From 2008-2010 I went to graduate school at Purdue. I was getting a Master’s Degree in Recreational Sports Management because I dreamed of myself one day sitting in the big chair leading Purdue Athletics. That dream unfortunately has gone by the wayside as I pursue other dreams, and that degree has kind of been pointless for me...UNTIL TODAY! That’s right folks I’m writing an article about one of the most interesting things I learned about in grad school that I thought was apt after yesterday’s B1G title.
I woke up this morning feeling just a little bit better about everything in my life. Sure, things aren’t perfect and I often worry about the things everyone worries about, but for today those worries are in the back of mind. Today, I’m a B1G Champion. Today, I’m BIRGing the Purdue championship. Perhaps I should back up a bit before I go further.
BIRGing stands for Basking In Reflected Glory. It’s the idea that when your team wins, you win. You say things like “We won the B1G last night” instead of the more appropriate “Purdue won the B1G last night”. Even though neither you or I had anything to do with the victory last night or anytime throughout this season we still take some measure of happiness and glory from merely being associated with the team tangentially as fans. It’s an amazing concept that was most famously studied in 1976 by Robert Cialdini. He ran a series of interesting experiments that found that when your team wins you’re more apt to say we and to wear school apparel. I don’t think any of these things are necessarily shocking but it was something I always found extremely fascinating. Like anything in sports though, where there’s a winner there has to be a loser. That leads us to CORFing.
CORFing can be either Cutting or Casting Off Reflected Failure. This is what IU fans are feeling today. No one wants to be associated with a failure so it helps explain why sometimes apparel gets switched over to maybe something like a ND shirt during football season or into a Butler shirt come two weeks from now. This can also help explain how easy it might seem for fans to simply cast their team aside in difficult times saying that “They suck” rather than saying “We suck”. It’s much easier to disassociate yourself from a loser. When you CORF you place the blame on anyone but yourself and distance yourself from the stink of failure. Everyone does it. Think about your own fandom and how easy it has been to cast off Purdue football these past years. I know there have been times I’ve looked at a Purdue football shirt and hesitated to wear it these past few years. That was me CORFing!
Enough of the negative though. Today, let’s BIRG in the greatness that is our 23rd conference title that places us in rarefied air all by ourselves atop the conference. Let the BIRGing commence.
Oh, and also, enjoy the CORFing of IU fans. Use the word CORFing to them too, they won’t get it.