Who to blame for “the wave”

As I was scanning through the site I came upon a comment on my Cheeseheads origin piece with the reader wanting to know who invented “The Wave,” that crowd pleaser at some many sporting events, so they could “kick him in the groin.”

I looked at several sources and they and the fine folks at Wikipedia (is there anything they don’t know?) say that “The Wave” has several origins. It is said to go back as early as the 1950’s in Monterrey, Mexico during a football match (that’s soccer for the internationally illiterate) between Tigres UANL and C.F. Monterrey Rayados. During halftime players were taking longer than expected to return to the field and the crowd grew anxious. Organizers tried to entertain the crowd before they got rowdy – imagine that, a rowdy crowd at a soccer game – by throwing match balls as presents. The crowds got into it with cheering and the “La Ola” or “The Wave” made its way around the stadium.

Others claim that “The Wave” was created at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal and later adopted by the National Hockey league (those wacky Canadians). There are even more who claim to have created this maddening craze, but why bore you with all of them. This is a baseball site after all. Not a history class on annoying pop culture.

The guy you want to find and kick in the groin for “The Wave” as we know it today is someone who goes by the name of Krazy George, or George Henderson as his parents and one or two of his friends know him as. Krazy George claims he invented “The Wave” on October 15, 1981 at the nationally televised American League Championship Series between the Oakland A’s and the New York Yankees at the Oakland Coliseum as part of Krazy’s cheerleading routine. The idea was to lead the crowd by jumping to their feet a few seconds after the crowd next to them.

Now this is where it gets just plain nuts.

Several years ago supporters at the University of Washington demanded that Krazy George take down his website claiming that they were the creator of “The Wave.” They say they did it first during a homecoming football game against Stanford in 1981. Problem is that their game took place on Oct. 31, while Krazy George brought the crowds to their feet on Oct. 15. You’d think these college kids could do the math and figure that out.

Thankfully the Krazy George refused to remove his site and to this day takes credit for “The Wave” and is the guy you want to kick in the groin.

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