Can’t Beat Dancing in the Street
KU won Saturday night, which you either know or really don’t care about in the least. I watched at home on TV. I live close to downtown where people had been hanging out in anticipation of the game in bars & restaurants all day long. The split second the game ended I heard a tremendous roar and it just didn’t let up until well after I’d fallen asleep.
I grabbed the family and we headed downtown to check out the scene.
It was a nonverbal ritualistic primal phenomenon. Thousands of people in blue KU shirts (“I’ve never seen so many people wearing the same shirt” said my son), barely talking, just walking up and down the streets and sidewalks with no particular destinations screaming, hooting, hollering and high-fiving. And smiling smiling smiling. And even in their chaos, so nice, saying “excuse me” when they bumped into you and being extra nice to the kids.
I felt far more like an observer than participant, especially since I’m a good deal older than most of the revelers and because I just don’t identify with KU basketball in that personal way. But it was impossible to deny the pure collective joy that filled the town.
The internet is great for information pooling and network building, and it does alright at collective emotion, but there is simply no substitute for sharing physical space with other people feeling the same thing. It builds, it magnifies, it takes on a life of its own. It allows people to TOUCH. This is why fans will always create opportunities for collective face-to-face experience. And why they will use technology (mobile phones were the obvious interpersonal coordination devices last night) to create more opportunities to share their fandom together in space.
The most coherent comment I heard anyone make on the street last night? One young man says to his friend “I am SO happy right now!!!”
Here’s hoping KU win tonight!