Four years ago, I succumbed to the intoxication of being a fan at a global sporting event: World Cup soccer.
My Fine Husband had played the sport growing up and had taken a family trip to a Cup series when it was in the US with his family years ago. So when he proposed we head North to British Columbia to take in some games four years ago, I said – sure, why not.
He wanted to go, I’d never seen anything like it and we love to travel together.
Tickets secured, we packed the car, loaded the kids (our dogs) and headed North.
To say the US Canadian border crossing was packed would be an understatement. We waited for about an hour in line, almost imperceptibly creeping forward, surrounded by no doubt by many others headed to the Cup.
While the teams of the games we watched now eludes me, it’s also irrelevant. World Cup brings the world together, in a great way. (okay, so that’s an understatement too!).
Global sporting events have the unique ability to galvanize us, to bring humans back to our essence: social creatures looking to belong.
I recall walking into BC Place for the first time. Whoa.
Now, to be clear – I grew up familiar with major sporting events, in major venues. The Metrodome in Minnesota (when it existed) when my dad got Twins’ tickets from a client was the most common outing. To be with casts of thousands, to watch the beehive of activity as well as some of the game was fascinating. The sights, smells, sounds, feelings of it all were super-natural. (Plus the rush of the Dome’s airlock pushing us forward on the way out was really fun as a kid!)
Fast forward to last Saturday.
My Fine Husband asked me if I wanted to watch a US game the next morning.
Yes. Yes, I do, I told him.
He proceeded to check which local TV station it was on and at what time.
Once he got that info, we thought – wait a minute, who would it be fun to watch it with?
As serial dinner & party hosts, it’s a short leap from an idea to conjuring a guest list to amp the fun.
Instead of inviting people over, though, we decided to see what local establishments were airing the game. After 3 calls, he struck gold. A local sports bar was in fact going to open to accommodate guests. “How many in your party?”, they asked. Two of us and perhaps a few others was our reply.
We hadn’t invited anyone… yet. We wanted to see what was possible first.
Now that we knew, the game was (literally) on.
Both My Fine Husband and I proceeded to text a bunch of friends to see who was interested in joining us.
My invite via text was simply, this:
We’re going to watch the US play a cup game at 9 am tmrw at the Red Zone. Join us?
Before I share what actually happened, I’m compelled to tell you: what happened upon sending 25 invites wasn’t about the game or level of sport fan anyone is.
What happened is firmly rooted in connectivity.
Of the 25 people I texted, 21 replied.
Instead of sharing all the replies, I want to share the lessons I learned in the process.
- People like to be included. I already knew this to be true. It was a reminder that to invite is to extend connectivity and build – and keep building – community.
- Invites aren’t about where you’re going or what’s being served or who else will be there or what the occasion is. Invites are about telling people you value them – that you want them to be there. We’re all powerfully desirous of being included. Invites do that, whether you can attend or not.
- Once you invite someone, they’re more likely to invite you back. That’s not why we invite, yet it’s a reaction I’ve noticed over the decades of hosting and inviting people to all kinds of events and occasions.
- You learn where people are at, truly. A handful of the invitees were abroad and they still responded. Invites can foster communication since there’s this feeling of obligation to reply to an invite for many.
- Letting people know you’re thinking of them and want to include them with a simple invite builds relationships.
As a connector, invites are a way of letting people know they’re valued. It communicates, “I see you and want to enjoy some time and an experience together,” from a walk and talk to a soccer game to a dinner party.
Humans are inherently social creatures. Inviting people to join you at an event is one way to connect and stay connected and deepen connections you wish to develop.
So, who showed up?
Three members of a family we’re friends with and two friends who watched the first half at home over their breakfast (and had invited us to join them!).
We also made new acquaintances, the first before the doors opened, on the bench outside.
Connectivity happens everywhere you let it. And if you rethink how you spend time with other people, you can see the connectable opportunities in every scenario.
Oh – and we also have three new outings planned, with friends who didn’t make it yet wanted to get together soon anyway.
Olé Olé Olé ~
Ginger is a Connector, Speaker & Author and has been surprised at her enthusiasm for world cup soccer.