South Africa

The Mexican Wave: A brief history

2018-12-19 13:56
Mexican Wave (Getty Images)
Mexican Wave (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Contrary to popular belief, the Mexican Wave might not have originated in Mexico. 

There appears to be ongoing debate as to whether the Mexican Wave, or simply, The Wave (as it is known in North America) originated at the 1986 Soccer World Cup in Mexico - or even earlier on American soil. 

The first recorded video documentation of this large-scale metachronal rhythm was at a Major League Baseball game in Oakland in October 1981.

Later that month a wave was recreated at an UW Football game in Seattle.

Prior to this there are reports in the late 1970s early 1980s at other sporting events in North America. 

A ripple effect is believed to have followed.

University of Washington and Michigan alumni, however, claim to have bragging rights to the origin. 

The former stating a variation on the theme where the wave goes up and down rather than circumventing the stadium as is currently in vogue.

The global village was first treated to this display of spectators briefly standing, yelling and raising their arms to full height before sitting down again, during the 1984 Olympic football final between Brazil and France at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

Fast forward to 1986 and beyond to add the 'Mexican' to the Mexican Wave following the widely broadcast football matches of the World Cup in 1986 and the final when most the world living outside of North America, were exposed to the phenomenon.

And the term 'Mexican Wave' was born. 

Today the wave is often seen across a myriad of sporting events when the crowd wants to show appreciation, amuse themselves during a lull in action or simply to stretch.

Purists will argue that the wave should not be initiated during critical times of play.

A study published in Nature has found that it only takes a few dozen of fans to start the movement.

Corneli Lambley is married to Sport24 Editor Garrin Lambley and for her sins, nay delight, attends many a sport event with him. On occasion, during these matches and events, her mind tends to wander…

She has participated in Mexican Waves in 2018 at the French Open, US Open, a couple of rugby Tests, a Currie Cup final, the Cape Town Sevens and last but not least the Mzansi Super League final.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.


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