Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sh*t I Don't Understand: The Wave

Enough. Enough enough enough enough enough. A large group of people standing up and sitting down sequentially can look kind of cool if it is kept up for a decent amount of time. We get it. But why does this heinous crime against legitimate sports fandom continue to be committed? My only conceivable answer is that more and more, people in the crowd at a sporting event have some sort of desire to make themselves part of the show.

Let me make one thing clear. Fans can and should make the most of their opportunity to have an impact on the game. But the wave is not how that is done. You want to make a difference from the stands? It's done by standing and getting loud on 3rd down or a 2-strike count, by chanting "Who's Your Daddy" at Pedro Martinez or "OVER-RATED" if you're at a basketball game rooting against someone like Duke or the Miami Heat.

Has a team ever gotten extra fired up because the crowd behind them has the place rocking, or has a visiting team seen its play adversely affected by a crowd going 100% against them? Of course. But I dare you to find any instance where fans doing the wave had any positive impact on the game they were watching. You can say that most of the times the wave gets itself going are during a lopsided or meaningless game, and that's probably accurate. However, why would you ever choose to be oblivious to a game that you've paid solid money to witness in person?

Even if it's 10-2 in the 7th inning or 28-6 with 5 minutes left, that doesn't mean there is nothing more you can take from being at the game. It's a great chance to pick up on some of the small nuances that you don't get to see on TV, like the way a shortstop picks up his catcher's signs and cheats a half step depending on which pitch is coming, or how a backside post runs the free safety off of a play, or even the general layout of a stadium and how it compliments the playing field itself. If you have the mental capacity to grip things like that, it makes you a much better sports fan than any orchestrated chain-reaction crowd motion can.

A popular response at Yankee games to any attempt at the Wave is "keep the Wave at Shea!" meaning that if you want to screw around, go root for the Mets. Now that Shea Stadium is no more, it's even more fitting. It's getting late so I'm not quite as sharp on my analogies, so whatever the figurative equivalent of turning the Wave into a parking lot is, that is the choice of a more intelligent sports-watching America.


  1. The Wave shows your disinterest in the game. I have seen it and said thats cool but never at a game I care about. When its done in slow motion its interesting but I will never do another wave again now that I'm past age 14. My kids will never do it either.

  2. Ah finally the "Sh*t I Don't Understand" manisfesto... Don't know if you get the io cable commercials in south jersey (at least I think their for optimum) but one has "pixels" (people in colored body suits) doing the wave. A man describes it as "what they do at baseball games" to which the girl replies " I love TouchDown!". And thats what the wave is, an activity for those who don't know/care what is going on (with the exception being my fiance if she happens to read this).