I just thought of this topic yesterday, and I think it will be alright, so hopefully you like it.
The big story this week in sports (notice: big story, not most popular) is Wimbledon. And last week, it was Tiger and the U.S. Open. Two of these things have one thing in common and I'm not talking about two flat-out dominant figures it each sport. I'm thinking of in-game policies/rules.
Close your eyes and imagine this--er, keep your eyes open because you won't know what to imagine then. But you're a life-long Rocco Mediate fan. You're there alongside the green with Tiger setting up for his do-or-die putt at the 72nd hole. Mediate is one screw-up away from winning the Open. Right now, you want to blow an airhorn, bang thundersticks, start a "Rocco! Rocco! Rocco!" chant, let out the rally monkey, and bounce the beach ball around with the fans while blasting, I don't know, The Final Countdown. And yeah, you're reaching for that airhorn when--what? No joke, that official on the green is holding a sign that says "quiet", or "silence". Tiger taps the ball, and it disappears in a hole. Well, you're a tennis fan too, so let's go to Wimbledon...
Somehow it all plays out and it turns into a heated Nadal-Federer match that goes to the last set, and Federer has a game-point serve coming up. You happen to be a Nadal fan. When Federer is preparing for the serve, you want to scream as loud as you can, and when he throws the ball in the air, you are yelling in your head "SWING, BATTA BATTA!!!". But outside your head where everyone else isn't talking to themselves? Silence
I can tell your brain is getting tired with all of that imagining, so you don't have to picture these, but this happens in other places. On starts for swimming and track, you have to be able to hear a pin drop. Why's this? Don't ask me. I don't think anybody knows.
"Purists" of the sports would say it's courtesy, respect, and letting the other guy concentrate and focus. I think that's garbage. What about when J.J. Reddick was at the foul line at Chapel Hill? When Michael Jordan leaped in the air at the foul line in '98, with Byron Russel staggering to the right? When Brady was in the fourth quarter at Indianapolis? When the Yankees were at Shea?
Well, all they got was noise. And they were encouraged to do so. The scoreboard said "MAKE...SOME...NOISE!!!!!!". Jazz fans were thunder-sticking. Mets fans were screaming "Yankees suck!". UNC fans were...being those Tar Heel lovers that I love to hate. Why? Because they are being what they are supposed to be: a fan.
I think that's terrible, in golf and tennis, that you have to be dead quiet. It takes most of the fun out of the events unless you are one of those few supporters of the rule. When you think of fans you think of groups of people chanting and singing together, and going crazy (and sometimes out of hand). Not people that sound this quiet and this small when somebody is teeing of or playing the game. What, exactly, is the point of being there if you can't actually be there?
You ever wonder why golf and tennis was huge back in the day when fans didn't do any organized cheering in other sports yet, but now they seem like the sports belong in antique museums? Ever think that this might be why? That people nowadays want to enjoy themselves when they go out to a game, that they want to shout when they want to shout?
Seriously, these guys are called professionals for a reason. They're supposed to be able to handle the stress, pressure, and noise and make the plays when it counts. To me, the noise from the crowd is just like that worker that you hate because he bugs you, maybe even the one over the cubicle while you read this, or the one reading it with you.If you want to golf in peace, get up at 9AM, wear a wig and sunglasses so people don't recognize you, and go to a local course where nobody will bug you.
If you didn't get my picture yet, look at it this way. Super Bowl XLIII, your two teams of choice. The scoreboard reads :07, and the ball is 11 yards away from the endzone. The offense walks up to the ball, and the Jumbo-Tron reads: quiet. There's a hush throughout the stadium. The quarterback sees a flaw in the defense, so he's shouting out audibles. No, he's talking out the audibles. And the nosebleed section can still hear what he's saying. The play-clock is winding down, but who cares? Nobody is making it hard to concentrate, just 11 guys across the ball. Snap, drop back, throw, touchdown. Now the stadium erupts in cheers.
Or more realistically, back when Michael Jordan was still making his name. When the ball was in-bounded, there's no "DEFENSE! DEFENSE!" boosting the confidence of the Cavs and Craig Ehlo. Wouldn't that make a difference to the opposing team (for the better)? Maybe it wouldn't matter to MJ, but for the non-superhuman athletes it makes things a bit easier.
Bottom line: cheers, chants, and noise is a propeller for home teams, and an easy source for momentum when they need it the most. It is also a sign of team pride and confidence (or arrogance) and lets fans be fans. So why take it away?