One Direction

one directionDespite my love for football, I’d never been to Gillette Stadium – home of the New England Patriots.  And I never suspected that when I did get there, I’d be amidst throngs of screaming adolescent girls who were swooning over the five adorable lads of One Direction.

I should have been prepared for the frenzy after hearing a remote comparison to Beatlemania.  One Direction themselves reported in an interview that American fans are their loudest and craziest.  But truly, I had NO IDEA.

Husband, a seasoned tailgater, packed the family SUV with coolers, grill and food.  Good sport that he is, he also decorated the windows with One Direction tribute.

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He, too, was taken off guard when observing that the men’s bathroom at Gillette, normally packed with obnoxious football fans, was so empty he ‘could have played whiffle ball’ in the vast space.  In short time, the men’s bathroom was converted to a temporary Ladies Room in order to accommodate the sea of females waiting in line.

Husband and I laughed about the contrast between this and our own teen concert experiences with rock bands of the 80’s.  Cell phones have replaced hairspray torches (thank God), and LED graphics have replaced strobe lights.  But in spite of all the differences, one thing remains the same – teenage obsession.

I recall the internal pandemonium – the feeling of coming unglued at the sight of my celebrity crush – a rockstar, an actor…  I see girls quivering and crying, hear their frenzied screams, and feel their pain. Complete surrender to the allure of a star is intoxicating.  He’s singing to me.  He means his words.  He loves me too – didn’t he say as much in his song?

I’d dream of my hero, unable to shake the memory of seeing his face, albeit on a jumbotron from 2000 yards away.  He was there!  He was real!!  I wanted desperately to be recognized.  If only I was famous too.  Then life would be great.

At some point the crushing reality sets in that no, your rockstar crush didn’t see you.  He won’t ever know you, and elation gives way to depression or disinterest – until the next big thing comes along.  Thus goes the cycle.

What I didn’t realize as a teen was the flip side.  What happens to the star at the end of the show?  The tragic death of Robin Williams makes it difficult to avoid the topic of the dark side of fame.  In a 1981 television episode, Robin, as the character Mork, says, “being a star is a 24-hour job and you can’t leave your face at the office…some can’t take it.”  Chilling.

Truth be told, I actually enjoy One Direction.  I tap my foot to their music and applaud their clean image.  But I worry about them.  They are so young.  And so suddenly popular.  So instead of dreaming of them at night as I’m sure my daughters do, I pray for them.  Please be okay lads, even when the fickle little girls turn away.

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