It’s World Cup time and once again I am faced with a sport that I know very little about. I am surprised at how many people have jumped on the soccer bandwagon considering that it is not a very popular sport in the United States. Surprise turned into curiosity while I was watching Good Morning America and they were showing different venues that were airing the USA vs. Ghana game. Thousands of people clad in red, white, and blue were throwing their arms up in triumph as the US scored there first and then second game winning goal. Oddly enough I felt a certain sense of victory and excitement that apparently ran rampant in the crowds of soccer happy Americans. Then I thought, I know nothing about soccer, why do I feel invigorated by team USA’s win? Then I thought a little further, Do all of those people that were shown on TV losing their minds after each goal really like soccer that much?
So I asked the Google why people root for sports they don’t normally follow. Scrolling down I found some very interesting information as well as an article that talked about “Why Over Thinking is the Root of All of Your Problems”. Huh, I’ll have to give that one some thought.
What I did find was actually pretty cool. It is a phenomenon called BIRGing, or the BIRGing effect (Basking In Reflected Glory). Basically it means that when we associate ourselves with others who are successful, we will also feel successful. This is thought to increase self esteem and feelings of accomplishment. So when you see those stickers on the back of cars that say My Kid Is An Honor Roll Student At (fill in the blank) you can point at the driver and yell “BIRGer!”
Now it’s all becoming clear to me why people who may never watch a particular sport like soccer all of a sudden find themselves going bat shit crazy in the event of a goal. They are basking in the glory of this team that represents something they are very proud of. It makes them feel good about themselves when that team does well and I can not find any fault in that. Does this make me want to watch any of the World Cup games? No, but I might get myself one of those stickers for my car.