Q&A with Blaine Scully
What does being a "good man in sport" mean to you?
Living by a certain personal standard. Being driven by your own intrinsic value system. The motivation to live well and do things the right way is because it important to you. Does not necessarily relate only to on-field performance or in sporting environment, but How one acts and carries him/herself day-in and day-out, whether on the field or off.
I think this starts simply with wanting to be a “good person” and asking questions like "How can I improve? How can I get better?” Self-assessment and honesty is a key component to this work, but a strong sense of self is also an important starting point. We need to think about “what do I value?” and “what is important to me? I believe constantly improving one’s own performance should extend beyond the playing field.
What in your own experiences has influenced your commitment to helping men be their best selves?
I feel very fortunate to have been surround by outstanding people in my life. My sense of purpose and idea of living well comes first and foremost from my mom. She taught me the value of living with a sense of responsibly, with character and being in the service of others. Treat each person with respect and always live to your own standard.
I have also been fortunate to have had amazing coaches who taught me the value of team and how to view myself as an individual in the context of the team. Lastly, I’ve had great teammates along the way who have taught me by leading by example. In addition, I believe a strong sense of curiosity is an important driver to living as your best self. Exposing yourself to various ways of thinking, cultures and people allows you to broaden your perspective of your own life.
We can see when an athlete is physically injured but not mentally or emotionally. How do those impacts also impact the team?
Mental and emotional states play a critical role in someone's ability to be a positive contributor in a team environment. Sport is a unique venture, but at the same time, it is a fundamentally human endeavor.
As individuals, we can struggle with the various inputs and outputs, highs and lows, and distractions and sufferings just like any group of people. We can have issues that arise in our personal lives that can affect how we operate professionally. Praise and/or criticism comes in a consistent and sometimes violent manner from all angles - coaches, teammates, family, fans, public, media, etc. Our challenge as a team is to equip our individual players with the requisite skill-set/mental framework that can help them to cope with the unique challenges posed by being in sport, and also have an environment and teammates who support us as people.
How do you help a teammate who is suffering?
Relationships are a fundamental pillar of a strong team culture (and performance) - and connected relationships begin with a sense of caring. As a captain and as a teammate, it is important for me to connect with teammates every day. Greeting and acknowledging those who you work with - both verbally and physically through things like a handshake - sends a clear signal they are important to me as individuals. Building connected relationships is critical; you need to build real trust with someone to have meaningful conversation about how he or she is doing.
How do you think teammates in particular can better help each other?
Communication has to be a core principle. In my opinion, consistent relationship building should be at the forefront of how we interact with others in our environment. If we don’t consistently check in on people and connect with them, and instead wait to reach out in a real way until that teammate is about to suffer or is suffering, then we aren’t doing everything that needs to be done. We aren’t being as good of teammates that we can be.