Stadium crowd knows how to pump up volume


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‘All right Winnipeg,” Dave Wheeler’s voice boomed over the speakers, “Let’s get loud in here.”

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/09/2011 (4038 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

‘All right Winnipeg,” Dave Wheeler’s voice boomed over the speakers, “Let’s get loud in here.”

And so they did: there were the chants, the jeers, the noisemakers and the jeers. All of it a wall of sound blasting across Canad Inns Stadium on Sunday for the annual Banjo Bowl. “That’s a Winnipeeeegggg… FIRST DOWN!”

True, no fan-made sonic onslaught could save the Bombers from being trounced 45-23 by the Saskatchewan Roughriders. But this is still Swaggerville, and a little dent on the win-loss record won’t drown out the passion of the fans: If games were won and lost on the strength of the cheers alone, then surely the Big Blue would be eight-and-two on the year, not seven-and-three.

It has been said, after all, that Canad Inns Stadium is the loudest field in the league. “This year, without a doubt it is,” declared Wheeler, minutes before grabbing a microphone and slipping onto the field on Sunday. “You can tell these fans wear their hearts on their sleeves. The excitement here is second to none.”

For eight years, the Power 97 host has served as the Bombers’ on-field announcer. When the voices of the crowd start to dwindle, he’s the guy who whips ’em back up — and it’s not such a challenge to make 30,000 people go nuts.

“I’ve got the easiest job in the world,” Wheeler said.

“The fans are already loud, I’m just reminding them to be loud. And this year, the noise level is as loud as it can be from the opening kickoff.”

To test this theory at the Banjo Bowl, we whipped out an iPhone with a simple decibel-reading app, and turned it towards those cheering voices. Turns out, Wheeler was right: From the back of Section A, that first 60-yard kickoff was good for 95 dB.

That’s about as loud as a subway car streaking towards you down the tunnel. It’s also loud enough that prolonged exposure could cause hearing loss — and did we mention that fans in that section don’t even drink during the game?

How about a section that does: Up in the echo chamber behind party-hearty Section S, fans went berserk after receiver Terrence Edwards hauled in a toss, sending the decibel meter soaring past 99 dB.

Is that good enough to make the Canad Inns Stadium the loudest field in the league? “As a Bombers fan, I don’t doubt that it is,” mused Bonnie Johnston, an audiologist who has heard the hubbub first-hand.

With her experienced ear, Johnston guesses that when the game’s going well, the Bomber defence is on and fans are making the most thundering din, the mayhem can reach 110 dB — like standing next to a power saw.

If being a Bomber fan was a full-time job, safety regulations wouldn’t let fans listen to that noise for more than a minute without hearing protection. But really, how many fans wear earplugs to a football game?

Melissa Martin

Melissa Martin

Melissa Martin reports and opines for the Winnipeg Free Press.

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