It’s still Ryder Cup weekend, even though it’s Monday today, as they lost one day due to torrential rain. One more day of the fun: This golf event is a phenomenon, because it is so different from any other event in the sport. Golfers play in teams, they identify with it, they are proud of joining and their team captain is a legend, while the crowd attending sounds more like at a soccer stadium than what you are used to from golf. This is not like any other tournament, it’s a tradition, it’s Team USA vs. Team Europe, in brief it is the most important golf tournament. Full stop.
Why is the Ryder Cup so entertaining to watch? There are probably a couple of reasons, but to me what matters most is that for the two biggest sports markets in the world, the US and Europe, there is a natural team to cheer for.
Many people believe that watching any kind of sports is not really fun if you’re neutral about whom you would like to win.
I don’t know if it’s appropriate to call it a natural desire of man to fight and win (I’m no sociologist), but there seems to be something about it. You want to see your team winning, if you don’t have a preferred team the game will appear to be boring.
Now imagine you’re not watching a game or the Ryder Cup, just imagine you’re sitting in a business meeting instead. I believe that there are times in meetings when it becomes boring if you don’t support a team. In this case, the team would then be a standpoint.
Even though I hear quite often that one should be professional and open to all points and directions in a meeting, we’re no TV commentators that have to take a neutral point of view. Why? Because if the meeting is well composed, there are people with different backgrounds, different experiences and different fields of knowledge in there. And yes, you’re allowed to cheer for and to support the most reasonable from you point, as it’s your job to bring in your perspective.
Sounds simple and reasonable, but too many people try to be neutral to prevent from being hurt or feel like losing. If you don’t have a team, you can’t lose.
Here’s something else we can learn from the Ryder Cup, in this case from the spectators on the course. 45.000 people were at the Celtic Manor Resort in Wales and as usual during the Ryder Cup, they drank a lot, they were loud and they cheered for their home team. But what I realized is how fair they were. When the American players were announced, they were applauded for and when someone from Team USA hit a great shot, he was also cheered for.
The simple message I get out of it: It’s great to support your point. But when someone else has a good point, consider it and “cheer” for it, too. Yes, the other point may win over yours, but if you handle it in a fair way, you will have given your contribution and enjoyed the process, just like the spectators at the Ryder Cup do, no matter who will win it in the end.