10 Questions With Omar “Wave Guy” Ashour
Have you ever wondered how the wave gets started at Penn State football games? The answer is Omar Ashour, a graduate student here at Penn State. He picks his spots, gets his entire section to chant “wave,” and the party ensues. Onward State had a chance to talk to ‘Wave Guy’ before the football game against Northwestern. The goal for this game is to do a double wave.
Onward State: First, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Omar Ashour: I’m currently a civil engineering masters student in my 11th semester. My specialty is structural engineering. I did my undergrad here and I did an integrated undergraduate/graduate program with the honors college that made me finish my masters early.
OS: When did you start, and what inspired you to start leading the waves?
OA: I’ve been going to the games since my freshman year. When I first saw the wave, I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. For some reason, one time, me and my friends began to start it. I’m pretty loud, so I wanted to use my loudness to my advantage. Plus, I love getting people hyped. I feed off of people’s energy. Doing the wave and starting it is just something really cool for me to do and I love doing it. I think it started in 2007 that my friends picked me up…and I tried to yell at the top of my voice.
OS: Could you explain some of the process that goes into the wave?
OA: It was kind of a learning curve–knowing when is the best time to start the wave. The best time is when the band is not playing. Usually during the game does not work because no one is paying attention. The Illinois game in 2008 was the first time we started the slow wave. Me and my friends were in Rec Hall watching a volleyball game, and we saw a slow wave there. We thought, “How awesome would it be to do a slow and fast wave in Beaver Stadium?” One of my friends doubted the idea…but I decided that before I get out of Penn State, I want to see a slow wave at Beaver Stadium. The first time, it was so amazing!
OS: Have you ever gotten any competition at the games? Has anyone else tried to take your position?
OA: Some people would try. I see some people trying to start at different times than me. I don’t like doing the wave when we are down. It’s funny because, one time, my friend told me that some other people tried to start the wave, and the section didn’t do it because they wanted the real wave guy. That is really flattering to me.
OS: Some people do complain about the wave, especially when it is going on during the game. What do you have to say to those people?
OA: I say that the wave is a group activity. I agree that it could take away from the game, but it could also pump up the players to see that the fans are into the atmosphere. I guess that if they don’t like the wave, they could just watch it.
OS: The big thing this week is the double wave idea. Where did that idea come from?
OA: In the last game, it was such a crazy atmosphere that we decided to reverse the wave back and forth. I don’t know how it managed to work! At that point, we wanted to get creative. Toward the end of the game, we wanted to start the double wave. People didn’t understand that the wave would go both ways. So we started something on Facebook and have people know it in advance…We want to do the double wave, and then the double slow wave and double fast wave. It would be really cool.
OS: Is their an heir-apparent? How much longer will you be here and do you know of anyone that will replace you?
OA: I hope someone does replace me to keep this going. It’s part of the game now–the slow wave, the fast wave. I’m sure there are people that have seen me do it, and if I’m not there next season, someone will step up and do it…Maybe I’ll look for a successor.
OS: Is there a wave girl?
OA: Why not? I think to get people’s attention and to get them hyped…to get everyone that couldn’t hear my voice, to hear a chant so that people know about it. So if she can get people’s attention and get it started–why not?
OS: So what is your take on the football season so far?
OA: I was very hopeful and it was kind of disappointing at times, but it’s a young team. They are learning. It just comes with the territory. I went to the Alabama game and I was really hoping we would have a good fight. Right now, our offensive line is starting to gel and we are starting to become more confident. If we go undefeated, we could still win the Big Ten–you never know! It’s all about positive thinking and always supporting the team no matter what.
OS: The dream job would be for a professional sports team to come to you and ask you to be their “wave guy”. If you had to pick a team in any sport to do the wave for, what team would that be?
OA: That’s tough! To be honest, nothing really compares to my support and passion for Penn State. So, I don’t think anything…a career at Penn State would be the best!