Music and sports go hand in hand.
It’s not just the commercials, product endorsements or friendships between athletes and musicians (see Drake and just about any good basketball player).
Almost every athlete listens to some type of music to help them get focused and fired up.
The image of Michael Phelps zoning out while Chad le Clos tried to psych him out is engrained in the minds of anyone who watched the 2016 Summer Olympics and was glorified as a meme on the internet.
Before every big game, we see athletes coming through the tunnel, headphones on, bouncing to their own beat, blocking out distractions and getting focused.
The real music, however, can’t be downloaded on iTunes.
A horn sounds. Fans are cheering so loud the stands start to vibrate. And then the song comes on. For any Chicagoan or true hockey fan, the sound of Chelsea Dagger blasting at the United Center is easily identifiable. Blackhawks fans break out into song after every goal, uniting the arena in a frenzy of excitement.
It’s not just music. The cheers of fans can get you more amped up than the loudest music. Unlike most NFL teams, the Seattle Seahawks are known for much more than their athletes and coaching staff. CenturyLink Field in Seattle broke a Guinness World Records for having the loudest crowd at a sporting event.
The intensity of Seattle’s fan base is earth-shattering, literally. The crowd expresses their love for their hometown team, and the Seahawks listen.
Seattle retired No. 12 in 1984 to represent the fans, the 12th man. The beautiful sound of the roaring fans is unlike anything the NFL has to offer.
When the Cleveland Cavaliers were down three games to one in the 2016 NBA Finals, fans felt discouraged. When the Cavs came back to win the series in Game 7, the entire city of Cleveland erupted.
Cleveland was no longer a desolate city with no prominent sports team. The fans thanked the team with endless cheers. At the parade following the championship, the streets of Cleveland were crowded with hollering fans.
The broadcast of the parade featured howling fans, a sound that could not be replicated in a recording booth.
While other sports invoke music to get their fans pumped up, there is no sport with a closer connection to music than baseball.
There’s the most iconic music in all of sports, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Every field has its own rendition and style, but every baseball fan knows how to sing it. It’s a small thing, stretching in the middle of the seventh inning, but it’s quite meaningful to be able to bring together an entire park to sing in unison.
For Cubs fans, nothing can compare to the anthem that plays after every win. “Go Cubs Go!” is just another awesome part of the Wrigley tradition. It’s enough to make any fan emotional, especially since it took the team 108 years to win a World Series. Each win in the 2016 season was met with a chorus of fans belting out “Go Cubs Go!” During the championship parade, five million voices sang together, a sound that could be heard for miles.
Without the sound of the fans, sports would be unrecognizable. The sound of the stands is overwhelmingly similar to the decibels of a concert. Every voice harmonizes to create a sound that can shake you to your core.
Music, like sports, unites us. They both can show us something we’ve never thought possible. They both can bring us the thrill of ecstasy or the pain of sadness. But most significantly, they both are uniquely human.