On Monday the US Women’s National Team played an international friendly against the Colombian National Team in an exciting match that saw the return to the pitch of veteran players Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd, who hadn’t donned their national team kits in almost a full year. Despite some rustiness, the US won 4-0 against Colombia, providing four opportunities to rejoice in their winning.
As has been widely discussed, Team USA likes to celebrate and celebrations often lead to iconic sports moments. Megan Rapinoe, arms widespread like a conqueror. Alex Morgan sipping imaginary tea after scoring against Great Britain. The classic and timeless Brandi Chastain sports-bra reveal.
Nearly every US celebration comes with the inevitable piling on of players after the scoring player gets her pose off. They jump onto one another and embrace like the loving teammates that they are, a sight that warms the soul and strengthens the American spirit. However, in the time of corona, that kind of loving contact isn’t allowed and Monday’s game made it very clear that the one thing Team USA hadn’t practiced was how to celebrate their goals.
After scoring her first of three goals of the game, Sam Mewis appeared to want to run and hug Megan Rapinoe, who got the assist for that first goal. But was stopped by a responsible Rapinoe, who probably whispered: “Don’t hug me we’re on camera.”
Instead, the women opted for an awkward overextended high five, with a touch of air hugging. By the time, Mewis landed her hat trick, the high five situation was running a little smoother, albeit still awkward looking.
These individual high fives soon developed into a single group high five, which, though effective in limiting the number of different hands coming into contact at a given moment, didn’t offer the same high energy as a massive group hug from people running into each other at high speed.
I did however expect a more contact-heavy celebration between sisters Kristie and Samantha Mewis, considering how well they both played. Being the exemplary athletes that they are, Kristie and Sam kept it cool and went for a pseudo-hug high five which showed off their sisterly love and a supreme effort to not breathe on each other too much.
Going forward, I might suggest that the best socially distanced celebration is to get into flying V formation, run to the center of the pitch in unison and have each player strike a signature pose. Will it take some time away from the game, sure, but what a spectacular sight it could be!