A Fox Sports video of these sorority sisters taking selfies at an Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game earlier this month went viral. When I saw it I had the same reaction I think most of us did: I laughed. I cringed. I rolled my eyes and grumbled about their self-obsession.
I was wrong.
As wrong as the news producers who aired the footage on the big-network nightly newscast where I saw it. And certainly as wrong as the two Fox Sports news commentators who were poking fun at them for taking selfies instead of watching the baseball game.
“Oh, hold on! Take a selfie with a hot dog. Selfie with a churro. Selfie just of a selfie!” one commentator mocked. “Do you have to make faces when you take selfies?”
“Every single girl in the picture is LOCKED INTO her phone … welcome to parenting in 2015!” said the other.
I’m not sure what this particular scene had to do with parenting, but on and on they went, the teens taking selfies and the commentators commentating — for two whole minutes. It made me wonder how much the sports announcers were paying attention to the game themselves.
Here’s what we didn’t know: Moments before the camera turned on them and the teasing commenced, there was a stadium announcement asking fans to Tweet selfies of themselves having fun at the game.
Not only did the announcers shame these young women for something they asked the crowd to do, but what happened next proved how wrong we were in judging the self-obsession level of these women. While others might crawl under a rock until the storm passed (like me), or react with anger, these young women responded with grace and poise.
When they were offered an apology gift of free game tickets from Fox Sports and the Diamondbacks, they declined, offering them instead to a local organization serving families who are victims of domestic violence. Then they further used their new-found shame fame by calling attention to October as domestic violence month, raising more than $13,000 in the process ($10k of which came Shutterfly.com via a self-deprecating appearance on Ellen.)
Here’s one last fact to bust the stereotype: All of these young women are on the dean’s list at Arizona State University. Half of them received academic scholarships.