ON THE SIDELINES: It’s the celebrating that makes sports special

by May 9, 2024SPORTS di-ne-lv-di-yi0 comments


One Feather Asst. Editor


CHEROKEE, N.C. – Jurgen Klopp, the manager of the Liverpool Football Club, my team, said recently, “Life is too short not to celebrate nice moments!”

I agree with him wholeheartedly. Being a Liverpool fan, I agree with most everything he says, but, I digress.

Sports provide a great time of celebration. It is that raw emotion that I love about sports, and it is 100 percent what I love about sports photography.

Jamee McMillan, Cherokee Lady Braves soccer, celebrates after a header goal in the second half of a home match versus Blue Ridge on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 8. The Lady Braves won 4-1. (SCOTT MCKIE B.P./One Feather photo)

I was out at the pitch the other day shooting the Cheroke Lady Braves soccer match against Blue Ridge when I saw some great celebrations. Cherokee won the match 4-1 so there was a lot to celebrate.

In the second half, I saw a great example. On a Cherokee corner kick, Jamee McMillan leapt up, met the ball, and headed it into the left corner for a Lady Braves goal.  Then, she celebrated!

McMillan literally jumped for joy, and it was simply awesome to watch. Her teammates ran over to celebrate with her, and it was a moment in time of pure joy for those involved. We need more moments like that in this life.

Some sports photographers feel their job is only to capture the action of the game. While I do love taking action sports shots, some of my favorite photos come after a goal or after a win. I love the raw emotion that sports can evoke in people – a team celebrating or fans going wild in the stands.

There is actual science behind all of this.

InnerDrive is a United Kingdom-based organization comprised of psychologists and educators.  In an article by the InnerDrive team, entitled “A sport psychologist’s guide to player celebration”, the team writes, “Evidence suggests that a team that celebrates together, wins together which has been explained in a theory called emotional contagion.  Emotional contagion states that an individual has the ability to, consciously or unconsciously, impact the people around them through verbal and non-verbal cues.  Put simply, this means that we take on the emotions of people around us, and in turn can influence how they feel.”

Anyone who has ever played team sports can attest to this.  If a player is generally positive, their teammates will be more positive. If a player is generally acting like Complainey Smurf…well, you get the idea.

Celebrating in life and in sports is important.  It gives a positive outlet for raw emotion.

The late Ben Hogan, one of five golfers in history to win the four major tournaments, once said, “As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round.”

He’s right. So, enjoy those moments in life when you can celebrate. Jump for joy, yell, scream, have fun, and enjoy your life. That’s what sports is really supposed to be about anyways.