Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sports Fans Behaving Oddly

As the rest of the family was out of town this week skiing, I got to sit and watch the entire NCAA men's basketball championship game on TV. It was a terrific game, very exciting, sent into overtime by a last-second 3-point shot, and all that. Everything you want in a championship game, and more.

And since one of my good friends who is even more sports-crazed than I am actually attended the University of Kansas (KU) for a time, I had to congratulate him on the victory. All the hoopla around the championship got me to thinking about the legendary chant that KU fans use, "Rock Chalk Jayhawk KU." I've always sort of wondered what it meant, but hadn't gotten around to looking it up.

But someone did it for me, and I stumbled across the explanation today. I am most proud that it was originated by the Science Club. Nerdz Rule!

And I had no idea that the term "jayhawk" was not, in fact, a bird, but an anti-slavery advocate! It's fascinating what you can learn by accident.

This also brings to mind the horror I felt last night at the ballpark when the crowd started doing "the Wave."

I'm not a fan of the Wave. When I go to a game, I go because I want to watch the game, not to watch the other fans. I will admit that when I was in college, the student section at football games used to do a fun kind of vertical version of the Wave, rippling from front to back, rather than around. It was a neat effect. And it's kind of intriguing to me that the origins of the Wave are even more obscure than those of the "Rock Chalk" cheer.

But the fact remains that we don't do the Wave at the Giants' ballpark. In part, that may be because the seats don't really go all the way around the stadium, so you can't really go all the way around with it. And in part, I like to think it's because we're all busy paying attention to the actual game.

Which brings me to last night.

Now, you have to understand that this year is different for the Giants. Before the season even started, they have basically put up a white flag of surrender. This is not a team that is going anywhere soon, at least as regards winning. They score runs at an anemic rate, and although they pitch well enough to keep most games in reach, they just aren't considered good enough to contend for much of anything.

So last night was the smallest crowd in the 8-year history of the ballpark (only about 30,000 fans in a stadium that holds about 42,000). And in the middle of a scoreless game, someone started doing the Wave. It went around twice, then mercifully faded out. It's quite sad and disturbing that this is what we're reduced to.

On the positive side, the Giants played well enough for the second night in a row to win in their last at-bat, in very exciting fashion. No Wave needed for entertainment.

Anyway, I think cheers are much better than Waves.

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