#22: The Wave
Frankly, The Wave almost didn't make the list. I'm really torn about this one. Sometimes I despise the damn thing, usually when some drunks try to get it going at the exact wrong time (Hey, jackhole - when we're on offense driving for a touchdown in a tight game, PUT YOUR ARMS DOWN AND SHUT THE FUCK UP!).
But then there are the Delaware State-esque games where there should be no bad time to do The Wave (in theory. I'm looking at you, Appy State). Plus, the unbroken design in the stadium makes The Wave look cooler here than almost anywhere else.
For those not familiar with the history of The Wave in The Big House, it all started back in the days of mullets, big hair and a time when the M in MTV actually stood for music - 1983. Michigan played the University of Washington that fall in Seattle, where some claim the "cheer" originated in 1981. Michigan's cheerleaders then brought it to The Big House for U-M next home game and Bo had an absolute fit. You see, folks got so caught up in the new fad, they did it while Michigan was on offense making it probably the only time in the history of The Big House it's been too loud for any QB to actually be heard by his teammates.
According to Wikipedia:
A letter to the sports editor of New York Times claimed, "There are three reasons why the wave caught on at Michigan Wolverine games: It gave the fans something to do when the team was leading its opponent by 40 points, it was thrilling and exciting to see 105,000 people in the stands moving and cheering, and Bo Schembechler asked us not to do it." The fans responded to his request by doing more waves, including "Silent Waves" (standing and waving arms without cheering), "Shsh Waves" (replacing the cheering with a "shshing" sound), the "Fast Wave," the "Slow Wave," and two simultaneous waves traveling in opposite directions. The following spring, fans who had enjoyed the wave in Ann Arbor introduced it to the nearby Tiger Stadium in Detroit. The Tigers won the World Series that year and appeared on many televised games throughout 1984, so people all over America saw it.
As a young kid going to those games, I vaguely remember all the wave variants mentioned above. Maybe it's that fondness for wave creativity that kept this aging cheer on our list. For a youngster seeing it for the first time, I'm sure it's just as cool for him or her as it was for me in my youth.
Today, I can take it our leave it. But as an ode to my youth, I'll keep it on this year's list.