Crowds are Scary.

Usually I try to  avoid large social events. As many of my close friends are aware… I much prefer a small  and cozy group of friends. Not only are small gatherings more personal, but there is a psychological phenomenon where people tend to lose themselves mentally in crowds. They forget their humanity, morality, and they lose their distinctive personalities. I’m not sure about other people, but this tends to scare me a little bit.

While I was at a basketball game tonight, I had a bit too much time to reflect upon this fact. As many of us may remember, High School sporting events are a species of their own. Unlike other students, I have a unique perspective at sporting events. I am not on the court or in the stands. I am the person on the sidelines reporting on and photographing the event. Being a journalist allowed me access and perceive an event from whole new angle. My press pass pretty much grants me access to any  event. At the event, I am allowed to sit anywhere I wish (within reason.) It is a pretty sweet deal.

Still, I need to have some proof that I was actually doing work for the publication… rather then mooching off all the perks.  I went to go retrieve a memory card I had left in my truck. I stuck a little board at the base of the door to keep it fro shutting and locking me out. Unfortunately the memory card was not there. To make matters worse, upon trying to return into the building through the door I had exited, I found it locked… Someone had removed my little safety measure.

For a minuet I stood there, unsure what to do. My options were limited. Either wait for someone to see me outside and let me in, or walk around the entire building in the dark and freezing temperatures.  I decided to wait. Eventually someone did decide to walk by the door. We made eye contact, but before she had a chance to let me in she was quickly distracted by her friends. Withing seconds she forgot about helping me out.

While I was waiting outside for someone to let me back in, I reflected on the beginning of the game. This huge rivalry between schools seemed like an excuse for students to act like complete jerks to their fellow teenagers.  One school has a pretty famous reputation for being wealthy. At one point during the game, students whipped out dollar bills and began to throw them around as if teasing the kids from the other school. I still fail to see what this has to do with basketball. Still, I am positive that individually no student would do that on their own. It was an action of the crowd, not an individual.

Despite the flaws of the idea of a rivalry, they can be pretty entertaining. Using the same stereotype of rich and poor, it was a year ago when kids from the “wealthy school” showed up in suit jackets while kids from the other high school’s student government spread word for everyone to dress like hobos as a school spirit activity.  From my perspective of a journalist, this was nothing short of entertaining to write about.  The irony of this rivalry is that the economic status of both towns are pretty consistent.

Although large crowds can be entertaining to watch, I prefer not to take part. This is mostly because I hate the idea of being judged by the actions of a group I have no say in. I like to think that when I take a controversial stand, it will be on purpose for something which actually matters.

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