There is nothing as emotionally satisfying as a come-from-behind victory! The US women’s soccer team played an unbelievable match in Germany against Brazil yesterday and I honestly doubt it would have stirred the same fervor if they had dominated the whole game. We love seeing the underdog win. The bad calls, playing one player down all combined to create an atmosphere of being against all odds, and the final victory is the sweeter for it. The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 will get more viewers thanks to this match.
It reminds me that sports is a favorite metaphor for a reason. It simplifies complex realities and makes it a matter of winning and losing. The hours of practice, the reality of infrastructure and access to facilities all recedes and what is left is human beings striving to achieve their immediate goal – that perfect volley, the incredible stop at the 3-yard line, the 3000th hit etc. That frozen frame, that snapshot can create quite an adrenaline rush for any sports fan.
In many cases the sports fans identify with the stars and see it as a shared experience. In most cases the feeling is not mutual because the stars are in an orbit of their own! But the American soccer team is relishing the connection with the fans. An article in USA Today speaks of the women’s excitement in hearing from their fans via email, texts and tweets! They cherish the support from stars such as Tom Hanks and Aaron Rodgers but it appears as though the volume of support also means a lot to them. And why not? It is great to know that there are people watching and cheering after having toiled in obscurity, so to speak! Social media is allowing the players to know that they are appreciated – the immediacy and directness of the connection is social media at its best and that makes for a feel-good story all its own.
I am happy that Wambach and Solo and Boxx all seem that much more human and real thanks to these connections. It makes it that much more personal when I wish them all the best and hope that they win the big one!