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Humor counters spectating inexperience

This summer I took a friend of mine to one of her first concerts, and while I was having a perfectly wonderful time enjoying one of my favorite pastimes, she was having a bit of trouble.

She persistently asked what I considered to be abhorrently stupid questions, such as “Why does the band pretend to say good night and leave the stage when everyone knows they’re coming back out for an encore?” and “Why do the T-shirts cost $25?”

I tut-tutted her for being an imbecile and told her that if she didn’t understand by now, she never would.

I might have been angry with her for failing to embrace the idiosyncrasies of something I loved, or maybe I was just unwilling to admit that something I loved had any idiosyncrasies at all.

Last week I got to revisit that clash between enthusiasts and outsiders as I attended the Ohio University women’s soccer game against Youngstown State.

The highlight of the game (other than the fact that we won, of course) was four guys who comprised the best student cheering section I’ve ever seen.

One guy had a vuvuzela (plastic horn), one had an overturned trash can that he was beating with a drumstick, and the other two had those inflatable whacker tubes I guess are called thundersticks.

The rest of the modestly-sized crowd was pretty low-key, but those guys were going nuts. They threw green and white streamers in the air when the Bobcats scored, they sang songs and chanted to pump up the OU players and throw off the opponents, and they taunted the refs with some great heckles: “Check your phone, you’re missing some calls!”

I had no idea who they were or even what was going on in the game that made them so excited, but I had a blast watching it all happen. While I attempted to introduce myself to the numerous technicalities of soccer and slowly figured out the significance of a corner kick, I was glad that those particular cheerleaders were there to enhance the spirit of the game and guide me through the whole adventure.

Although I entered the event with an at-best peripheral understanding of soccer, I could not have had a better time from my seat in the bleachers. At the end of the day, I was relieved to discover that light-hearted silliness could go hand-in-hand with varsity sports.

Perhaps a proclivity for silliness is what I needed in the summer when my friend and I butted heads over our concert-going experience. I found it difficult to acclimate an outsider to a culture I was so familiar with that the things she found odd I simply took for granted. At the moment I’m having a hard time getting to know a culture in which the things I find unusual seem to be self-explanatory to everyone else.

Maybe a sense of humor is what we all need to ease the tension between those in the know and those outside of it. After all, I think it’s that sense of humor that makes this giant soccer ball-shaped world go ‘round.

Haylee Pearl is a sophomore studying journalism, a novice sports viewer and a copy editor for The Post. What’s the funniest thing you have seen or heard at a sporting event? Tell her about it at

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