We’ve mentioned in the past that we oppose fans doing the wave at sporting events, on account of it being a stupid thing to do at sporting events. We sort of figure everyone agrees with us on this point, because how could you not? Only here’s the thing: You keep seeing the wave at sporting events. Thousands of people pay money to watch superior athletes at the height of their craft, then spontaneously and simultaneously decide to play their own dumb game instead. We really don’t get it.
This is a particularly desperate time in the battle against the wave, because Major League Baseball has accepted a sponsorship from Lipton Tea to officially brand the “Lipton Rally Wave” and have teams encourage fans to participate. (Marc Hanson of the Pepsi Lipton Partnership said, “We thought about the fan experience and we looked at the wave and kind of considered it that quintessential time when every fan connects in a shared way.” Funny, we thought fans connected during actual meaningful moments in the game.)
So here’s why we do not like the wave:
It’s insulting to your team.
Growing up, I used to attend Villanova University basketball games. I loved when the visiting team was introduced, fans in the student section would hold up newspapers and pretend to read them to feign disinterest. (This is back when newspapers were a thing.)
The opposite of love is not hate, it’s ambivalence. There’s no better way to say to the home team, “Actually, never mind, we really don’t care that much,” than to collectively ignore them and participate in your own unrelated activity while they’re on the field. Doing the wave is basically the same as holding up newspapers, except instead of feigning disinterest, wavers are expressing genuine disinterest.
It’s insulting to the game.
Seriously, why are you at the game? Fireworks? Bobbleheads? Got lost on the way to the cookie exchange? Yankees fans used to chant “Take the wave to Shea” as a shot at how much better fans they were than Mets fans. (This was before Shea Stadium was demolished, single handedly wiping out half of Queens’ rat population, and before the new Yankee Stadium priced all of the legitimate Yankee fans out of attending games in person—now you see the wave at Yankees games all the time.)
Real fans who are passionate and knowledgeable about their favorite sports don’t need to invent ways to entertain themselves while they’re at a game.
It’s insulting to the fans around you.
I was at a Rockies game recently when a woman in my section (who I’m fairly certain was there only for the post-game “Faith Day” concert) tried to start the wave in eighth inning of a one-run game. My wife was afraid that I was going to get into a fight when I started yelling at the lady to actually watch the game, but I think I could have taken her. If the wave gets started, even if you choose not to participate (or in the case of my children, are ordered not to participate), it’s still distracting. It’s not just distracting for the brief moment when fans stand in front of you and actually block your view, but also while it makes its way around the stadium.
NPR commentator Frank DeFord once said this about the wave: “It’s not fun any more, but it’s mandatory to go along if some unoriginal idiot starts it up. Otherwise, you’re not a good sport. Please.” If you’re bored with the game, bring an iPod or something to entertain yourself. Don’t inflict your boredom on the fans around you who are trying to watch the game.
So, seriously, don’t be an unoriginal idiot. Leave the wave at home.
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