As we watched the Women’s Volleyball at Earl’s Court last week, I remember remarking to my daughter that as well as the number of spikes, blocks and digs for each team, the scroreboatd should also show the numeber of high fives, low fives etc.
Every single point of Volleyball is ended by a round of hugs, high fives and low fives for both teams. It is quite extraordinary. It is as if their batteries will run out if they don’t touch the other team members regularly. That’s the same for the women as for the men.
Well, I notice now that the Wall Street Journal has indeed created a touchy feely scorecard:
During their preliminary round win against China last week, members of the U.S. women’s volleyball team demonstrated their mastery of digs, sets, spikes and blocks. They also excelled in another area: Spontaneous displays of affection.
A review of the first 25 plays in that game shows that the six Americans on the court shared 24 group hugs—hugging on all but one play, when they exchanged low fives instead. There were also six high fives, 10 double-high fives, 29 low fives, two double-low fives and 12 bum taps.
That works out to 83 total touches, or an average of 3.32 public displays of affection for every stoppage in play.
“It’s a celebration sport because you can’t do it without each other,” says Lindsey Berg, the U.S. team’s captain. In these interludes, she says, “we look into each other’s eyes and we know we have each other’s backs.”
All this raises one of the least vitally important questions surrounding the 2012 London Olympics: Is women’s volleyball the touchiest U.S. Olympic sport? And if not, what is?