This weeks article by Brian Edwards discusses the importance of teamwork on and off the job:

The fire service is known as a paramilitary organization with flow charts displaying the rank structure. This rank structure displays the Chief of Department at the top center, and underneath is the rest of the ranks all the way to the newest recruits.  Team work is the basis of our job because it is instilled in us to work in a team. The teamwork concept has been put in to place for many reasons, some of which are safety, accountability, and knowledge. Another reason teamwork is important is so we don’t let anyone fail. This should be practiced not only on the job, but also in your everyday life. I recently had the chance to see this in action and was able to see a result of teamwork.

Many of you may be familiar with the Crossfit WoD’s, Workout of the Day. If you have ever attempted a Crossfit WoD, you can relate that often times they are very difficult to complete. During my workout experience, I have seen men and women of all ages, shapes, and sizes accomplish many things that they wouldn’t normally think would be possible. As I am part of a team of Crossfit Athletes from my local Crossfit gym, I am exposed to witnessing individuals push through the difficult exercises and perform things they never thought would be possible.

Let me give you a visual of the setting as the events took place. We were at a local gym to take part in a competition that included two sets of workouts of two different teams going head to head. The teams are made up of four athletes, male or female. Our team for the day consisted of three males and one female. The team we were going up against had a total of 7 people, four of which that were competing in the first workout. One of those four, along with three “fresh” individuals would compete in the second set of workouts. My group of four had to compete in both sets since we only have four people for the entire day.

The movements were tough and involved working with heavy weights. The first WoD was a set of Clusters, Squat Clean Thrusters, and the goal was to complete as many reps as possible within 12 minutes. Additional to the exercise, you had to do walking lunges to get to and from the bar. While doing the walking lunges, you had to hold a 45lb’s over your head.

Our team of four take the win for the first set, and then we all laid in a pool of our own sweat trying to rest up to compete against the three “fresh” and one exhausted athletes of the challenging team. We realized that we had just reached the half way mark, but knew we had it in us. Just before the second workout starts, we realize that one of our teammates has to cut out early. This meant that our team was now down to three members. At the same time, we realized that we had already won the first set and couldn’t throw in the towel. After trying to think of how we could go on, I decided that I needed to step up and take the bull by the horns. I decided that I would attempt to complete the second set twice by standing in the place of our team member that had to leave. While I knew our team could push on and complete the task due to our determination, I knew the deck was stacked against us for actually winning.

As we started the second round, all of our team members kept one another pushing strong with words of encouragement. I briefly related this situation to the fire service as we don’t have the option of failing. It is this simple: If we fail while attempting to complete our work, people can die. We may not be able to return home following our shift. Our families will have to push on to only have our name on a memorial somewhere, and the memories are all they would have left. These thoughts help me push through my first round in the second set, and I continued pushing strong as I started my second. As the clock ticked, I knew I had only three more “wall ball shots” to complete, and I would be done with my portion.


We had done it! Not only had we won both matches despite the odds being against us, but we also worked as a team to accomplish our goal.

Don’t under estimate yourself.
Be positive and never give up on yourself.
When the going gets tough, it is time to dig down to find that heart and determination needed.
Keep pushing.

Relate this not only to a workout, but imagine that you are entrapped after a collapse of a structure. Push yourself every day to be a little bit better at something, and you need to be afraid to step up to the plate. Your family and friends are all team mates, and someday they will need that from you and other days you will need that from them. This is why it is called TEAMWORK.