The Pile On Phenomenon

Celebratory pile on. Ow, that's my head, man.

I watched the U.S. beat Algeria in World Cup action the other day with a group of friends and colleagues at Blue Ion. First of all, holy nail biter, Batman. Secondly, as the U.S. pounded the Algerian goalie again and again…and finally, triumphantly, HEROICALLY scored the winning goal, (Sidenote: I noted on Facebook that I would name my first born Donovan.) I was part of and witness to a celebration of joyful shouts, hugs, high-fives and fist pumping the likes of which I haven’t seen in years.

Now, I spent much of my younger life hanging out with guys. In fact, I was the “token” girl in a group of boys during high school and well into college. But, at this time in my life, I just don’t spend a whole lot of time hanging out with guys socially…and may I just state for the record: it’s FUN.

When I was in junior high school, the boys I knew engaged in a ridiculous and sometimes dangerous ritual called “pile ons.” Basically, out of nowhere, about 15 rowdy boys would designate some poor soul as the target of the pile on. They would then rush the aforementioned poor soul and proceed to tackle him en masse. (This lead to our junior high principal once referring to us at “the worst class ever.”) Eventually, this sadistic (albeit sometimes hilarious) ritual fell by the wayside, largely due to changes in hormone levels and discovery of the female species.

And yet, it seems to me that the gathering of a mass of men in celebration may just be something that’s hardwired into the DNA. Think of any great sports win. Piles of celebrating men, right? It may be that there are so few “accepted” means of men to physically bond with one another. It may be that sometimes exuberance comes spilling forth from us in the most inexplicable ways. Whatever it is, I felt lucky to be part of it the other day. A mix of pride, joy, excitement and energy…wrapped up in a single, jumping, high-five-ing mass o’ men. Pile on, brothers. Pile on.

One response to “The Pile On Phenomenon”

  1. Michael Mitchell Avatar
    Michael Mitchell

    Love it. I used to love the pile ons that continued into the school and ended with a pile on on the hard floor. Oyyy.

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