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The first Wave sparked a decades-long cheerleading feud between a man in jorts and a future ‘Extra’ co-host

Learn the story of “Krazy” George Henderson and the birth of the biggest stadium craze of the 1980s.

The first recorded Wave in sports history was led by “Krazy” George Henderson at a Yankees-A’s playoff game on Oct. 15, 1981. Barely two weeks later, on Halloween, a former Washington Huskies cheerleader named Robb Weller returned to his alma mater and led the crowd in the Wave. Weller subsequently claimed to have invented the Wave, and would continue to do so for years.

It seems pretty cut and dried that Krazy George beat Weller to the punch here, but remember: There was no internet in 1981. There were only three TV channels. People read newspapers every day. Sixteen days may seem like a lot of time between Henderson’s Wave and Weller’s, but that’s not even enough time to travel from Oakland to Seattle on a donkey, which is how most people traveled back then.

Weller, who would later host Extra with Mary Hart (before John Tesh took over), deserves some credit, though: Other Seattle sports teams adopted the Wave, as did several of the Huskies’ visiting opponents, most notably Michigan. The Wave wasn’t born in Seattle, but it spread from there.

And while we’re spreading credit around, the first Wave wasn’t in Seattle OR Oakland, but Edmonton. Krazy George led the first Wave in Edmonton during Wayne Gretzky’s heyday with the Oilers. Alas, there’s no recording of it, so it sits in the historical back seat.

For all of this information and more in narrative moving-picture form, click on the video above. If you found this page because you were trying to Google something else, First Wave was a Canadian sci-fi show at the turn of the century, and 1st Wave was the alternative music scene of the 1980s.