Adversity brings teams closer together

Photo by Brad Curnow

There are times when expectations for some sports teams are so high that they feel like they are invincible. Players work hard to keep those expectations high and don’t feel like anything will happen to them. However, there are those times when adversity hits and players and coaches have to take a step back and reevaluate the situation. More often than not, adversity brings a team together in a bond that is hard to break. Take a look at the Utah Valley University men’s soccer team.

Junior forward Austin Buxton was expected to be a big part of a special year for the Wolverines. A blood test showed in August, the same week that UVU took on the U-17 U.S. National Team, that a recurrence of testicular cancer had reared its ugly head again and ended the season for Buxton.

Now the UVU men’s soccer team is using the hashtag #BuxtyStrong as part of its motto for the 2016 season. The trial that Buxton is going through has brought a close team even closer together. The Wolverines are 7-2 and have been ranked in the top-25 in most polls the majority of the season so far. They also have the 10th-best RPI rating, which will help when it is tournament time.

“It really put things in perspective,” UVU senior forward Skyler Milne said earlier in an interview with the UVU Review. “Don’t take anything for granted, makes you want to come out here and work hard every day, play hard every day because you know you’re playing for him now, too, because he would kill to be out there.”

Even teams in the UVU athletic department are getting on board. The UVU men’s golf team wore purple ribbons on their hats as a way to show they are #BuxtyStrong.

This is just one instance of a team coming together during a time of trial and adversity. Look at what happened Sunday morning with the Miami Marlins and star pitcher Jose Fernandez. The 24-year-old was in the prime of his life and had a child on the way when the late night boating accident took the life of a young man who had his whole life in front of him. The Marlins cancelled their game on Sunday after receiving the news and the sports world was in shock.

Monday night, the Marlins took the field for the first time since the death and had a beautiful rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” played prior to the first pitch. The Marlins then went on to win 7-3 in a highly emotional game. It was so emotional for Marlins players that when leadoff hitter Dee Gordon belted his first home run of the year, he was seen in tears as he rounded the bases and then again as he went into the dugout where hugs were waiting from his teammates.

There have been many instances of adversity bringing teams closer together. Sometimes those teams win and sometimes they lose, but no matter what, life must go on. And for those teams that come together and develop bonds that can never be broken in times of adversity, that reward is greater than any championship they could have won.

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