When I first came to the U. S. , I was not sure when I would ever feel like I belonged. It wasn’t that I disliked my new home, it was that I could not understand what was being said around me. As I said in my previous paper, it was very difficult and I just hoped that summer camp would be a different experience for me.
The first day of summer camp, I remember being quite nervous. Not only was I going to a new place, but I was leaving the friends that I had made in high-school for a summer. When I had struggled so much to fit in, it was hard to leave foreign place that had become familiar only to come to another foreign place; summer camp. Part of me thought it might be like high school. Maybe I would be the only foreign one there and maybe I would have trouble understanding what people were saying. Maybe it would be hard for me to connect with people. I did not know what to expect. The first day that I was in nearly confirmed all of my fears.
The couselor spoke quick English. I groaned inwardly to myself, because I could see my high-school experience happening all over again. I was not sure how I would survive an entire summer of summer camp if it was the same as high-school. I went throughout my first day floating from activity to activity, still unsure if this was going to work out for me. I missed my family and my friends from home so much that it hurt. Never in my dreams, could I have known that nearly everyone else there was missing his or her family and friends, just like I was. They, however, had the advantage of speaking fluent English.
It was when I was walking back to my bunk at the end of my last activity that something amazing happened for me. Tossing a little pebble in front of me, I was not paying attention to what was going on around me. I tossed the pebble up, hit it with my knee and then kicked it out and hit a nearby tree. One squirrel came scampering out of the tree as though I had been aiming the pebble at him. “Wow. That was pretty good! Are you as good with a ball? ” This guy with crazy hair asked me. I just stared at him. I understood what he was asking, but I was just surprised that he was talking to me.
“I played basketball at home,” I said. It was something that my family loved to do together. “You should play for one of our camp basketball teams,” he said. “Me? ” I asked. I still just could not believe what was happening. Basketball was something that I definitely knew something about. On top of that, I could make new friends. It was perfect! He told me where they were meeting and the time. I was so excited that I went back to the bunk and searched for my good sneakers. I called home and told my family what had happened to me that day. I definitely sounded chipper than I had when they dropped me off at the camp.
The next day, when I walked to the basketball court, I was a little intimidated by how good these people were. Guys and girls alike were handling the basketball ball like they were Michael Jordan. I ran over and began playing with them. They did not make a big deal about my being there. With basketball, it does not matter who you are or where you are from. In basketball, it matters how you play the game. One thing I was confident with was that I could play basketball and play it well. A basketball had been in my hands since I could remember. That is just how it was in my family.
While fishing is something that some American families bond over, basketball is what my family bonded over. “Hey,” waved Juan, the guy with the wild hair that I had seen yesterday. “You know something? You are good! ” It did not take long for me to learn that he was the team captain. He was really good and had great ideas. I smiled and shrugged. It was nice to be told that by somebody who was probably just as good. Throughout the remainder of the game, I kept getting pats on the back and cheers from people I did not know who were sitting on the side of the court. It really felt good to finally fit in with people.
“You play basketball at home, yes? ” asked this girl who had a thick accent. I was no longer the “foreign kid. ” I was among many different kinds of people who enjoyed the same game as I did. We continued to play basketball once or twice a week for official practice before we were going to compete with another camp team. We joked about “practicing” those two days, but in reality, we always ended up gravitating towards the basketball court when we did not have to practice. When we were not playing basketball, we were all going over to someone’s cabin and watched a game. It was just in our blood.
It was like a hunger that could not be met. During my activities, I thought about my teammates. I drew basketballs all over my notebook for my activities and thought about different moves that I should try during the next practice. Juan was okay with teammates coming up with ideas. He was not a captain who had to have all of the power. That made us all respect him more. Just knowing that I had a great new group of friends who all enjoyed a sport that I love made school that much easier and bearable. I was also beginning to learn more English by being around them. Especially their slang.
Phrases like “that is wiggin’ me out,” and “for real,” slipped out of my mouth as naturally as if I had grown up saying them. The more we played basketball, the more they acknowledged my skill. I did not understand all of the rules in English, but the other teammates took the time to explain a lot to me and we also had access to the camp’s computer lounge so that we could research basketball online. Once I researched the rules, I found a lot of online information about basketball that I thought might help me perfect my skill. Juan and the other teammates would need me at my best for our upcoming competition against another intramural team.
It was going to be my first time competing with people that were not family members since I had been in the states. When I told my teammates about the research I was doing, they were very enthusiastic. We huddled around one computer, researching things from different plays to the history of basketball. It was amazing that we were researching something not because we had to do it for a class, but because we actually wanted to simply to gain more knowledge on the subject. Some of the terms were hard to learn, but websites like www. basketball. com/nba/rules/rule4. shtml, helped me understand.
To dribble, is to bounce the ball with one hand without letting it stop bouncing from that spot on the floor. A block is when one player makes illegal personal contact with another player on the opposite team and interferes with the player’s move. A free throw is when one player from a team is allowed to make an attempt at a basket without any interference with players on the opposing team. The player must act within ten seconds. There are many more terms that I learned while researching that really made me understand how to communicate with my teammates, or understand when they were communicating something to me.
