Bringing together the perfect team can be difficult—it’s where art, science, and religion all fall by the wayside to leave the most important thing in all their places: a champion’s heart. If you’re anything like me, you’ve been forming new teams, joining previous championship-winning teams, quitting friendships, creating made-up feuds, not answering group texts, stealing ideas, contacting exes on social media, changing your cell number, etc. for over two years just to find that sweet-spot-honey-pot combination of the right bocce players to take home some gold medals with after seven weeks of convincing them you’re friends.* Whatever it takes to win and humiliate Vince for not joining your self-proclaimed “super team” that one Fall!
(*“But, no, like actual friends—Yes I’ll definitely come to your summer garden party—Yeah, I think this is the best thing to ever happen to us, too.” Just some examples of the things you may need to say to win.)
A truly great team forms a special bond. Whether you start out as BFFs, as the lesser "work friends," or worst of all, family, the pursuit of a championship forges life-long connections. But every so often someone can’t come back, leaving a gap in team unity and winning potential. Having been in this position many times now, I have put together some tips for recruiting new players and picking up free agents when they hit the market.
1) Play it cool: No one likes someone who comes on way too strong. You may need to think outside yourself and send in your sexiest or most ambivalent teammate to win someone over. You may be thinking, “Well we’re all pretty chill,” and that means that you’re clearly the most hysterical, non-cool person on the team. Some may even say you’re the human dumpster fire of the team. That’s ok though—forgive yourself and learn some mindfulness techniques. Then, congratulate yourself on coming a long way since Kim blocked you and corner your new future teammate at their most vulnerable, like in the restroom or when their debit card is in sight long enough to remember at least half the numbers!
2) Keep an eye on open-play courts: a lot of talent doesn’t know they’re talent yet so it’s very important you prevent them from finding out they’re talent by either banning them from ever showing their dumb faces around this place again or(!) by teaching them how to play the game and acting like you know all the right ropes to show them. It helps to throw out things like fake nicknames for people you don’t know and to create the space for mysterious back stories by saying things akin to, “You’re gonna want to stay away from them,” and “No one has seen their fourth since Mercury was last in retrograde.” This will ensure them that you know what you’re talking about and are (the indisputable captain of the) team to join.
3) If no one at work wants to play, switch jobs. The job market shouldn’t determine your team, your team(‘s desire to win) should determine your career. If the job market isn’t there, go back to school and reinvent yourself. Learn a trade, even. Online universities are doing amazing things these days with psych degrees and there are coding schools as well! But have ever you asked yourself, “Could I really work from home and earn over $2500 a month?” Actually, while we’re on it, have you heard the new things they’re doing with multilevel marketing? The world is different today, so why shouldn’t the way you get your goods be better?
4) Free-agency can be a career killer. Sitting alone and watching and not at least being on a team’s bar tab is viewed as “sad” and “pathetic” and “desperate” and “doesn’t make sense considering we broke up four years ago.” It’s important to remember that anyone who was previously on a team is desperate to toss again (and probably get back together, despite all those fake reasons for breaking up in the first place). So, remembering to play it cool, approach them between games and see how they think the night is going – ask them questions about why they are there. Have they belonged to a league before? Iff they could re-do one moment in their life what would it be – ok, but, like why isn’t it the breakup? Seriously, we’re both doing great – that doesn’t, like, mean it’s because we’ve been apart. This might be a good time to get back together! What do you mean? Who’s Heath? Do you want to be on our bocce team? Then why did you even show up tonight?!
5) No, you can’t come to bocce with me, Mom. Family members are perfect scapegoats for when you need the cap room on your roster. This can be played out in a few ways but remember that when friends fight, people always want to hear both sides. But when you claim that a family member gets verbally abusive about how you like to roll the 1st and 4th shots, nobody checks into that. Open up the spot on your team and manipulate someone into throwing back-to-back so they can be blamed for bad frames.
6) Money, gifts, Edible Arrangements®, and sexts make for good bargaining chips: Budget for these in every season – you won’t believe how many people can actually be bought and are lying about their strawberry allergies.
7) Don’t use Snapchat. This is a pretty good tip for life in general but it’s also a rider to the one above – you want to hold onto all sext evidence to maintain the upper hand against other teams. Also, it hurts to find out your teammates have been sending Snaps of your bad shots to one another, even if your best clues are circumstantial evidence.
8) When the best player’s team dissolves over a breakup, swoop in and get that player. This should be obvious but always side with the better player in a breakup, I cannot stress this enough. This is precisely how my team got its Curry-KD dyad a couple years ago.
9) Befriend the best team in the league: Everyone loves a little competitive chemistry, and what’s more is people love a good rivalry. What people don’t know they love is Inception-level complexity-based frenemy relations. Think the movie Miracle but where the Russians are actually America’s secret lover, the ice rink is the idea of the enemy, Kurt Russell is the dialectical antagonism but his character represents melancholy by the true loss of desire, and “hockey” is the hypnosis-triggering concept that induces a further level of subconscious. People eat this shit right up.
10) Everyone loves an underdog story. I’ve never been entirely sure what this phrase means but I’m guessing it’s a yoga term so always stretch before every game.
11) Always stay positive. You will catch more flies with honey, and flies bring bees, and bees keep the flowers growing, but the bees are dying, and now murder hornets are here and we don’t know what they offer in this equation, so binge some shows you’ve already watched, preferably with a pseudo-love story that works for where you’re at right now, and pretend everything is going to be alright – no one wants to join a team of downers!
Go forth and find your perfect fit! Trust me, they’re out there, no matter how many people you need to alienate. Your team will thank you when their necks are heavy with the weight of medallions.