I am the captain of a football team and sometimes I have to select players to participate in competitions. Since there are always more volunteers than places on the team, unpleasant situations often arise when I have to exclude someone from the main lineup. Recently, one of my friends complained, “Why didn’t you take me to the competition? We’re old friends after all!” I replied to him, “What does that have to do with it? Of course, we’re friends. But right now we’re talking about the interests of the team. There are players better than you who need to be on the field to secure victory for our team.” It seems he didn’t understand me and stopped talking to me.

Some people disagree with my decision because they believe they play better than others, so they have the right to participate in the competition. To which I respond, “As the team captain, I can see better from the outside who plays better. If you really played well and communicated well within the team, would I have excluded you? I’m interested in winning. Of course, I would have taken you.” But it seems they didn’t understand me either.

Sometimes, I find myself in the shoes of such people when I play in other cities. There I am just a regular player, not the captain. And when the captain doesn’t take me to the competition, I never get upset with him. I understand everything. Sometimes I even see that the captain is hesitant to tell me. I approach him myself and say, “Captain, don’t worry, I understand everything. If I’m not one of the best, feel free to exclude me. I won’t be offended. The team’s interests in competitions are more important than my desire to just play and have fun.” I see how relieved and grateful the captain is after those words.

And I don’t know what to thank me for. Such behavior seems natural to me. What surprises me more is when people don’t understand this and behave selfishly towards the team.

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