Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Switching the audience

We went to our nephew Kain's lacrosse game on Saturday night.  Since it was a playoff game and a close game, the crowd was very involved.   As tensions and voices from the spectators rose, I marveled at the difference between groups of people at events.

(For example, the woman next to me was chewing on sunflower seeds and then spitting the shells out at my feet.  I normally don't frequent places where things like that happen.  I make a point of that.)

As I heard irate parents yell things like, "Hustle!" and "Don't give up!" and "C'mon, you are BETTER than that!" mixed in with curse words, I thought of the difference between being in an audience at say, a school play or band concert.

What if the audiences switched?

But didn't change behavior?

I imagined an audience suddenly transported from a performing arts center to a stadium.  They'd be sort of dressed up and a lot of them would be carrying bouquets of flowers.  They'd read their programs and politely chat then sit with rapt attention.  They'd be unperturbed if someone fell to the ground in agony after being hurt.  (They'd think they were good actors.) They would sit silently until half time when they would clap dutifully after they were sure everyone was done.  They would stand and clap at the end.

I imagined an audience suddenly transported from a stadium to a performing arts center.  They'd be wearing team colors and a lot of them would be carrying sacks of sunflower seeds and bottles of soda.  They'd banter boisterously with each other and hurl insults at the stage.  Some of them would stand and pace the entire time.  If a line was forgotten they'd yell, "Who's line is it?"and "Help him out!"  They'd encourage the actors to hurt each other and if a musician hit a sour note, they'd call, "You're all right, just rub some dirt on it!"

As the game progressed, and I heard more and more colorful expressions from the crowd, I was entertained picturing them at a concert.  It helped me survive sunflower seeds being spit at my feet.

That and Adam.  He let me lean against his legs on the backless bleachers.  When the opposing parents were furious with the referee for a supposed unfair call, Adam yelled in his very loud Adam voice to the referee, "Good call, Dad!"

He makes me (and everyone else within the sound of his very loud Adam voice) laugh.

(I'm pretty sure if his dad wasn't too busy doing heavenly things in heaven, he was laughing too.)

1 comment:

Marianne said...

I've also spent some time analyzing crowds. At All-State Choir last year, I thought, this is really my crowd. In Carlin Saturday at the baseball game surrounded by people in tank tops that revealed their tattoos, I thought, this isn't my crowd. But there I was in both crowds. Maybe some of the tattooed people go to choir concerts too but wear more clothes? Maybe not.


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