28 February 2009

An fun part of living in Salt Lake is the opportunity to watch sporting events and root loudly for the visiting team. I live within an hour of two of UNM's archrivals, BYU and Utah, and when UNM came to play both teams, I went to each of the games. It requires some thick skin, but it's not physically dangerous unless you're a jerk or you try to do it in Oakland.

There's definitely an art to rooting for the visitors. You cannot out-cheer thousands of enemies, so you have to use the weapons of asymmetric warfare to maximize your effectiveness. The first key is sitting close enough to the court so that someone can actually hear you. The second key is to cheer when the crowd falls silent. The third key is to yell coherent phrases, rather than just make noise. Words are easier to pick up on than a clap. Usually what happens is the people next to you get annoyed and start cheering louder. Then they start cheering at you specifically, sort of as a taunt. At this point you cannot avert your eyes from the court and look at the taunters, as this will trigger a taunting match, and you cannot win a taunting match on enemy territory.

Alas, my cheering was not effective enough, as New Mexico lost both games up here. Maybe if I learn how to whistle loudly. . .

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