A Cheer From Every Treadmill

Yesterday morning when I arrived at the gym, I was happy to find that they were showing the US vs. France match of the Women's World Cup.  We had been watching it for a few minutes at home before I left, but then I caved to the pressure of the child who was desperate to play his Wii game and let it be turned off.

However, when I got to the gym it was only in the 70th minute, so I set myself up on the treadmill and tuned in.  I wasn't listening to the commentary, but instead had my music on.  A few minutes after I started watching there was a dramatic play, and I found myself exclaiming aloud as a goal was attempted - but was missed.   I quickly scanned my nearest exercise neighbors to see if they also had headphones on, or if instead they were looking my way with looks of curiosity or alarm.  However, they were both ear-plugged (but appeared to be watching as well), so I decided not to worry about it. 

As those of you who watched the game know, somewhere around the 80th minute, Abby Wambach had a beautiful header after a corner kick and scored a goal.  Suddenly and unexpectedly, whoops and hollers erupted from all over the gym.  I looked around to see fists pumping, people cheering, and some (the most coordinated) even clapping in celebration.  It turns out that even though everyone seemed to be working out in their own little worlds, they were still watching - and cheering - together.

The same thing happened for the US goal a few minutes after that.  I could have known that they scored even if I weren't watching just because of the crowd reaction. 

It reminded me of being in our Prague apartment during national soccer matches when we lived there.  These matches were usually in the summer time, and since we had no air conditioning in our apartment, our windows were always at least partially open.  We lived in an apartment in a complex of thousands, and when the Czech team scored, you could hear it all over the neighborhood.   In fact, you could hear it through the walls, and ceilings and floors.  It was a true neighborhood celebration.

Isn't it funny how something like sports (especially in a national setting) can unite us?  At least in an instant, in a roar of celebration or a groan of defeat.  When we're living in our own little words, but suddenly we're part of a wave of something bigger. 

Granted, there are more important things than sports to connect us together, but it's still very intriguing. 

At the very least, it makes a trip to the gym much more fun.

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