Look — I don’t want to leave the impression that even in the middle of a high school football game I’m thinking about communication theories. But last week, the Friday night lights of Texas high school gave me a headache.
Turns out those lights must trigger a screaming/screeching gene in some grown men and women — or, to be more specific — the grown woman seated directly over my right shoulder.
I’m all for cheering on the home team. I can even get into an occasional “ohhh geez…how’d they miss that pass interference call” directed at no one in particular. But seated a dozen rows up on the twenty yard line, at the end of the field opposite the action, I was finding it impossible to believe that the random (albeit consistent) wailing of one lone voice had any prayer of reaching the target of the communication.
The more my head began to pound the more I doubted the fan behind me had any specific target for her screams. The cries of “defense” and “hit him” were simply expressions from the language of her intent…to create noise.
Later — Saturday morning if I remember correctly — I was able to concede that the fan behind me was, indeed, doing what any good fanatic is expected to do in the context — she was making noise…participating in the game.
But, unwilling to completely let go of my point, I wondered how much more effective our fan communiqués might be were they executed in a way that might actually connect with the target — be it the players on the field, or the officiating crew. In fact, what fan has not experienced the impact of a stadium full of voices shouting DEFENSE over and over in unison — perhaps even accompanied by the choreographed stomping of feet against metal bleachers. Doesn’t this (sorry for this) strategic approach come closer to the desired impact of fan participation?
Today — fully over that headache — I’ll admit to having gone a bit far with the theory and strategic application.
But I do wonder — how much of our communication — in the marketplace and in our personal lives — is little more than a byproduct of the moment, contributing to noise that accomplishes nothing, and soon after diminishes into thin air…even as the enthusiastic screams offered up under the bright lights of Friday night.