PERTH—Self-conscious National Basketball League fan Harry McCray has succumbed to peer pressure by standing and clapping at the start of Saturday's Perth Wildcats home game.  In what has become a trademark tradition of Perth Wildcats home games, the crowd stands and rhythmically claps until the home team scores.

Usually proud of his nonconformist tendencies, Arts university student McCray said he couldn’t resist the overwhelming pull of the strong herd mentality present at the venue.

“Now I know what the Germans felt like during the Nazi era,” McCray said after the emotion of the occasion had subsided.

“It felt dirty and humiliating, but everyone was doing it,” McCray said. “It’s like my body was operating on automatic without any connection to my brain.  It must be like what Julius Hodge experiences all the time.”

“But there was a part of me that enjoyed it. As Katy Perry said over the sound system during the halftime show, ‘it felt so wrong, it felt so right’.”

Having finally overcome his momentary act of ashamed conformity, McCray was able to soberly summarise the experience using his usual undergraduate facetiousness. “Let’s all act like mindless lemmings, shall we?”

“Of course, I will wear red next time,” he added sarcastically.

The act of a crowd standing and clapping until a score at the beginning of a period of play is not unusual in sports arenas, but the Perth Wildcats peculiarly reverse the usual practice by continuing to do so until the home team scores, rather than an away team score.

“So they put extra pressure on their own club to score?” McCray offered, bewildered. “What if the away team starts with a 10-0 run? What, they’re going to continue clapping like fucking morons?”

“That is just plain retarded!”

McCray, a former Sydney native and Kings fan, has recently moved to Perth to study at the University of Western Australia after failing to secure a place in a more prestigious university.

“This kind of peculiarity would have never happened at a Kings game," McCray said. "We didn't believe in crowd participation in Sydney.”
5/12/2009 09:33:10 pm



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