There’s No I In Team

Meaning:

What is the meaning of the phrase ‘there is no I in team‘? It means to not work alone, but rather, together with others in order to achieve a goal.

Example: Ethan’s basketball coach identified a major weakness in his play—he frequently hogs the ball and refuses to pass in situations where he should. Thus, the coach said to him: “There’s no I in team, Ethan. Get your teammates more involved by passing them the ball more often.”

Synonyms / Similar Phrases:

1. Pull together
2. Team effort

There's No I In Team, Baseball Players

Origin Of – There’s No I In Team

It is likely that this phrase comes from sports, where groups of players come together as a team to accomplish a specific goal. The oldest citation that I could find for this saying comes from the 1960s. By the looks of it, this expression was nearly always said within the context of sports. For example, in the Daily Review newspaper, 1960, it mentions a particular rule that a pitcher named Verron Law from the Pirates baseball team had:

“One of his most famous rules, although Law would be the first to admit it did not originate with him, is ‘There is no ‘I’ in team.’ Perhaps that one rule is the reason why the Pirates are out in front, winning the pannant, not backing into it.”

From the other newspapers I saw, this phrase is often used by coaches, players, and even newspaper writers to imply how victory was achieved, not by any single individual, but through the players coordinating their efforts together. Another example comes from Titusville Herald, 1960, where it says:

“It is refreshing to see St. Joe realize there is no ‘I’ in teamwork.”


Example Sentences

  • Stu was trying to make a delicious dinner for his family but he wasn’t a good cook. So his wife told him, “there’s no I in team” and joined him in the kitchen.
  • My niece was having trouble building a paper airplane, so I offered to help, saying that there’s no I in team; we then built one together.

Similar Examples:

  • It will take a team effort for us to have a chance at winning this.
  • Taking care of kids is hard work, but if we pull together, I know we can do it!

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