This past Satuday I went to the Canucks game–my first game in a couple of years. North American sports arenas are, of course, obsessed with distracting you at every stoppage in play. One common tactic is to show people in the crowd on the Jumbotron (or whatever it’s called–the giant cube of screens in the middle of the arena).
Most people, when they recognize themselves on the Jumbotron, seem utterly delighted to be shown to 20,000 other people. I’d say that the ratio of delight to embarrassment was 90% to 10%.
I started wondering about why this was. Surely if you asked those delighted people to give, say, a three-minute speech in front of 50 people many of them would be terrified. And yet they’re pleased to dance, flash the devil horns or otherwise act zaney for 20,000. Why is this?
One side note on this: I’ve got a friend who fears that she won’t recognize herself should she be shown on the Jumbotron. She routinely makes a subtle, peculiar hand gesture as the camera pans the crowd in order to spot herself.