How Henrying took over the Internet
It’s become Thierry Henry-approved. Tim Cahill thinks it’s fantastic. Lee Dixon’s doing it. KICKTV started the trend, and now it’s reached the point of complete Internet domination. Everywhere from The New York Times to Sports Illustrated to L'Equipe has covered the meme as it’s risen.
During the match between New York Bulls and Houston Dynamo in MLS, Thierry Henry scored a goal 47 minutes into the first half and immediately ran to lean against the Dynamo’s goalpost to celebrate his goal. It seemed like it had to be a one and done deal. It had to have been… But then a week later, Henry once again staged the same ceremony after scoring the first goal during a season match against Toronto FC.
The meme and ensuing chaos
Working with The Gothamist’s Dan Dickinson and the talented Luke Barclay, KICKTV created an immense Henrying 101 graphic. It spread like wildfire on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and everywhere else that people go not to do work. At the same time, the KICKTV crew were joined by Arsenal and MLS fans to exhaust Photoshop for all that it’s worth. Within an hour of the initial graphic dropping, there were dozens of images of Henry superimposed in The Lion King, Game of Thrones, etc… (The best can be found here) Soon enough on Thursday night, #Henrying was trending in London, New York City, and a number of other cities.
Henry on #Henrying:
With journalists tracking #Henrying closely from Thursday afternoon to Friday morning, it was no surprise that it came up as a talking point at the New York Red Bulls’ training session.
When asked about #Henrying, Henry said he aware of it and talked about the meta experience: “The guys showed me some of the pictures. It’s kind of funny at the end of the day. I have nothing behind the celebration. It’s true. I just needed a rest. I stopped there, I saw the post, I stopped in Houston. I saw the post the other day, I was basically by it, so I stopped right there. Now everybody is doing stuff on internet with it, so I’m happy, pleased, it’s funny.”
The barrage of photoshopping has run its course at this point, and now thousands are posting photos of themselves Henrying, with or without a goal preceding the act. Former Arsenal man Lee Dixon even did it before Chelsea-Fulham.
It’s easy to be cynical about meme-culture, but the thing that stands out for me is that Thierry Henry has been a walking, talking, scoring meme throughout his career. He is larger than life, and floats from one legendary moment to another. Having Thierry condensed to this form, a nonchalant lean, has an air of simplicity that works so well and captures the man (the legend, etc).
Sometimes it’s healthy to take a step back and, well, embrace an image of Thierry Henry stopping The Hand of God. It certainly made our weekend. And if you’re Henrying, send it our way.