In defence of the Mexican wave

Picture by Naparazzi
Picture by Naparazzi

History was made at the Sydney Cricket Ground on the weekend. People who were there will talk about it for generations. Those who weren’t will say they were.

Years from now, our kids and grandkids will question us about 22 March 2014. What were you doing, they’ll ask, the day the Members stand did the Mexican wave?

For eons, the wave has gone around the SCG crowd only to come to a grinding halt at the end of the Noble stand. Indeed, one of the best things about the Sydney wave is the opportunity to boo the Members for their non-participation.

So there was genuine shock on Saturday night when the wave got going in the fifth innings of the Major League Baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Members got off their backsides and put their hands in the air like they just didn’t care.

Not everyone appreciated the sense of occasion, though. Probably not the SCG for one, having banned the wave to fairly laughable effect since 2007. And not a surprisingly large bunch of people who think the wave is simply not cool. 

“If you push aside the mind-numbing boredom of the Mexican wave,” sniffed one website, “…then you’d have to say the atmosphere was pretty good.” On TV, one of the American commentators expressed surprise that we even knew about the wave Down Under. He must have been gobsmacked we could string actual words together. “I miss that at home,” he said of the SCG wave, “as well as everything else from the 1980s.”

More than one person at the game assured their Twitter followers they were NOT doing the wave, while others expressed a severe attack of cultural cringe. Like this guy:

Being a bit of a dag, particularly in matters sport, it was news to me that the wave had fallen out of fashion. So before this groundswell becomes a wholesale backlash, here’s seven reasons to rave about the wave.

1. It’s got history

The wave has done the rounds at sporting grounds around the globe for more than 30 years. While an odd assortment of people take credit for inventing it in the 70s and 80s, from Canadians to Ronald Reagan fans to a bloke called Krazy George Henderson, it was at the 1986 football World Cup in Mexico that a global audience first clapped eyes on it.

You can’t just chuck out that kind of history overnight.

2. It’s a team sport

Like Tom Hanks shouting ‘Look what I have created” after making fire in Castaway, there is something deeply satisfying about watching a wave you have helped build wend its way around a stadium. It bonds a crowd, it transcends team allegiances, it’s the way to world peace.

3. Cool people do it

Embed from Getty Images


4. Mexico is so hot right now

Have you seen the recent proliferation of Mexican restaurants? Noticed more of your mates have been going to Acapulco? Witnessed the growing interest in the Mexican economy? Seen how many celebrities holiday at Cancun? Now is not the time to be jumping off the Mexico bandwagon.

5. Banning it doesn’t work, does it SCG?

"Any children doing the wave will be sold to the circus"
“Any children doing the wave will be sold to the circus”

A few years ago, the Texas Rangers baseball team banned the wave, claiming it distracted the players at inopportune times and was akin to “giving the middle finger to the guys on the field”. They went so far as to telling kids they’d be sold to the circus for doing the wave. You think I’m joking.

The ban only made the wave stronger, a psychology professor observing that it triggered people’s ‘sense of obstinacy’. The SCG can probably vouch for that.

6. It’s bigger than we are

The wave is not just a collection of yobbos chucking beer dregs and half-eaten chicken wings in the air. It has profound links to the world of science and the animal kingdom.

For instance, the Mexican wave generally goes in a clockwise direction in the northern hemisphere and anti-clockwise in the southern, the opposite of cyclones and hurricanes. Something to do with the Coriolis effect. Or not. Isn’t that cool?

As for parallels with the animal kingdom, check out these prairie dogs.

7. We can’t let the Members off the hook now

Now we’ve got the Members off their pampered butts, we need to keep putting them to the test. Repeatedly. OK, so they participated at a sports event that means nothing Down Under. Will they rise to the challenge at the next cricket Test?

6 Comments Add yours

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    1. kazblah says:

      Thanks for your kind words – always nice to have such positive feedback


  2. The Wombat says:

    The wave is not out of style. It is a vital part of our social psyche.
    Too much has been lost already. First it was the esky full of tinnies at the cricket, then full strength beer, then the beer snake. Not to mention the stiff arm (yes Darcy its outlawed!) and the spear tackle!
    With the turn of the millennium we lost all international Rugby Prowess and if memory serves me well the Kiwis started beating us at netball. The shoulder charge is hanging on against adversity but… We MUST make a stand and the stand starts with the Wave!


    1. kazblah says:

      Wombat, I think you should be running the country.


  3. Tanya Richards-Pugh says:

    But was it actually members who were in the members’ stand on Sat or did they let the riff raff in as the members didn’t wish to bear witness to yet more American imperialism invading upon such hallowed Aussie turf?


    1. kazblah says:

      Ah, good question, Tanya. I shall investigate further after work. I know Members still had to pay, so maybe there were non-Members in the stand.


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