21 July 2020
I went to the first live sports game in a long time on the weekend. And it was a bit odd, if I’m honest.
First up – yes well done Eagles fans. You won, blah blah. Long winning streak, blah blah. Multiple premierships, blah blah.
Now that you have that out of your system, back to the coronavirus experience of live sport. The stadium was allowed to be half full, and to achieve this we weren’t allowed to have our usual membership allocated seats and were at the mercy of the online ticketing system as to where we could find seats. It really really wanted to offer us seats up in the nosebleed section, which for people who in normal circumstances sit on the fence line, was a level or five too far.
We ended up with not too bad seats – at one end of the ground rather than in the middle as is our preference, but without the dizzying heights we might have had to scale.
It just didn’t feel right though, and there’s a few possible reasons.
Firstly, the aforementioned closeness to the game we normally have. We normally sit in the first row, and feel like we are part of the game on occasion, being close enough to the players to smell the dencorub and hear the colourful language. Yeh yeh, and to admire the shoulders at close hand. And every now and then a ball comes flying across the fence line which gives everyone a huge thrill. Sometimes concussion, but mostly a thrill.
We also have a lovely batch of fellow members sitting next to us, who really add to our enjoyment of the game. We missed them at this game.
It was odd too because every second row was empty, and this meant that people just climbed over the seats into the empty row whenever they needed a toilet or drink break. Normally at games you spend a good amount of time standing up to let people get past you, listening to their apologies for disturbing you, and then you giving them a hard time on their return when they don’t bring you a coffee or a pie as a reward for being disturbed.
And, as much as I cringe a little typing this, we missed having a whole crowd of opposition fans expressing themselves. It’s really hard to build rivalry in that sort of scenario.
It just felt like a regular home and away game where we started playing ok but then fell away, either because we had a lot out injured, or we just weren’t going to win anyway. Normally we can still find a lot of enjoyment out of those games anyway because of the atmosphere around the ground.
Maybe if we had won, my enjoyment of the coronavirus live sporting event would be different, but I am not entirely sure. It is the people around us that make attending a live sporting event what it is.
But it was all just a little bit too civilised.
Not like a derby at all.