I love football! Period, enough said. Football is the type of sport where there is no in between – you either love it or you hate it. 22 men on the field with 11 men on offense and the other 11 on defense. They collide for 60 minutes in collisions that rival train wrecks and accidents. I appreciate the modern day carnage on the field that harkens back to the Coliseum in Rome where gladiators lined up to stake their claim as being the best and the most dominant in the arena. SPARTACUS!!!

One moment in football can change your life! One play can shake the confidence of winning and domination into a team while simultaneously placing the fear of God into the other. Some teams have that god-like, elite confidence and they cannot be stopped. In football, defence always trumps offence. The saying goes that offence wins games, but defence wins championships.

I am a Philadelphia Eagles fan! I have been since I knew what football was. I can remember my oldest brother Langston (nicknamed Lanky) playing with Kevin, Warren, Nonnie, Jason Cole, Jason Nichols and others. One day I was watching them play their version of football. I think we called it airball or freefall which meant the ball was free for all, but I’m not sure. It was where the person who had just scored the ball – ok, imagine this. You know how at a wedding when the bride is about to throw the bouquet and all the women who aren’t married (or they are but they want another one) line up to catch the bouquet – now imagine the woman who catches it is immediately mobbed by the women who wanted the bouquet and now has to get to the area where the bride was standing in order to score. Then, the woman who previously caught the bouquet and scored, would turn her back to the remaining women and throw the bouquet back into the crowd – that’s the game. Now switch gals to guys and bouquets to footballs and you have the game! No one lost and no one won and no one cared because everyone had a chance to play the game, catch the ball, run and score.

One day, my brother Lanky sees me on the porch in front of our house watching them play football in front of the Betts’ house to doors away. He calls me off the porch and tells Kevin to throw the ball. Kevin threw the ball really high in the air and Lanky tells everyone to step back. He catches the ball and turns to me. He places the ball in my arms and tells me to hold it tight to my chest. Then he says, “Follow me, Ant!” For the record, that is HIS nickname for me! I don’t want to hear it out on my speaking tours! 🙂 I hate that nickname when anyone else but Lanky says it!

Anyway, back to my memory. Lanky tells me to run to Kevin. Kevin is calling me. Here’s the problem and my dilemma: I have been watching Lanky and his friends play this game and I know how this works now -the person who gets the ball is the person who gets hit! I am not about to be sandwiched and smashed by all of these giants who are 3 to 5 years older than me!
Lanky tells me to run to Kevin, and I have to make a choice. I can run into this bastion of giants who would certainly kill me or I could drop the ball which would disappoint my big brother. So I have to run but I can’t drop the ball! So I made the only logical choice I could make – I decided that I would hold onto the football but RUN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION! I take off running the other way WITH the ball. Lanky catches me… the story goes on. You had to be there. I’m not a punk! Lol
Today, we will speak of another C.O.P.

Team Sabotage. Regardless of your definition of team, you and everyone else working alongside you to accomplish a certain goal is called a team. Team sabotage is when any member of the team begins voicing thoughts or frustrations that are divisive to the purpose of the team. That can include lies or rumors about other team members. The purpose of the team is to accomplish a goal. If the goal cannot be met because of personal feelings that keep leaking out and onto the stage of Purpose, that is Team Sabotage and Destiny cannot be encountered and obtained where there is Team Sabotage.

I began today by talking about the Philadelphia Eagles of which I am a die-hard fan! Several years ago, we had a phenomenal team that had been to the NFC championship 4 years in a row. We are not as infamous as the Buffalo Bills who got to the Superbowl and lost 4 times in a row but we were close to that. One of those years we had one of the most dominant wide receivers ever. His name was Terrell Owens. We also had a phenomenal quarterback whose name was Donovan McNabb. As far as talent goes, our team could match up with anyone. Eagles fans across the globe were ecstatic about our chances to win a Superbowl!

Enter team sabotage. Players begin running their mouth before and after games about not getting the ball enough, offence and defence blaming the other for obvious blunders and failures, sources leaking information about drama within the team and leadership not being strong enough to handle team conflicts internally led to yet another disappointing season. Although we went to the Super Bowl, we lost again and were subjected to every horrible Dallas Cowboy, New York Giant and Washington Redskin fan teasing us for still being the only team within our division to have never won a Superbowl!

At times, we had a phenomenal defence in the eighties and nineties led by Reggie White, Clyde Simmons, Jerome Brown, Marcus Allen and others. We’ve had great offences led by Randall Cunningham, Keith Byars, Herschel Walker, Donovan McNabb, DeSean Jackson, Terrell Owens, Brian Westbrook and others. But greatness must work together to accomplish goals.
I struggled this week with how to write this because Team Sabotage is so deadly and I have seen it in so many painful ways that several people and organizations will assume I am speaking of them. I AM. Deal with it.

Team Sabotage can be birthed by lying, insecure leaders. But once out, it cannot be controlled by management or leadership. It must be dealt with internally by every individual team member every day. Team members don’t need to be friends or family but they do need to be respectful. So let us not fall into the trap of Team sabotage. It is a C.O.P. It is a Casualty Of Purpose.
Every failed plan can be traced back to some form of Team Sabotage. So let us keep our personal opinions to ourselves and if we do have a problem with each other, let us deal with it one on one. I will never accuse someone of something without asking them first AFTER getting proof of any infraction. Innocent until proven guilty is the model of our society and I take that very seriously.

Team Sabotage – a C.O.P. – a Casualty Of Purpose – a virus that slowly takes over a team one individual at a time but eventually destroys the plans and goals of the entire team.
Because of a need to be transparent let me say this. I have been built up in my face and torn down behind my back. In the last few years, Team Sabotage is something I have experienced enough victimization in to be a certified specialist. It’s painful to be pushed aside because someone you mentored lied on you. It’s difficult to watch someone make you a promise and then stab you in the back. It hurts to hear people tell you what they can’t do one day, and then the next day do that and a whole lot more. It is a horrible feeling when people you trust go behind your back and talk negatively to your friends just to make sure your friends are more loyal to them than you. I’m sad just remembering what I’ve grown through and lost…..

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