XI WoSo Moments of 2016: Love wins after Pulse shooting

KP Palmer December 27, 2016 13
Ali Krieger, then with the Washington Spirit, wears tee-shirts honoring victims of the nightclub shooting at Pulse in Orlando. (photo copyright EriMac Photo for The Equalizer)

Ali Krieger, then with the Washington Spirit, wears tee-shirts honoring victims of the nightclub shooting at Pulse in Orlando. (photo copyright EriMac Photo for The Equalizer)

There are many reasons we love soccer: the perfect first touch to settle the ball, the absurd athleticism that taps a shot over the cross-bar, the trade off of a goal celebration for a yellow card.

One of the reasons we love soccer is because it is a community. There are supporters clubs, bars, banter, and songs in addition to fans of almost every age, creed, or identity.

On Sunday June 12, 2016 the largest mass shooting in U.S. history targeted the gay community at Orlando nightclub Pulse. The initial response to the news could be likened to getting the wind knocked out of us: there was confusion and pain, there was a doubling over of emotion, and for a moment we all felt alone in our grief.

But as the shock of the news spread outward, hope, love, and unity began to echo back from our NWSL and WoSo community. Refreshing Instagram and Twitter posts brought in a trickle, and then a torrent of messages from players, teams, journalists, supporter clubs, trainers, soccer blogs, and coaches speaking out against hate.

Orlando United T-shirts were created to show unity in the week that followed. The Orlando Pride match on June 18 in Washington against the Spirit underscored the sentiment of community. Standing in matching Orlando United shirts, both teams honored the victims and families prior to the start of the match. We were also told that at minute 49 of the game the stadium and players would observe a moment of respect for the victims.

As the clock ran towards that moment those of us in the press box, watching on YouTube, and following on Twitter prepared to face this tragedy together. We watched the Pride tap the ball back to the feet of keeper and Orlando-native Ashlyn Harris. The entire stadium of 5,750 paid respects to those lost and affected. The applause continued and got even louder as Harris slowly pushed the ball to the top of the box to put it back into play, affirming that there is only room for one perspective in our community: love is love.

The beauty of the Beautiful Game in this context is not an incredible back heel or screaming golazo;the beauty is derived from the love put into the sport and the community that is generated out of that commitment. Harris would echo this sentiment after the game: β€œThe beauty of this game is that it brings people together that’s why we do what we do.” There are many reasons we love soccer, but regardless of reason or role, we do it together.

  • mockmook

    And all these tweets etc. did absolutely nothing to fight against the root cause of this massacre.

    Did the “love” tweets bring back any of the dead? No

    Did the “love” tweets help future potential victims to arm themselves? No

    Did the “love” tweets identify the malignant ideology behind the massacre? No

    Did the “love” tweets advance a strategy against that ideology? No


    Empty “words” and no action does not equal “winning”

    • JL

      Get out of here. You are missing the point entirely.

      • mockmook

        What is the point?

        Making yourself feel good about yourself while doing nothing?

        • Ethan

          Well, your claim of “doing nothing” is your opinion. I’m sure plenty of people felt it did do something, and people, in particular those in Orlando, may well have benefited from “the feeling good about themselves” that was brought about from the support they got over social media. Maybe it helped them cope with the tragedy of the situation and allowed them to continue with their daily lives. I really don’t understand the intensity behind your comments on this subject, but since we don’t really ever agree on non-football related subject areas, I’ll just agree to disagree.

          • mockmook

            “I really don’t understand the intensity behind your comments on this subject”

            I’m worried about the next 49 to be massacred, and the 49 after that, and after that, etc.

            Not one person of note in WoSo suggested anything concrete to try to prevent future attacks.

            I’m all for love, but sometimes that means crushing evil — not just offering condolences again and again and again…

          • Steglitz49

            Soon will they be blaming S49?

        • zooming out

          These aren’t politicians who can institute policy, or even professional journalists who have an audience, they’re soccer players. Not exactly the proper platform to sound off on about religion, the Middle East, terrorism, and national military policy. I don’t blame them for limiting themselves to what they did. To do otherwise would have invited a lot of attention they don’t need while trying to focus on their actual profession.

          There are other people who society has designated to handle those parts of American life. Do we want them playing soccer for us or even giving their opinion about our national team?

          • mockmook

            Uh huh.

            Doesn’t seem to stop them from speaking out on other issues.

          • fleshing out

            Them, or her?

          • Steglitz49

            If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.

    • Steglitz49

      The effective action is education.

      What other strategy do you propose? It is easy to type education; it is harder to do effectively — otherwise the problem would not with us.

      • mockmook

        “The effective action is education.”

        Right. If only Osama bin Laden had taken a few more classes from the Learning Annex he would have loved America…

        • Steglitz49

          You’ve lost me but never mind.

          Maybe Americans might want to be a bit more diplomatic. Calling the team that put you out of the OG “cowards” does not get you shot in a nightclub but also does not gain you too many friends — and certainly no respect.