Because life is a series of edits

The Postmodern Wave

In Humanity, Places & Spaces, Sports, Thought on April 26, 2007 at 3:26 pm

pomo-waver.jpgGoing to a baseball game with seminarians is an interesting experience. While they appreciate the nuances and gentle rhythms of the sport, the real fun is the discussion between pitches. Personal, cultural, and theological conversation is what seminarians live for, and watching baseball live is especially good for this kind of interaction.

Take, for instance, my conversation with my friend, Rob. Rob and I sat next to each other for the entire game, remarking how low Cardinal batting averages were of late, watching our kids consume large amounts of popcorn and peanuts, and enduring the volume of the group of middle-schoolers sitting in the row behind us.

The middle-school group’s leader was desperately trying to start The Wave (in the second or third inning, no less; baseball etiquette really frowns on this before the seventh). The guy was genuine in his attempts (and his kids loved him for it), but not too many other folks (including us) were all that interested (though we played along so as not to seem rude).

Of course, if you’re at all seasoned in the fine art of watching professional sports live, you know that, for The Wave to really catch, it has to be started in the lower seating sections so those sitting above can see the effort and join in; no one’s really all that interested in what us schmos up in terrace reserve are doing.

Anyway, as Rob and I were watching this guy get increasingly frustrated with the 40,000 or so people in the stands who weren’t standing up, we started talking about the nature of groups and why this guy would have the expectation that people would actually have the desire to stand up and do The Wave just because he was trying to get them to do it.

And that’s when it happened: randomly and without warning, Rob stood up and did his own personal Wave – “The Postmodern Wave” I later dubbed it – as if to say that no one can tell him when and why to do the The Wave; rather, as a child born into postmodernism, he would do The Wave (or not) when he felt like doing The Wave (or not), and no one could or should try to convince him otherwise.

It is this spirit of the age that you see in the pic above (aptly captured by Ben Porter). Notice all the people sitting behind Rob not doing The Wave; observe Rob’s detached (almost bored) look as he stands and raises his hands in some expression of exultation that doesn’t match anything going on in the game (as evidenced by the aforementioned crowd looking in the complete opposite direction); take note of Rob’s faded cap and green shirt, neither of which contributes to his support of the home team (even despite his preference for the Redbirds).

Obviously, this deconstruction of modern sports cheering practices was a significant moment in the ongoing history of postmodernist thought that needed to be recorded somewhere; thus, in the spirit of philosophers Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault, I do so here.

(As a follow-up to my previous post, it didn’t rain on us, Megan and her mother took one for the team by taking the girls to Build-A-Bear, and the Cardinals won 5-2 – only their second win at home in nine games. Good time had by all.)

  1. Our tickets with y’all aren’t until August & September. I’m a bit intimidated about the level of conversation I’m going to have to bring by that point. After a summer of deconstructing postmodern culture, my analysis of the value of the DH and my “clever” references to Seinfeld and Saved by the Bell episodes may seem rather mundane.

    I’m going to have to break out my Jean-Francois Lyotard and N.T. Wright and study up just to keep pace.

  2. Relax, Nick. I’m no scholar; I only play one on my blog. A good example of this would be the fact that someone just found my blog by typing in the words “professor melonhead”. For another example, I just finished typing out a quote that I semi-understand from a book I don’t understand at all. The book is titled The Wisdom Texts from Qumran and the Development of Sapiential Thought. Paper writing is all about padding the bibliography, I always say.

  3. I just appreciate how Rob is strategically sporting the “Tennessee Front Tuck” in the picture… Keeping the blog PG, ya know?

  4. Never heard of the TFT (and I have no idea how strategic or intentional he was being in utilizing it), but Rob wears it well.

  5. Excessive alcohol and theology seem to be inextricably linked.

    From Tony LaRussa to the Monsignor.

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