The “But it’s not my fault” mentality – Choosing to be guilt-free over being accountable as a team member

I’m in the corner desperately battling to create a passing lane for good 30 seconds. There are three blue jerseys between me and the closest teammate. Two blues are on top of me, and I can’t see anything even if I had time to look up and scan 120 degrees around.

I call out “Who’s there! Who’s there!”

When we all return to the bench, one of the forward tells me in an emotional tone and volume, “But I was there! I was there on the boards!!”

I was stunned that our teammates came in her defense. They seem to feel:
I was shouting too, so it’s ok she shouted.
I was calling who’s there, so she is just answering, letting you know she was there.

On the other hand, my thoughts are:
I was shouting because we were all on the ice and need to communicate loudly or we won’t hear each other. Shouting on the bench is not the same thing.
Where does she mean by “there”? It didn’t even occur to me in the slightest that the “there” in “Who’s there” is taken with such flexibility. Of course she was “there.” Everyone’s somewhere! “There” in my context is being available to receive a pass with a pretty healthy passing lane. Also, “Who’s there” is a request for teammates to start shouting back to me so I can hear where they are.

These are prime examples of a communication error originating from “coming from two different places.”

There are two approaches to this. We could approach the other party saying “Ok, something went wrong there. What can we do better next time?” Or we could shout “I was doing what I was supposed to! I’m innocent of the crime you accuse me of!!!”

What I’m really confused about is this.
I’m desperately pulling maneuvers and shouting “Who’s there!” And my teammate is standing 20 feet from me thinking “What the hell. I’m right here, doing exactly what I’m supposed to”? Instead of “Oh, for some reason she can’t see that I’m here. How can I help her find me?”?

After the play was done and we are back on the bench, shout “But I was there!” instead of “Hey, I was there, but clearly you didn’t see me. How can I help you find me?”

I hope you know I’m not talking about hockey. I’m talking about accountability.


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