Back in the day, while playing sports, the only thing you had to worry about was winning. I have always been rather competitive, giving my all on the field. Sometimes the team I was on would lose, sometimes we would win. There was no better feeling than winning. Losing made everyone feel terrible, but it was also motivating. We would rest and then train harder and push harder at the next event. We would either defeat the opponents or not, and the cycle continued. More often than not, my team would win. Was it because we were lucky, or was it because I was on it? We shall never know.
Nowadays, there is a myriad of things you need to consider before scoring. The main one being – other people’s feelings. A prime example is the reactions to the U.S. female soccer team winning a match against Thailand 13 – 0 last week. It is the newest FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) World Cup record for the largest winning margin among women AND men. While the score should be cause for celebration, many people voiced their disapproval of the team’s celebrations of the later goals. They thought that goal number 13 should not be celebrated as much as the first one. Why, though?
One of Canada’s former soccer players called the celebrations “completely unnecessary” and accused the U.S. team of showing no “grace”. She went on to say: “Celebrating goals later in the game like this is just completely unnecessary”. Another former soccer player from Canada called the celebrations “disgusting” and mentioned how she was embarrassed because kids watched that game and they saw the 8th, 9th, 10th, etc. goals celebrated. I wish I could ask her what she meant by that. Why are we so fearful of exposing our kids to winning? I have watched too many matches in my life where the winning team got too complacent. They were satisfied with the score, so they lowered their defenses and played for fun (vs. to win). What happened next? The opposing team tied and sometimes even ended up winning the whole match. In my opinion, the game served as a crucial lesson for children that we should never settle. That we should never stop. Until the whistle is blown. Until we are no more.
First of all, games are played for the score to be kept. Especially the big, official ones. Score an important part of any competition. When it comes to ranking, sometimes just winning a game is not enough to push you towards the next round. Sometimes there are multiple teams that won the same amount of games. What happens then? In soccer, the amount of goals you score is important. The ratio of the goals you scored to those you have lost is important. Aside from trying to win that particular game, the ladies were also planning for the future, in case some of the other teams in their group did well, too (like Sweden).
Such a high score must have been great for morale. It says: “We are good. We can do this. LET US DO THIS.” And I see nothing wrong with a little bit of motivation. Sure, such a defeat must have been terrible for Thailand’s morale. It looks like they will not advance to the next stage of the competition as of today. But the loss can also serve as a motivator for them. It could motivate them to train harder for the next championship. What does not kill you makes you stronger. Unless it kills you.
As a former amateur athlete, it pains me to even imagine that the women who scored the 11th and 13th goals are told that their goals are not worthy of a full-on celebration. They worked so hard and it paid off – they scored a goal at the World Cup. There were seven different people who scored during that game. For many of them (if not all), it was a dream come true to score a goal during this huge tournament. The 12th one was one of the team member’s 5th goal of the game. But why should it matter? Why should she be denied celebrating her hard work, anyway? Does one have to put in less work into their 3rd goal than their 1st one? Often, the opposite is true, because the opponent is already aware of your skill and is trying to interrupt your streak. The more I scored, the more I wanted to score. Who ever hopes to only get a point or two when they compete?
If the U.S. female soccer team did not celebrate all of the goals equally, what message would they send? That only certain goals are worth celebrating? How would those people feel, knowing that their goal is not as good as the goals of others?
Moreover, why was goal number 12 so important? Because it helped set the record for the largest winning margin. The previous one was set in 2007 when Germany beat Argentina 11 – 0.
Of course, I can also put myself in the shoes of the Thailand ladies. Losing 0 – 13 is VERY humbling. Undeniably, it must have been hard for them to keep on playing after the first few goals. But they carried on. And bravo to them for being great sports. They tried and played until the end. Every goal must have felt more and more humiliating. But how would they feel if the U.S. team gave up on scoring after the first couple of goals? Competition is competition and it stops being that once one side decides to take it easy on the other. It would be disrespectful to the Thai team to NOT score all those extra goals. It would send a message that they are not worthy of the effort. That they have no business playing against such opponents like the U.S.
Has anyone thought of the audience in all of this? I do not think so. As a fan of sports, I enjoy a good game. The games in which the rivals are evenly matched are probably the most exciting. However, I also like it when the team I am rooting for scores again and again. If I paid all that money to fly to France and see that game (flight + accommodation + stadium tickets + food + misc.), I would like to see all 13 of those goals. I would not like it if the team stopped after 4 or 5. Ultimately, for the fans, it is A SHOW.
The U.S. won against Chile 3 – 0 on Sunday and they celebrated their first goal a lot more meekly. The woman who scored ran up to the bench and briefly clapped in a calm manner. Those sitting on the bench replied with simple thumbs up and/ or handshakes. No over-kill celebration here.
We live in a society in which everyone gets a participation trophy. We simply cannot let someone feel like they are less than anyone else. Everyone needs to feel special. Well… I think there is a time and place for everything. Years ago, one of my co-workers said how they hated a specific singing competition because it was … A COMPETITION. Unfortunately, that person did not have much going for them and they knew it. It was so sad to see someone who did not feel special. Someone so unsure of themselves. No, someone so defeated. Someone so sure of their failure in life.
Because of that, they felt bad about other people, who are made to feel the same way when they do not win a competition. The thing is that if YOU do not feel special, you will always find an excuse to blame others for not making you feel special. YOU are the one who should make yourself feel special. If you know your worth, you will not need other people to praise you. Sure, it is nice to be acknowledged and rewarded, but we are not all good at everything. That is just the nature of things. Accept it. Find your strengths. Appreciate yourself for who you are and let others rejoice in who THEY are.
Did you enjoy reading this post? Hit LIKE.
Have some thoughts on the topic? Share in the COMMENTS.
Do you regularly enjoy my blog? Be sure to FOLLOW.
Are my posts getting lost in your busy Reader? Try SUBSCRIBING.