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Science Reveals the Loudest Way to Cheer and It's Surprising

Published On 12/01/2016 Published On 12/01/2016

It might seem esoteric at first, but this is actually pertinent information. As a fan at a sporting event, you're collectively trying to make as much noise as possible. Fans want their home team to hear the fan support or they want to distract the opposition, like when a basketball player is taking a free throw or a noisy stadium interferes with the snap count at a football game. 

Looking into what is verifiably the loudest way to cheer makes a lot of sense. You don't want your energy to be wasted on a feeble golf clap when you want to sound like an air horn. 

Former NASA engineer and YouTuber Mark Rober set out to figure out what the smartest way to cheer is and his conclusions are surprising. Rober started by studying the sound at a USC football game to provide a baseline. He then conducted experiments in a stadium to see how different kinds of cheering is actually heard on the field, measured in loudness. (It's all relevant, but for indoor sports like basketball and hockey, the results might vary some because of the acoustics involved.)

The surprising part is that many of the tools used to make louder cheers aren't actually very effective. The quietest of the methods tested is clapping, the kind of cheer that is probably used most often. That's followed by thundersticks and a cowbell/vuvuzela tie. 

The vuvuzela ranking somewhere in the middle is surprising to anyone who watched the 2010 World Cup. It was like there was an obnoxious mosquito — the Fran Drescher of mosquitos — in your ear during every game. But it's not actually that loud. Its advantage might be that it's persistent and if thousands of people are doing it together it creates a low drone that just never goddamn stops.

Rober offers a solution for fans trying to make a ton of noise cheaply at the end. The super kazoo or, as Rober calls it, a "kazoo on steroids." Watch the video to see why this is a great solution. Not that anyone is telling you to sneak a thousand super kazoos into a game. No one is telling you to do that. No one. Though no one definitely wants to see video of it when you do it. 

h/t Laughing Squid

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Dustin Nelson is a News Writer with Thrillist. He holds a Guinness World Record, but has never met the fingernail lady. He’s written for Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone, Men’s Journal, The Rumpus, and other digital wonderlands. Follow him @dlukenelson.

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