This likeable large gal is the famous Fat Lady of sports lore.
She’s the elusive woman who is talked about, but never seen, at American sporting events that take longer than expected to finish.
How did she make this list among favorite non-athletes?
Few sports fans know the genesis of how a pleasantly plump German opera singer became part of American sports culture.
Way back in 1876, the darling diva now known as the Fat Lady debuted on the German stage. She starred as Brunnhilde in Richard Wagner’s Gotterdammerung opera. Brunnhilde’s momentous 10 minute solo marked the close of Wagner’s seemingly endless 14 hour, four-part opera.
The American sports scene resurrected this singing sensation during a tirelessly long 1978 NBA game between the San Antonio Spurs and then Washington Bullets. The crowd was frustrated by delays in the long game. Comparing the extended play to the famed opera, American sportscaster Dan Cook remarked, “This game ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings.”
Cook’s innocent comment caught the attention of other announcers and fans. They quickly adopted this wonderful woman into America’s sports culture, employing her during lengthy games in all sports.
The Fat Lady Must Sing Before Fans Can Go Home
Despite the fact that nobody’s ever seen her, sports fans know this beloved beefy woman’s role. The Fat Lady must belt out a few bars before the game, match or meet can officially end.
Until this glorious gal exercises her vocal chords and marks the completion of endlessly long competitions, fans are obligated to remain in their seats.
Calling her the Fat Lady might sound insensitive. But, this super-sized soprano, who carries a spear and wears a metal breastplate with a horned Viking helmet, is actually very secure in her generous frame.
Thanks to Mr. Cook’s now legendary remark, knowledgeable sports fans understand that every overtime match, extra inning contest or ridiculously long game will only end – when the Fat Lady sings!
She’s also #1 in my FREE sports comic book Favorite Non-Athletes in Sports!
Safely download a pdf of the book by clicking on the purple cover above.
MIKE – the ultimate talking head on sports!