Basketball and the Night Watch.
I was reading a book The Courage to Create by Rollo May. It's a great book and one that I refer to over and over again when I need inspiration. I came across a part that talked about relationship issues. It said that there are two main fears that come from deciding to fully commit to a relationship with another person.
One would be the fear of losing your own identity, and the other would be the fear of losing your freedom to act. The author points out that there are great benefits that come from confronting these fears and becoming aware of the idea that, "one grows not only by being one's self but also by participating in other selves." He goes on to explain that such confrontation is necessary to to move forward toward self-realization.
Being a basketball coach, I recognized at once that the point he made could apply to being a member of a sport's team as easily as a romantic relationship. A player must learn to deal with the anxiety of losing their individuality in order to fit into a team. She might also be afraid of losing her freedom to act. Teamwork imposes certain rules and restrictions that could curtail a desired course of action. For example, a player might like showing up late to practice. That habit would have to go if she commits to the team's goals.
Following May's line of reasoning, individuality would increase as it evolves to take in the needs of your coaches and teammates. It would become a transcendent version devoted to a higher good. Same thing goes for the freedom to act. Too much freedom can be destructive if it it doesn't allow itself to be refined by the limitations imposed by the goal of becoming a better teammate. Team goals, rules and restrictions are not just a lot like life; they are, in fact, life itself.
Being a member of a good team provides the player with a built in support system when the player needs help, she will get access to a lot of good advice and information, her teammates will have her back, she will be able to get mature advice, support and help from the coaching staff, she will get timely and important feedback for her words and actions, and she will be able to share in combined brain power of the group when it comes to making important decisions.
I am sure that there many other advantages such as being surrounded by people who share her goals and will be there to share her joy and her pain as goals are achieved or lost.
The list of benefits derived from sacrificing a bit of yourself in order to work well within a team is almost endless. The negative effects of failing to commit are probably just as long.