Attending The U.S. Open Last Night Reminded Me Why Crowd Clapping In Unison Is Awful

I was lucky enough to attend the first big evening of the U.S. Open last night. The tickets were amazing (fancy VIP box seats), we weren’t too far from Anna Wintour, we could practically see the sweat dripping from Roger Federer‘s gorgeously bronzed brow, and even our tiny Mayor Bloomberg did one of his “New York City is the greatest city in the world” type of introductions. It was great! And I paid $10 for a Heineken and I hate Heineken, but I wanted the 3-D cup for my nephews.

Before the tennis part of the night got underway there were performances and all that opening-night entertainment. There was a band, some fancy pomp and circumstance involving the American flag and Jordin Sparks (thank god I had Natalie Zutter from our sister site Crushable with me to fill me in on why the hell she was there) sang the National Anthem. As with most events where you get a bunch of people together there was also clapping and cheering. Of course, this is fine and actually quite appropriate behavior. But for reasons I can’t comprehend, several times during the night there was that awful rhythmic clapping in unison of thousands of people that makes me so uncomfortable that I just drop my head into my hand and blush. Yes, I literally blush.

For some reason, that particular type of crowd clapping that’s almost reminiscent of chanting (something else that happened later on as some crazy Americans started yelling “U.S.A.” over and over, and I again took cover), physically pains me. I sit there awkwardly waiting for everyone to stop while I’m surrounded by people who just continue to do it with this bizarre enthusiasm that doesn’t make any sense to me at all. Do they feel like they’re being part of something bigger than themselves? Do they enjoy chiming in with a rhythmic clapping that often has no place in an event at all? And exactly what are they egging on? Because at that point, it’s not exactly cheering anymore. I just do not understand.

Am I the only one who feels this way?

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    • Cate

      No, you are not the only person who feels this way. I hate chanting, rhythmic clapping, drum circle-type activities, campfire singalongs, and all those other somewhat primal human displays of…what exactly? I’ve never really understood the ‘all together now’ feelings that people seem to have, especially in crowd situations. It makes me feel like I live in North Korea when those things start.

    • holleeta

      Those seats are fucking awesome. I’ve always steered clear of Arthur Ashe stadium cos I’ve never had good seats. And even with great seats, you are never as close as you are in Grandstand. I’ve sat first row in Grandstand for several Gasquet matches. I sat next to Djokovic’s dad three years ago, right in their box at Grandstand. Same thing happened the year previous with Marat Safin. The US Open used to be a tradition for me but I haven’t gone in two years and have stopped watching tennis. I don’t know why because I used to be obsessed. Maybe I’ll get a grounds pass for sometime this week though.

    • Jenny

      My biggest problem with rhythmic clapping or chanting in a stadium or arena is that half the people participating have NO rhythm. Nothing irritates me more than that person clapping just off the beat – and they always seem to be sitting next to me. Of course, I react my gritting my teeth and clapping more emphatically ON the beat. The acoustics also pose an issue. By the time the sound travels from one side of the venue to the other, the timing is off.

      I take issue with the whole thing. We should all leave the rhythmic clapping to the cast of Stomp.