One the best teams I ever played on was my midget year (U16) in hockey.
I was a defenseman with the Toronto Red Wings AAA Midgets and we were coming off a
decent season the year before, but not a great season. The coach added a few new bodies to our line up and changed our goaltenders. The dynamic felt different. Looking around the room we had some players that had earned themselves a spot through hard work but were by no means what would be considered top talent or sought after names. No one would have picked us to be the best team in Toronto let alone the whole province of Ontario.
But guess what, we surprised the fuck out of a lot of people and many teams!
Not only did we win the city championship but we finished as the top team in our province. Ontario champs! In what was the most crucial year for a young hockey player, our team had earned ourselves a chance to play against the best team from each province in what was then called, the Air Canada Cup.
We wound up losing in the finals to a team from Saskatchewan, the Notre Dame Hounds. They had a guy on their team named Rod Brind'Amour... he was a spectacle to watch, even back then!
But when I think back to that team and what made us so successful all year, it wasn't necessarily talent. On paper we were a middle of the pack team at best. But we weren't the type of players who read our own press clips, we would just out-work the piss out of everyone we played against. It got to the point where even the teams that had way more talent on paper would show up and hate playing against us. Their egos were so bruised and so were their bodies when the game was over, that a team of guys who were NOT supposed to win, won! We beat teams because we checked our egos at the door and we were hungrier. Our coach new the formula to winning....pick the guys with heart NOT with the prima-donna talent, but the rough and tumble kids who would eat the boards for their team to get the win!
What's the moral here, simple...hard work beats talent when talent doesn't show up!
If you want to be the best at whatever sport or business or "thing" that you do....you have to embrace being uncomfortable and push yourself past the comfort zone and beyond your talent...do the work when no one is watching, thrive on being the hardest worker and the hungriest person in every situation. I promise you, the squeeze is worth the juice!