I felt a little guilty last week. I went away and took some time for myself. I had a good excuse, I turned 50, and though I shouldn’t need an excuse to take some “me” time (everyone needs to “refill their cup” from time to time), my birthday did make it easier to spoil myself.

So I went to Utah. I hiked five to seven miles every morning in Snow Canyon Park, practiced yoga, did rehab on my shoulder and wrist, read, wrote and relaxed. One day I even tried water aerobics (good for my shoulder), and the crazy thing was that by the end of the class, though I was smiling, I felt a deep sadness. You might be thinking, “well you did just turn 50,” but that wasn’t it. The water aerobics class made me miss coaching.

Kind of an odd connection, but at the end of the workout, when we paired up with another person in the class for a final activity, I was transported back to the gym, to my years of coaching, when I would pair up girls for team building activities. Poolside, while the old farts (me included), waded around the pool to find partners, I thought of my former players. In the aerobics class we used foam noodles and did silly exercises, and though my cranky old brain was thinking, “this is stupid, I don’t want to do this,” my coaching brain was thinking, “this would be a great team builder for my girls.” And that’s when I got sad, because they’re not my girls anymore. Still, I imagined the players hopping in the pool, grabbing teammates and wrestling around in the water. I could imagine their faces lighting up, just as surprisingly enough, the faces of the adults did (even if hesitantly at first).

So as I bobbed around the pool pulling my partner, I watched the mostly wrinkled smiling faces around me, and was reminded of the importance of coming together, of finding the fun in life. And most of all I was reminded of how important it is to build trust and friendships to bring a team together and to help them to play their best.

So to build a strong team and to be your best you, on the court and in life, don’t be afraid to reach out to others, to have fun and don’t forget to smile! Read more at  TEAM BUILDING and “I Like You” TEAM BUILDING