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July 2, 2014 at 7:41 pm ET
Wait… The Wave Is Mexican?

the-waveSo I’ve actually been watching and following soccer way more than baseball lately.¬† Not just since the World Cup started either — in May I was drinking Magner’s over ice at 9 AM at a bar in the Richmond so I could simultaneously watch the FA Cup Final and the La Liga regular season finale between Barca and Atletico.

Generally, I’m fine with that and I don’t think it necessarily negatively¬†impacts my American-ness anymore than half rooting against the US soccer team because of their German coach.¬† But something in all that soccer watching has deeply offended me as an American.

Apparently in the rest of the English-speaking world, The Wave is known as “The Mexican Wave.”

This bothered me for weeks before I did some extremely thorough Wikipedia research, which confirmed that The Wave is probably American in origin, although possibly Canadian.  The earliest annotated (American!) Wave in Wikipedia was at the Oakland Coliseum on October 15, 1981, in the third and final game of the ALCS.  The guy who claims to have created that wave, Krazy George Henderson, also claims he sort of accidentally created something that was like the wave at an Edmonton Oilers home game late in 1980. Krazy George apparently got around.

And so it seems did The Wave, spreading in an unrelenting wave-like way, all the way to Mexico for the 1986 World Cup of Soccer, which is when the rest of the English-speaking world discovered the erroneously named Mexican Wave, since no one outside of the United States watches baseball or real football.  And apparently English-speaking Mexicans never bothered to admit that they were taking credit for something that was really from Oakland, and Americans never discovered this until they started caring about soccer enough this year to actually watch the World Cup in English instead of Spanish, a language which it still generally sounds a lot better in.

Happy Fourth of July.

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2 Responses to “Wait… The Wave Is Mexican?”
  1. Rocket says:

    Whenever the Wave reaches my section I remain seated, forming a dam.

  2. Richmond, California? Or Richmond, Virginia?

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