So I just learned that you don’t cheer at tennis matches. Did y’all know this? Who decided this? Was there an official mandate passed?
Way back in the day when Dr. Smooth first started his athletic endeavors, we were a soccer family. I had never been to a soccer match in my life and knew NOTHING about the game. But I quickly learned, and soon I was a bonafide “soccer mom” minus the minivan.
I served my time as Team Mom, assisted with team pictures, bought Capri Suns and granola bars, and cheered our team on with more gusto and volume than a rabid football fan. Soccer moms can get loud and proud, let me tell ya!
When he suddenly made the decision to play baseball out of the blue after six years of soccer, I was a little bummed to leave soccer behind. But at least I already understood the game, and I quickly transitioned from screaming, cheering soccer mom to screaming, cheering baseball mom.
I had not imagined there could be anything more stressful than him playing goalie with people kicking balls at his head at full force. I was wrong. Pitching is much more stressful. Not only because people are hitting smaller, harder balls right at his head, but because I held my breath with each pitch praying for a strike.
And then each time up at bat was a fervent prayer chant to GET a hit and NOT GET hit. The bleacher crowd was loud when he struck an opposing player out, and proud any time our boys made a play or got a hit.
After a particularly rough season in baseball, Dr. Smooth followed My Knight into triathlons. Cheering and screaming came in short bursts from the crowd as a familiar face came in from the swim, out to the bike, in from the bike, out from the run, and then galloped exhausted across the finish line. It was like cheer, wait wait wait, cheer, wait wait wait, cheer . . .
In all of these situations, and at every football and basketball game I’ve ever attended, cheering in the crowd is a vital part of the experience. Some schools, such as a really obnoxious rival back home, ring cow bells or have poppers or noise makers. But mostly it’s cheering. You yell when they do well; you yell when they don’t. You encourage a favorite player, or you show your appreciation and joy at a job well done, and your frustration when it ain’t well done.
It’s a demonstration of passion and camaraderie, and I absolutely love it. You and the other spectators around you have joined in a common goal or common interest for that period of time, and there’s a connection. There’s an adrenaline rush, with stress, tension, joy, and anger. The range of emotions experienced is a roller coaster. And who on earth would ride a roller coaster silently?
Apparently, tennis fans would. Dr. Smooth started playing high school tennis last week. At the first match, the family and I congregated on the side of the court ready to cheer on our favorite player. We yelled out a few encouraging words, a few “come on”-type sentiments, and evidently a few tidbits of unwanted advice.
On the way home, I was informed by Dr. Smooth that you don’t cheer in tennis.
Oh, I said. Have you reached that age where it’s embarrassing if we cheer for you?
Dr. Smooth: No, that’s not it.
Me: But we cheered for you in soccer, and in baseball . . .we have always cheered for you.
Dr. Smooth: Mom, NO ONE cheers in tennis. It’s just not done. Even in the professional matches. That’s why you can hear everyone grunt. The crowd is silent. You’re embarrassing me because you’re cheering at tennis. No one does that.
I guess looking back on tennis matches I have watched on TV, the crowd does seem a bit subdued, but now I’m wondering . . .
Who decided this????? Who decided that golf and tennis would not be cheered? Does it take more concentration to play golf or tennis than any other sport? Well, golf maybe, but even the announcers whisper, as though the player could actually hear them if they spoke in a normal voice. Really?
Was there some universal announcement at a tennis match way back in the beginning that forbade cheering? Was it some grumpy tennis player who screamed at the crowd to shut up?
How did this get started? Why do people cheer at football, basketball, baseball and hockey, but not tennis? Are there other sports that you just don’t cheer for? Is there a common thread somehow that determines what is a “cheer” sport and a “don’t cheer” sport? Is it because it’s not a team sport? Although they do play in doubles, and you still have to be quiet.
I don’t get it. Why is that the norm and when was it established?
I sat through eleven single matches yesterday, and then through another 10 doubles matches. Silently. SILENTLY. It was KILLING me. At one point, Dr. Smooth turned and looked at me and I quickly said, “If I could cheer right now, I would tell you that you’re doing great.” He just smiled and shook his head.
So I’m opening the floor for discussion and I really want to know, people . . .
WHY DON’T YOU CHEER AT TENNIS MATCHES????