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Origin of "The Wave" Cheer

By Edited May 31, 2015 4 7

Who Invented

You Be The Judge

One of the best parts of going to sporting events in large arenas is when the entire crowd does The Wave.  Even watching the wave being done on television gets most sport fanatics excited.  What makes such a large group of strangers decide to work together for one moment in time to make a statement about the sport they love?  The Phenomenon has been shrouded in controversy since the beginning as to who really invented it.  From around the world there are different versions of how it came to be.  Which version is true, remains to be seen.

First Appearance of The Wave

Stadium crowd performing "the wave" at the Confederations Cup 2005 in Frankfurt
This act of sections of people standing, raising their hands up, then down and sitting down creating what looks to be a wave is said to have first appeared in North America on 15 October 1981 at a major league baseball game.  This was the first wave ever seen on television and broadcast for all to see.  The owner of the first video; George Henderson also known as “Krazy George” claims to be the inventor of The Wave.  According to the claim, during a game in 1981; George was hit by an inspiration to have the crowd stand up yell and then sit back down.  He went from section to section trying to get people to follow along with his idea, but only a few followed suit.  As he continued to go around the stadium getting the sections to participate; The Wave grew larger and larger until finally it went around the stadium on its own and according to him “The Wave” was born.  Mr. Henderson actually has a webpage where you can see what he calls substantiated proof about how the invention of The Wave came to be.  According to Henderson he has several famous eye witnesses that can back him up which include baseball greats from the Oakland A’s, Reggie Jackson and Ricky Henderson.

Or is This Guy the True Inventor of the Wave?

Ironically, another man also seems to believe he is the originator of The Wave.  Bill Bissell says that during a Husky’s football game at the University of Washington two weeks after the original claim was made that he and a cheerleader at the time came up with The Wave.  According to Bissell, Robb Weller a former cheerleader for Washington led a chant with various fraternities and sororities standing up, waving their hands up and down, and sitting back down in sequence.  He claims that once this fever caught on in the stands, it kept going.  Weller says that he had been doing the waves previously at high school and minor league hockey games.  And according to the Huskies website Rob Weller along with band director Bill Bissell worked together to have the crowds start the wave from the lowest seats to the highest in support of their team.  It actually took off during the third quarter as the team scored 28 points to eventually win the game.  That is there story and they are sticking to it.  If this claim is true though, this would not be the same wave that we are accustomed to seeing because it goes around, not up and down.

An even earlier story hails from Canada.  The fans at a Canadian hockey game claimed to be the inventors of The Wave because during the 1976 Montreal Olympics, crowds were doing The Wave which was made into a commercial.

Regardless of where it originated, the most successful rendition of The Wave was during the Olympics in 1984.  It was repeated during the World Cup of 1986 in Mexico; where it came to be known as “The Mexican Wave.”   

The Wave is a well known and enjoyed part of many sporting events today.  By putting the enthusiasm of the crowd together with a rhythmic up and down movement; a bonding of the human spirit has occurred.  The next time you are watching sports on television or happen to be visiting a game, pay attention to those around you.  As the game heats up and your team is getting revved up; go ahead and start it.  Stand up, throw your hands in the air, shout out “Go Team Go,” put your hands back down and sit at the same time.  Maybe you can start your own “Wave” and watch it take over the minds and actions of thousands of others that think just like you.

Who REALLY Invented

World record for Biggest Wave Ever !! Bristol Tenn. 130k +

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Comments

Sep 18, 2012 6:38am
Finallyfast
Very interesting article!
We always did 'the wave" during soccer matches back in Germany.

Thumbs Up!
Sep 18, 2012 8:10am
psidwell
I'm older than the wave... interesting. I figured it had always been around! Great article.
Sep 18, 2012 8:36pm
migreig
Good article. I keep trying to get my wife and daughter to "the wave" while we watch movies but she insists that you need more than three people. Nonsense I say!
Sep 18, 2012 10:16pm
claudslewis
Fun article! I didn't realize the wave isn't that old. That biggest wave was excellent
Sep 19, 2012 3:20pm
adragast
Fun topic, nicely written, thumbs from me.
Sep 19, 2012 9:04pm
LisaSmith
The biggest wave ever was nice! I am sure the energy in that track was amazing!
Feb 10, 2013 12:01pm
Chasing1Million
Interesting stuff - I saw a documentary on this a while ago and it's funny how inconclusive the evidence seems to be...
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