The reigning MLL Coca-Cola Most Valuable Player Tom Schreiber sat down with MLL Press Box to share his personalized My Five Best. This new series involves MLL players creating a list of their choosing that ranks five items.
The midfielder decided to rank what he considers the five most important characteristics in a teammate. After going to the 2016 MLL Championship with the Ohio Machine and rewriting the record book for Princeton as a collegiate player, Schreiber has plenty of positive experience to draw from.
1) Willingness to help
In high school, I played football and lacrosse. In the fall of my sophomore year, I was bumped to varsity in football due to an injury on the team.
I was nervous to make the jump.
Chris Carberry, a junior at the time, had a big impact on easing my transition. We spent a lot of time together – I played quarterback and Chris played running back. He went out of his way for me in a number of ways including getting reps after practice, bringing me along to grab food, or just palling around on the sideline. It meant a lot to me as a young player.
I’ve seen this type of behavior at every level – seniors helping freshmen and/or veterans helping rookies. The willingness to go out of the way to help new players is synonymous with being a great teammate.
2) Lead by example
Leaders come in different shapes and sizes. Whether a leader is vocal or quiet, at the top of the roster or the bottom, it is essential that they lead by example.
In college, I was fortunate to be surrounded by teammates that worked extremely hard.
Two of my classmates, Jack Strabo and Nick Fernandez, epitomized leading by example. Both were known for being in incredible shape. As freshmen, they immediately impressed in conditioning and lifting workouts. Throughout our four years, both guys did extra workouts day in and day out.
I think a lot of our teammates looked up to them – I know I certainly did. Since graduation, Jack has run multiple marathons, and Nick recently graduated from BUDS and is off to Navy SEAL Qualification Training.
3) Eliminate ego
|Tewaaraton Award winners on the Machine|
|Kyle Harrison||2005||Johns Hopkins|
My current team, the Ohio Machine, is comprised of ultra-talented players that have enjoyed immense individual success. Three of our offensive starters won the Tewaaraton while in college, and the other two – Marcus Holman and John Grant Jr. – are two of the best players I’ve ever been around.
The talent on our roster is impressive, but our biggest strength is the ability to operate as team – not as individuals. Ego doesn’t exist on our roster.
Kyle Harrison is as successful as any lacrosse player ever to take the field and it would be difficult to find a better human being and role model in the lacrosse world. Kyle focuses on the team and the team only. He isn’t concerned with himself, his stats or his individual performance, he cares about our team’s success.
Marcus Holman is a superstar that has thrived throughout his entire career. He’s scored countless highlight reel goals, but what sticks out to me is his effort. He is a tough competitor that loves making gritty plays as much as he loves scoring goals. He puts the team ahead of himself every time we take the field.
The night I was drafted by the Machine, I was excited and was congratulated by a number of people via text, email, tweets, etc.., but one message stood out – a voicemail from Scott Rodgers.
I had never met him before, but he reached out to welcome me to the team and offer his help anyway. It was a small gesture that meant a lot to me. After three years, I realize this is par for the course for Scotty. I’ve seen him fight through injury, serve as a backup, and reemerge as a superstar. Regardless of the situation, Scotty’s attitude remained the same: team first.
4) Become a "come with me" teammate
Brian Kavanagh and Rob Posniewski were my two closest friends at Princeton. Kav and Poz made a major impact on my career and were two of the best teammates I’ve ever had.
When we were freshmen, our team returned every defensive starter. Kav and Poz, a goalie and defenseman respectively, were not able to crack the lineup at first, but it didn’t stop them from contributing to our team.
I believe the key to success is to invest extra time in your craft. I view going to practice or a lift as doing the minimum. Kav, Poz and I kept each other accountable when it came to extra work.
Often times after studying, one of us would suggest an extra lift or extra stick work. Typically, these suggestions came late at night after a long day of class, practice and studying.
There were many times where I would have preferred to go to bed, but I didn’t want to let them down. Over time, more of our teammates adopted this attitude of gaining an edge through extra work.
5) Set a high standard
Great teammates must lead by example and uplift those who may be falling behind.
John Cunningham, a vicious longstick middie, was the heartbeat of our team. John made plays all over the field, but his leadership set him apart. He worked extremely hard and expected the same out of the rest of the team. He was passionate and set the standard for us every day and we were a better team as a result.
After John graduated, Chris White filled his role. Chris came into Princeton as an offensive midfielder and selflessly switched to shortstick D-middie as a junior, where he quickly became one of the top players at the position. He never complained about switching and fully embraced his new role.
Chris was a tremendous leader that set high standards. He constantly went out of his way to make sure every member of the team was giving their best. Every year, those who do not pass the run test have to do extra conditioning workouts until they pass. Despite passing the test, Chris attended the extra workouts and endured the pain with his teammates who didn’t make it. He wasn’t in it for the praise or attention – he genuinely wanted to uphold the standard that our coaching staff and leaders set. He was an incredible teammate and a great role model for our entire team.
Photos provided by Princeton Athletics
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