BRC Kickball: Talent & Teamwork
By Rachel Annelise Chaney, CPA
A team of accountants walk onto a kickball field…
Sounds like the start of a dad joke with a punchline about calculators or running the numbers, but back in March, that’s exactly what happened! A team of coworkers and friends stepped onto the Greensboro Parks and Recreation athletic field for the first time. “BRC” was proudly emblazoned on their jerseys, along with the team name of “LIFO the Party” (Yes, it’s an accountant-y name. We are still nerds after all.) They were armed with a little knowledge of how to play kickball and a lot of excitement to enjoy the game together.
“My favorite part of being on the kickball team was the camaraderie,” said James E. Morrison III, a Tax Supervisor whose skill at sprinting around the bases is as remarkable as his constant willingness to help clients and coworkers. “We always supported each other and cheered each other on in such a relentlessly positive way.” That team spirit didn’t occur by accident. It had been fostered at BRC as a part of a culture of cooperation, a tenant of the firm so entrenched that it has been codified in a nifty little saying: OneBRC. And, boy, did the team need that spirit at the start!
As the team went through growing pains during the first few games, the OneBRC mentality served them in good stead, helping everyone lean into their strengths and shore up each other’s weaknesses. The first few games were learning experiences, in the middle of busy season no less, but what stayed consistent throughout, even in close games where the team barely dragged a victory from the jaws of defeat, was the commitment to doing their utmost no matter what was on the scoreboard.
“What made the team the best? That’s easy – my co-workers and friends!” said Amy Bell, Assistant Director of Human Resources and a woman who slides into bases and protects third base with the same confidence she handles every employee concern. “We played hard and played well as a team! Everyone hustled and gave it their all.”
Of course, not everything was sunshine and roses. There were some missed plays, muffed kicks, and mishaps resulting in injury, but that hustle Amy gushed about, and the camaraderie James highlighted, kept the team always learning and getting better week by week. In reflecting on his experience as head coach of LIFO the Party, Zach Gray was struck by how the team evolved over the season.
“We looked a little rough those first couple games,” said the Tax Supervisor who can pitch a fastball with the same lightning-fast ability he researches real estate tax issues. “But by the end of the season we were playing like some champions!”
Champions? That’s right! After a season of grueling games, injuries, substitutions, and relentless determination, BRC’s LIFO the Party stepped onto the field for the last regular season game and squared up to Aerotek, the most difficult team in the division and a team they had not yet faced. The score bounced back and forth. Tension grew. Players gave their all, hit the dirt, and collided with opponents at full running speed. In the scorching summer sun, with the clock winding down, it looked like the game would end in a tie. But in the last inning, in the last game of the regular season, LIFO the Party pulled ahead by one run. The team held on against determined competitors, securing the regular season title!
That alone would be enough to cap a storybook season. But call up Hollywood! Because in a movie-worthy end to the season, LIFO the Party and Aerotek both won their divisions of the tournament bracket and faced off again for Tournament Champion.
Cue the Rocky soundtrack…
True to the OneBRC motto, the firm stepped out and showed up for the team, packing the stands with legions of cheering coworkers, friends, and family members. Some even held aloft homemade signs. There may have been a pom-pom present. All were uproarious in their support, and it did not go unnoticed by LIFO the Party’s dugout.
“Having our coworkers, friends and family filling out the stands to support us made the championship game that much more meaningful,” reminisced David Kaplan, Tax Principal who can catch pop-flies to the face with the same adroitness he can explain the intricacies of the Qualified Business Income Deduction.
Buoyed by the encouragement of dozens of spectators from BRC, LIFO the Party went on to score more runs than they had in any game the entire season, taking the lead early and never looking back in a tour de force that defied even their own expectations. As the game ended with one last outfield catch by LIFO the Party’s Brady Craven, the stands erupted and the team ran screaming into an exuberant huddle of exhausted (and let’s be honest, a little shocked!) athletic champions.
A team of accountants walk onto a kickball field… and walk away with two championship titles.
No one player could have done it alone. The team support, the perseverance, the encouragement from each other were the anchors of LIFO the Party’s success. In the words of BRC’s Chief Executive Officer, Alisa Moody, “Everybody needs a teammate.”
And when those teammates work together and build each other up, there is nothing they can’t accomplish.
“Talent wins games, but teamwork wins championships.” – Michael Jordan