We learned a lot about our game that day that we thought would help us that much more win the basket on the game day. We kept practicing until the game that we had done so much preparation for was only a week away. “We could not win it without you,” said Juan to me. I could not help but grin. These people were really my friends. Home, though it still seemed far away, was not as present in my mind as it had been before. It was at the practice before the game that I thought my whole new experience was going to be ruined. We were practicing, like always. It had just rained earlier that morning, but the pavement was still a little damp.
We did not want to cancel the practice, because we wanted to get in as much practice as possible. I had the ball and was so close to the basket. Leo was next to me, getting closer and closer. As he put his foot out to get the ball, my sneaker slipped and made me fall awkwardly onto the court. When I fell to the ground, I heard a pop. It was my ankle and I knew it. After I went to the camp clinic, I was relieved that it was only badly sprained and not broken. I was heartbroken, however, that I could not play at the game. “You know what, come to the game, anyway. If we can’t have you on the court, we can sure use your support,” said Juan.
The team was disappointed, though. I felt like I had let them down, but they did not see it that way. They said that in my practicing with them and researching with them, they learned a lot about the sport that they love so much and that what they learned could actually help them have an advantage over their opponents. They said I was still going to be the reason that they were going to win. That made me feel much better and it assured me that I was still going to be an insider. They were not going to turn their backs on me just because of my injury. Later, I asked Juan if he thought anyone would blame me if the team did not win.
He told me that if I wanted to, I could blame Leo. I was surprised he said that. “Blaming does not help anything. It won’t heal your ankle and it won’t make us win the game. Stuff just happens. We definitely want you to play as soon as that ankle heals. ” I would look forward to putting my basketball sneakers on again. Until then, I knew I had to be content in just cheering for my friends. The game day came and I sat on the bleachers with my ankle tightly wrapped and propped up high. I have to admit that I was disappointed and a little jealous when my friends dribbled the orange ball around on the court.
I felt bad, but only until the first basket was scored. It was the first of many scores. Basket after basket lead to a big victory. We had one the camp competition! As we celebrated that night over Coke floats and pizza, I was reminded of a quote that I had obtained while working a project for school. It was something that Mia Hamm had once said that captivated me and still remains with me this day: “I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion. ”
Though the team considered me a champion and at first, I wanted to be, to be included, but I realized something from that game. I was never an outsider, really. All mankind, no matter what creed or color, are a part of the human race that laughs and cries and works and plays. I learned from my basketball summer camp experience that I was certainly not the only one who was homesick. We were just all missing the homes that we knew. People are not as different as we think. There are different situations and circumstances and cultures, but we are all people. That, I learned, makes us all insiders. There are insiders and outsiders everywhere.
Organizations even have them. It is a problem that can split an organization. Outsiders can be due to language barrier, status in business, or disagreements among employees. According to Forbes. com, “In high-conflict climates, 50% of employees say they get less done while fuming, 46% thought about quitting and 37% became less committed to their work. ” It is proven that when several outsiders are not happy in the business, it affects their work. “Think about it: If employees are stewing over something a co-worker did or about the promotion they didn’t get, chances are they’re not getting their work accomplished--at least not well.
Rather than dealing with more revenue-producing matters, managers report they're spending 30% of their time dealing with conflict, according to John Ford, founder of John Ford & Associates, a workplace conflict management firm in California. Resolving those issues quickly saves time and money and boosts employee retention rates,” said Forbes. com. To make employees feel included and help them to get along with one another without having anyone left out, I have made a list of things that I believe are necessary to accomplish the unity goal. 1.
Allow all employees to anonymously report when there is an office bully or problem. This helps them know that they do not have to simply “put up with” what they are going through. 2. Allow all employees a voice. Let them make suggestions and do not forget to give credit where it is due. If a more timid employee comes up with a great idea, then giving him the credit for it can make the other employees respect him more. 3. If there is a language barrier, it would be beneficial to have at least one person who can translate. That would help ease confusion. 4.
Make sure that all employees are treated equally. No matter what position they are in. 5. Appreciate all employees. 6. Do not place blame in the workplace. If something goes wrong, it went wrong and blaming will not help matters. Allow the person who made the mistake to right it by coming up with a quick, successful plan. 7. Videotaping a meeting could also be a good idea. This way, reviewing who seems to not be participating is easier. Then speak with the one who is not participating and discover and fix the problem. 8. Make sure that employees are trained well enough for their position.
If they know what they are doing, they will feel more confident and may participate more. This also decreases the number of mistakes made. 9. Refer to the staff as a “team. ” This automatically suggests unity. 10. Have a coach come in and give important lectures about teams. This could even be an annual reminder that the staff is a team. After the meeting, find out if there is anything that could be hindering the unity. From both of my experiences, being an insider and outsider, I think that it is very important that everyone feel like an insider - particularly in an organization.
I hope that if people do feel left out, as I did in the beginning of my stay in the United States, that they will tell someone. Communication is the best remedy. Works Cited Hamm, Mia. "Mia Hamm Quotes. " Thinkexist. 2006. 29 Nov. 2006