another, challenging one another’s dreams, inspiring each other to reach farther than they imagined their abilities allowed.

It occurs to me that there is not one friendship I enjoy currently that began when I was young. No one that I knew in my younger days remains in my life as an active friend today. What would life be like today had those of us who knew each other back then remained connected to one another’s life today?

I wonder what the trajectory of my life would look like had I remained connected to Randy or Matt or Doug or Ken. Would we have banded together to pursue our dreams together and today, some 20-plus years later, be reflecting on what had been accomplished?

It will always be a rare thing to say you wake up every morning to the work you love. But, it will always be rarer still to say you get to do that with lifelong friends.

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