Back in 1968, one of my sister’s boyfriends invited me to go with him to the National 500 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. This was back before NASCAR was cool and televised and large corporations renamed the tracks and the races, which proves I’m a long-standing, North Carolina redneck. It was also before my sister agreed to marry this particular boyfriend and I knew I was part of his strategy of manipulation designed to win my sister’s affection. Luckily for me, my sister remained indecisive for the whole racing season and I got to go to the Southern 500 in Darlington that year, too.
When the boyfriend and I got back from the National 500, I talked in glowing terms about how “Chargin'”Charlie Glotzbach won the contest in a reddish Dodge Charger. My Dad, a piously devoted Chevrolet man who believed that Jesus drives a 1956 Bel-Air in heaven, made a loud snort. “He’s no better than the Chevy boys. He just has a better crew.” (I checked the race results. Dodges, Plymouths and Fords dominated the top finishers. The first Chevrolet finished about 25th, or so.)
“Whaddaya mean, a better crew, dad,” I asked.
“Chrysler Corporation gives Glotzbach and the other Dodge and Plymouth teams factory backing. Independents can’t compete with that kind of support, so the Chrysler teams keep on winning. You can be the best driver in the world, but if you don’t have support, you don’t do as well.” And that’s when he said what’s stuck with me all these years: “Where would the big wheels be without the ball bearings?”
It’s a lot like that with the Support Team Network. A very talented, caring, and gifted individual who volunteers time to look in on a person with a health care need can eventually feel burned out. If they have help, though, if there is a team of people who work with that caring person, sharing the caring process with them, in a coordinated way – like a pit crew at a NASCAR race – they can sustain that supportive care much, much longer and enjoy it more. We see ourselves with the Support Team Network as giving “factory support” to folks who otherwise might grow to feel isolated.
That’s the way we win this “race.” Together, as teams. That raucous celebration in victory lane is never a party of one. And who’d want that anyway? The Support Team approach is the way health care follow up was meant to be!