In my case, and probably in yours (assuming no millenniums read this blog), team meant sport. Which meant competition. Our team, because it was a team, had to develop spirit, which was what would enable us to beat the other team. (The fact that the other team was usually a random Wednesday afternoon selection of one’s classmates, and so didn’t really have time to do that, wasn’t important. The concept was the lesson.) Team spirit enables the team to compete and win.
(It didn’t work that way in practice for me, because competing in a sporting team turned out to mean competing mainly against one’s teammates in order to improve one’s chances of being noticed and so advancing one’s social status, something I could do much more easily indoors. Although one couldn’t totally duck, I generally managed to avoid contact sports, because I didn’t like getting hurt, of which there was a more than fifty-fifty risk because, although I wasn’t physically weak or small, I resisted acquiring the skills needed to avoid getting hurt without running the risk of getting hurt, which I didn’t like. And cricket was for privileged boys. So I never properly learnt team spirit.)
I now, I think, see the fallacy in all this. Out here in the real grown-up world, most teams aren’t, or shouldn’t be trying to beat another team, never mind their own. They are, or should be, trying to get the job done. But that bloody competitive sporting team spirit they learnt at school does nothing but get in the way.