Anyone who knows me would say that I’m a sports fan. A hockey fan absolutely. A football fan, sure. But a soccer fan – never. Yet, here I am, following the news, checking the FIFA app on my phone, and checking my schedule to be sure I can watch the US team in action. It’s so easy to be captivated by this sport that is followed so widely throughout the world. Part of that appeal comes from rooting for our team and from being part of something so much bigger than any one individual.
Being part of a community may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about our own wellbeing. Yet, according to research on wellbeing, being part of a community can actually be ‘the differentiator between a good life and a great one.”  The social interaction of being part of a community can boost your overall wellbeing. We really thrive when we give back to our community.
In following the World Cup coverage, it’s easy to see the connection the fans have to their team, community and nation. The face paint and outrageous costumes in their country colors are evident. Yet there is one group of fans that exemplified community by demonstrating not just their spirit for their own team, but how to give back to the host community. The Japanese fans showed support for their team by inflating blue plastic bags during the game. After the game, they used the bags to collect trash in the section of the stadium where they were seated.
Apparently it is customary in Japan to clean communal areas and young children are frequently tasked with cleaning up during school hours. In spite of the goal tally, the Japanese fans demonstrated their sense of community by giving back. Class act Japanese fans! Great job on demonstrating thriving wellbeing.
Mari Ryan, MBA, MHP, CWWPC, CWP
 Rath, T. Hartner, J. “Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements”, Gallup Press, New York, NY 2010 p. 93