I watched the Brazil v. Chile game yesterday, which ended in penalty kicks. It was down to one guy–if he MISSED the goal, Chile lost and was out of the tournament.

If you start watching at 7:00, you can see it here.

Watching this made me so sad for the guy that I had tears in my eyes. It instantly makes my heart hurt a little.

It starts with the fact that he gives the ref a quick smile when he is handed the ball. Of course I’m reading into things (I am an HSP after all) but it seems like a nervous, sincere smile that’s either saying “Yikes, here we go!” or “I can’t believe this is happening!” Either way, that smile was super endearing to me. I instantly liked the guy.

Then he kicks and the ball hits the post and misses. It’s over.

The next shot of his face…oh. It hits me in the heart. He looks stunned. Like he can’t believe what just happened.

I don’t know how these players handle so much pressure. They train their entire lives and this is the biggest tournament. Then it comes down to one moment, and his kick lost it all for his team and his country.

If I was him, of course I’d be mad at myself. I think I’d think about that kick every damn day. “How could I miss??” Analyzing everything I could have done differently.

While watching this on TV, and seeing the Brazilian team and thousands of fans rejoicing, I just felt so, so sorry for this guy. It doesn’t seem fair that a loss comes down to one individual person in a team sport. (He wasn’t the only guy who missed–but it feels like it’s his fault since he was last.)

I’ve always been very moved by emotional sports moments. If I watch highlights of a tournament–even in a sport I don’t follow–my eyes often fill with tears. I grew up in Michigan and was a huge Detroit Red Wings fan in my late teens. There were a few years where I watched every game and knew everything about the players. At the time, the star player was the captain, Steve Yzerman. Everyone loved him. Years later, his retirement ceremony was on TV, where they retired his number–I bawled my eyes out! Like a baby! Sobbing while I watched his former teammates talk about what a wonderful leader he was. Why was I so emotional?

When the Japanese team won the last women’s World Cup in 2011, only a few months after the devastating tsunami, how could you not be moved?…Even if you’re not into soccer?

Something about sports really touches me. I think it’s the pure passion and effort that athletes put into their performance. The fact that people are working together, earnestly toward a shared goal. They are trying so hard. That want it SO bad. Their emotions are so sincere–the pain of loss and the elation of winning.

How can you not feel their pain?