Father’s Day, Fenway, and Why Rich People Don’t Do “the Wave”

Celebrating a late Father’s day gift last night, we walked to Fenway Park and cheered on a Red Sox vs. Miami Marlins victory.

It was magic. (This from a non-sports person!) Anyone who knows me can tell you I know little about U.S sports culture, but in recent years I have enjoyed some sports events, seeing them as small entries into another world, another culture. I have ceased waxing wise about their faults and begun seeing them as places of learning and enjoyment. And Fenway is nothing if it is not going into another world. Fenway is a cultural icon.

From Fenway Franks, those hotdogs that anywhere else would not taste as good, to fans toting beer in small plastic cups, to “the wave”, to Grand Slams, to singing “Sweet Caroline” at the top of our lungs, it is, and was, a cross-cultural experience.

I always imagined that “the wave” was unique to the U.S but found that is not true. While there are arguments about where and how it originated, it is a standard part of sports spectator behavior worldwide. It is usually set into motion by a dozen or so fans and consists of standing, raising your arms to the sky and sitting immediately afterward. The motion carries forward in a clockwise direction and in a large crowd it is an amazing site to see “the wave” move around a stadium in full force.

But last night we observed something curious. “The wave” was going strong around the stadium, starting in bleacher 39 and moving forward with strength – until it reached the box people, the rich people. And there is where it faltered almost ready to die. It was as if “the wave” was beneath them, as though we, the commoners, were the ones low enough to carry the motion.

Why do you think this is? Were they so busy watching the game that they didn’t see “the wave”? I don’t think so. I think it’s about security and image. And if there was doubt before, after last night all doubt is gone – rich people don’t have as much fun as those with less. Box seats, season tickets and a bank account to match and yet there is not enough security to break out of a mold and do “the wave”? It sounds like a type of prison.

With money comes an image, an image that is carefully cultivated and groomed. It is dependent on the stock market, interest rates and who you know. And evidently that image doesn’t include “the wave”. What do you think?





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Third Culture Kid - Grew up in Pakistan, lived and worked in Pakistan and Egypt as an adult. Moved to the United States and learning to live away from curry, Urdu, Arabic and the Pyramids.

21 thoughts on “Father’s Day, Fenway, and Why Rich People Don’t Do “the Wave”

  1. Rich people do not do the wave? For most of my life I have sat in the good seats. My father worked in professional baseball. And students of the game, who are watching every nuance on the field, hold in contempt the part of the unthinking crowd, doing the wave. It might have more to do with the level of awareness than anything else. Wes Westrum played for the New York Giants and is famous for his quote about church/temple and baseball: MANY GO, FEW UNDERSTAND>


    1. Your comment about level of awareness is well said. When it’s an area that I love I see things differently as well. The only thing I would question is if all in the box seats were like you. My guess is that you learned to love and know the game early because of your father. I’m not sure that’s the case for all. Thanks much for reading – by the way, which team did you grow up with at your dinner table?


  2. One thing I love about the Dallas Maverics, (basketball), is that the VERY rich owner is a real fan who yells, cheers and gets in trouble for being too exuberant. Then you look at the other rich people who have the best seats and they clap politely and refuse to wear the free T-shirts given out before the game because it will mess up their “look” when they are shown on TV. Not all rich people are created equal.


    1. Who wouldn’t want free t-shirts?! Love this and think it’s so funny that he gets in trouble for being too exuberant. What a thing to get in trouble for. It seems much like many identity issues – the more secure you are the more you can be yourself and not worry about what you look like, act like etc.


  3. Marilyn, our worlds continue to collide. I was at the same game, also in the right field seats! Coffee was so wonderful on Monday, I’m looking forward to another time!


    1. Colleen – I am sure I saw you – did you wear a white shirt? I remember seeing someone and thought “That looks like the person I met the other night and then shook it off. This is getting too funny!


  4. I always assumed the reason the ‘upper crust’ (read that as ‘crusty’) folks wouldn’t participate in the Wave is that it would force them to identify with the masses and erase their sense of privilege and prestige. We are, after all, not one of ‘them’…


  5. Love going to the ballgame.

    As a baseball fan I hate the wave. As someone who loves the game, I consider it an unwelcome distraction.

    On whether I’m rich? if having a wondeful family, including two beautiful daughters and good friends makes me rich, then I plead guilty.


    1. Excellent perspective on both the wave and wealth. I can imagine that many fans would feel the way you do around the wave in terms of distraction. In terms of wealth….I too would have to plead guilty- just not in the box seats category!


  6. “It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy.” G.H. Laimer


  7. I totally agree that money does not buy you happiness just a lot off arguments and pure evil activity. I do not think they look down at such people like commoners, as some people with a lot of money can dress in the most cheapest and I would say scruffy ways or even associate with the people lower than the commoners what I call the circle. What I actually think is that some may come across as looking down to others as they can seem so ignorant and then so bossy even rude as like they are criticizing, but their them self do not actually see what they are acting like because all they can think about is money and work and nothing becomes before work, because work means money it is learnt from parents and those parents usually that is if they can would still work at 90 to keep their independents, persistence and Independence which I believe is in the blood. Deep down in the core of those kind of people there is a very big heart but has been taught such a way to be a fighter. It usually takes a other member of family who would have to have been shown pure love to tell them what the are like and usually you can see the guilt appear on their face, that is the heart thinking and not the head.


    1. Thank you for this thoughtful comment. I think you have something important here. It does seem the more money you have, the more you rely on money instead of family and community. I have seen that in my own life. Thanks again!


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