1562: I in Team

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I in Team
There's no "I" in "VOWELS".
Title text: There's no "I" in "VOWELS".


"There's no I in team" is a well-known saying that tries to encourage teamwork. The intention of the phrase is to state that, just as the letter "I" is not present in the word "team", doing things on your own is not constructive when working in groups. It can be used as a light reprimand to a team member who isn't cooperating, with the reminder that when working as a team one cannot think only for oneself, and must work in partnership with the rest of the team towards a common goal.

The phrase "no I in team" dates from the 1960s in the USA with printed references [1] showing it is familiar to baseball pitchers such as Vern Law. As an aside, it's interesting that it seems to come from baseball, a sport where players have significantly more independence compared to, say, rugby.

Interestingly, the letters M and E can both be found in "team." This suggests that the phrase "There's no I in team" was a slight victim of cherry picking, especially when considering that "there's no me in team" would, strictly speaking, be a bit more grammatical. On a related note, in the International Phonetic Alphabet, an alphabet designed to spell words from every language in a completely unambiguous and straightforward manner, "team" would be rendered /ti:m/.

Of course, the spelling (or orthography) of a word doesn't relate to its meaning (an instance of the use–mention distinction), and the comic makes fun of this by Cueball ironically echoing the sentence's sentiments by pointing out there is a "u" in "People who apparently don't understand the relationship between orthography and meaning", taking advantage that the letter <U> and the pronoun "you", here referring to Hairy, are pronounced identically.

Of course, it's very likely that Hairy knows that orthography doesn't determine meaning, and could easily reply "There's also a 'u' in 'People who assume aphorisms are literal'".

The title text "There's no 'I' in 'VOWELS'." provides another illustration of the distinction between orthography and meaning. "A", "I" and "U" are vowels, notwithstanding the irrelevant fact that they are not included in the spelling of "VOWELS".

Orthography was the subject of 1069: Alphabet.


[Hairy and Cueball stand opposite each other.]
Hairy: Remember, there's no "I" in "team".
Cueball: No, but there's a "U" in "People who apparently don't understand the relationship between orthography and meaning".

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There is no I in team, but there is an M and an E. 08:26, 10 August 2015 (UTC)

Ha, yes -- but they are backwards Spongebog (talk) 15:37, 10 August 2015 (UTC)

Check it out! there's "l" in "vowels"! -- 08:51, 10 August 2015 (UTC)

<sarcasm>There is an (annagram of) Randal in "People who don't understand how a proverb works" </sarcasm> No, seriously this is just cueball being a smart-ass. -- 08:53, 10 August 2015 (UTC)

There's no I in team, but there is an I in pie; there's an I in meat pie and meat is an anagram of team, so... (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

There's a 999999 in pi. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
BTW, it's called the Feynman Point. It's got a pretty interesting backstory. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
Doesn't pi contain every possible number sequence though? 11:17, 10 August 2015 (UTC)
No. There is no evidence that pi includes an offset of pi.
There is no I in team, but there is meat... blessed meat :::Simpson drool:: -- Cwallenpoole (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
finite sequence. the kate bush conjecture is unproven. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
Though pic is an irrational number, meaning that you could theoretically find your birthday, your SSN, even a binary representation of your DNA sequence somewhere in pi's sequence. ChromoTec (talk) 15:30, 5 August 2017 (UTC)ChromoTec
That is not what irrational number means. Just because it cannot be expressed as a decimal does not mean that every possible decimal sequence necessarily occurs. 13:50, 22 October 2018 (UTC)
To make it clear: Pi is an endless string of digits after the decimal point, and there is no repeating element at the end, and it cannot be represented by a fraction. It is easy to (falsely) conclude that, to follow this rules, there is each and every (finite) sequence in it somewhere. However it is (with enough processing time) possible to determine any finite amount of digits of pi. So let's say we analyse the first 10^10^10^10 digits of pi, and you look for your finite sequence, let's say your social security number. Either it is in it (that is no proof that EVERY number-sequence is in there), or it is not. In case it is not, there is no proof (yet?), that there is not a certain "rule" after the (10^10^10^10)+1 digit, that e.g. the digit 5 is not appearing anymore. If your social security number contains a 5, it wouldn't be in pi if it's not within the first 10^10^10^10 digits, while pi's digits could still be non repeating and endless. Therefore it actually cannot be concluded that pi contains every finite sequence of numbers. --Lupo (talk) 09:24, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
The numbers that contain all possible finite combinations of digits are called normal numbers. Square root of two, pi, ln(2), and e are all believed to be normal numbers, but there's no easy way to prove it. 13:28, 28 June 2023 (UTC)

The arbitrariness of this saying was demonstrated considerably more elegantly in Jeffrey Rowland's Wigu: "There is no I in 'team', but there is in 'family'." 11:56, 10 August 2015 (UTC)

This joke is not self-referential, it's metalingual. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jakobson%27s_functions_of_language Xhfz (talk) 13:10, 10 August 2015 (UTC)

There is. -- 16:18, 10 August 2015 (UTC)

That's deep. -- 18:05, 10 August 2015 (UTC)

It is interesting that Randall worded Cueball's dialogue as "There is a 'U' in People who apparently don't understand...". There is just that one 'U', in "understand". If he'd said instead something like "There is a 'U' in People who apparently don't get...", the reference to Hairy through 'U'/you would've been entirely allusional! - Vik 19:30, 10 August 2015 (UTC)

This comment is my way of noting and speculating that it makes sense that the origin of "No I in Team" is from baseball pitchers: They're the only team sport player I know of who is regularly replaced mid-game for reasons besides injury. If a pitcher thinks he's on a hot streak, but the coach replaces him because reasons, a phrase like like "No I in Team" may be needed to smooth over the resulting disagreement, regardless of whether the coach or the pitcher has their respective heads up their asses or not. 20:05, 10 August 2015 (UTC)

But there IS an I in team! http://i.imgur.com/prPC7BX.jpg 02:16, 11 August 2015 (UTC)

I think it's interesting that there is exactly one "u" in "People who apparently don't understand the relationship between orthography and meaning", which has 76 letters. "U" isn't a terribly infrequent letter. 04:42, 11 August 2015 (UTC)

The frequency of "u" is about 2.8%. Assuming a binomial distribution, one "u" out of 76 letters is about a 25% probability. Nothing of significance here, even though 2 "u"s would be slightly more likely. -- 14:43, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
You make it sound like the text was generated randomly. Randall obviously chose the sentence carefully to contain a single U. Here's a far more extreme example, an entire 50,000 word novel written without the letter E: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gadsby_(novel). Should we calculate the odds of this happening?!

I think part of the joke that is missed in the current explanation is that cueball is responding with a less vulgar version of the common retort: "But there is a 'U' in c*nt." 09:32, 11 August 2015 (UTC)

I have to say I've never heard that retort before. I'll have to try and remember to throw it into conversation next time I get the chance! --Pudder (talk) 14:02, 11 August 2015 (UTC)

"There is no I in team" is also sometimes used on voice coms for video games or other situations where the listener may not be able to identify the individual by voice, to explain why they should identify themselves in third person. -- 02:37, 31 August 2015 (UTC)

Is this comic related to metalinguistics? 00:05, 3 July 2023 (UTC)