Considering what the word team really means

  • Dec. 31, 2014 3:45 p.m.

Team: a group of people who work together.

That is but a small part of one definition of team and it usually involves the sporting world. But after watching a brilliant documentary on a very special team from the 1950s the definition, with apologies to Webster’s, falls so very short of the mark.

Once upon a time there was a football team in San Francisco which played in the NCAA ranks and like most fairy tales there was a hero and a villain.

The heroes were easy to find in this story – any member of the San Francisco Dons.

The villain was even easier to find because it wasn’t a group of people. It was a line of thinking which is so embarrassing, disgusting and revolting it was difficult to imagine but it was true as the day is long.

You can put a name to it from a long list like narrow-mindedness, tunnel vision, fear, hatred, ignorance or other descriptors but in the end it was simply known as racism and it had a starring role in this fairy tale.

I won’t tell you how this all ended as you should find the video in order to judge for yourself but in the end I saw what I felt was one of the most courageous, selfless and meaningful gestures I have read or seen.

I will give you a brief glimpse into the story line.

This football team from a Catholic school had just come off a great season and the expectation was for an even better one as they had so many players coming back.

Two of those players were African-Americans who not only were good people but outstanding football players.

That sets the table for you and the rest of the story tells about that 1951 season which played out like a Disney movie with a very dramatic twist. Now before you rush off and Google this team do yourself a favour and find the documentary first, then watch it.

After you have seen the film you can Google your brains out but I recommend watching first and reading later as to not spoil the conclusion.

Without being a spoiler I can say there is a good measure of karma for the members of the Don’s who tell their story and rightfully so.

It came with a huge price and if you put it all in context of the decade you maybe can get a feel for what these young men did in order to be a team in every sense of the word.