Last night the Michigan Women’s Basketball team played Missouri in third round of the WNIT tournament.
- As season ticket holders, James and I were invited to a special Chalk Talk with Head Coach Kim Barnes Arico.
- It took place an hour before the game.
Coach Kim worked the room before and after she spoke.
- She knew a lot of people in the room.
- Cared about what was said.
- Talked to me and James.
When Coach Kim started the official chat, one of the first things she did was thank us for being there.
- She told us how important we were to their success.
- How well the players did with us cheering for them.
- That we mattered.
After sharing some more big picture comments, she invited her assistant coach to take over.
- Coach Duffy was the one who scouted Missouri.
- She shared some of what she learned.
- Told us what to look for.
Coach Duffy answered questions from the crowd.
- Appreciated people asking for insights.
- Explained what was going on.
- Thanked us for showing up.
The coaches say fans like us make a difference.
- The communications prior to the game made us feel like part of something important.
- The welcome from Whitney, the staff person running the Chalk Talk, made us feel like VIPs.
- The Michigan words and actions constantly reaffirm we matter.
It was going to be a tough game.
- The stands were full.
- The crowds roared.
- Michigan won by 10 points!
I’m still debating what role the fans actually played in the win.
- The athletes worked really hard to be as good as they were.
- They played with intensity.
- Five of them scored in double digits.
I’m digging into academic research to see what I can find – but I will say this.
- James and I both feel like it’s important for us to be at the games.
- We encourage others to come with us.
- And are really proud of the athletes.
Thinking about associations now…
- Do your members feel like they matter?
- Do you regularly explain how and why they matter?
- Do they show up filled with pride for the work your association is doing?
There’s a lot associations can learn from Michigan’s Women Basketball team’s relationship with their fans.