The late great American professor and author H.E. Luccock once said, “No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.”  

Now that is an unequivocal truth; it’s the Boston Pops, after all, not the Boston Pop. Forget the grandissimo musical references, though. I’ve never been that musically inclined anyhow besides my brief three-month stint as a husky-sized pants-clad clarinet player back in Miss Shannon’s fourth grade class.  

Luccock’s message? Teamwork undoubtedly makes the dream work.  

In a production week where The New Hampshire is without the practical leadership of our seemingly middle-aged, Wall Street Journal-devouring, Greta Van Fleet toe-tapping Executive Editor Bret Belden, I’m pondering the idea of what it truly means to be a member of a functional, goal-minded team. In Bret’s absence, our staff is rallying together on all fronts to prove a major point: Who needs that guy anyways? 

I’m kidding, of course (please don’t withhold my stipend, Mr. Belden!). Our collective goal, per usual, is to produce a hard-hitting, entertaining newspaper that is even better than last week’s. However, in the absence of a trustworthy leader such as Bret, it means that the rest of us have to bring our energy a notch to make sure that all of TNH’s departments are operating smoothly yet moving swiftly at full speed ahead. That’s not just one, two or three of us pulling the weight in his absence- that falls on all of us. Here’s a tale as old as time: There is no “I” in team. 

And to the people who say that there is, however, “me” in team: There is also a “Tom,” a “meat,” a “met,” a “Tak” (a city in Taiwan), an “eat,” and a “mow” in team. Congratulations on qualifying for a local first-grade spelling bee.  

Individual parts get you to achieving the dream, but make no mistake- whole is the goal. Without collaboration, communication and character, you’re going nowhere fast. 

What are some of the famous teams of the modern day? To name a few: The 2018 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox did not win 108 regular season games on the back of one player (sidebar: I miss you so much Mookie Betts). As detailed in Pultizer Prize-winning authors Meghan Twohey and Jodi Kantor’s novel “She Said,” it took a chorus of courageous female survivors of sexual assault to take down the former Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein for his years of sexual predation on innocent women. The 2010 rescue of 33 miners from a Chilean mine wasn’t just off the outstretched arm of one person; it took three separate drilling teams, NASA, the Chilean government’s cooperation and many more people to rescue the trapped miners after 69 days underground.  

Some more local and smaller-scale examples? How about an average family, a doctor’s office, a YMCA Saturday-morning basketball team or a multi-person-operated lemonade stand? Without cohesion, gentle care and camaraderie, the team withers like a raisin, its dreams of finding success in the journey squandered away.  

Working with others in an even-keeled, likeminded way is as fundamental as learning the alphabet or tying your shoes when you’re young. Besides knowing how to spread love, what is more important in this wide, wide world than knowing how to work with others? No one, absolutely no one, walks down the twisting, triumph and tribulation-filled path of life completely unscathed from human interaction. 

Humans are meant to experience love, joy, failure, sadness, heartbreak, death, hunger, stress and a multitude of other emotions with and because of the people surrounding us.  

Thus, the importance of teamwork: If you can’t work with people in overcoming obstacles or creating happiness, then you sure as hell won’t find success in your personal journey. To me, a life alone is not a life worth living.  

In a nutshell, we miss you Bret and can’t wait to have you back. Until then, though, our talented, fun-loving team is doing just fine.  

One final note about my past musical endeavors: Coming into my freshman year at UNH in the summer of 2016, I kept receiving emails from the Wildcat marching band thanking me for expressing my interest in joining them in the wind instrument section. At that point, I’d been out of practice on the clarinet for almost nine years, definitely had lost my reed, and wouldn’t even know where to start when asked to play “Hot Cross Buns.” What a catastrophe it would’ve been had I joined, completely inept in comparison to the talented students who’d been making wonderful music their whole lives.  

All I can say is, should I have somehow made it on, thank God I would’ve had a whole team of musicians to drown me out.