Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Choppin' it up with Lorcan - part two - fan participation on both sides of the Atlantic

Hurricane's team-mate Lorcan Sherlock had plenty to say about a recent post on this site called 'Sing it for me baby' which listed some funny soccer fan chants. Without further ado...

Lorcan: Basketball in Boston was not always like that. The
music and dancing and all that started in the
post-Bird era. It's awful. Honestly, you could not
pay me to go to one of these games, even if the C's
start winning again...and I love basketball.

Response: I totally understand, I went to a few games in the mid to late nineties and then I went to two games in 2005, the difference between even those was tremendous. One of my great regrets in life is I never got to see Boston in 'the garden'. The Fleet Centre doesn't really seem to have much to recommend it by. My point was largely aimed at the ludicrous light shows, pumping rap music and half dressed cheerleaders that most NBA teams resort to in an attempt to spruce up the game night atmosphere. For English Premiership, Spanish La Liga and Italian Serie A matches, two teams kick each other around for two hours while tens of thousands of fans sing and chant their allegiance. And that is that.

Perhaps unless you have ever stood on a terrace while 50,000 fans roar 'Your not singing, your not singing, your not singing anymore!' at a small, terrified band of away supporters after the home team scores, you just won't 'get' it.

Lorcan: College sports. I know you are aware of this, but
the atmosphere at a college football or basketball
game is extremely passionate and lively. It's a
different feeling altogether.

Response:Good point, I love college sports, the passion and effort on the part of the players is for the love of the game and is wonderful to say. It almost makes up for watching professional players amble from pay check to pay check never really leaving it on the line. The atmosphere at those games is pretty cool however it is still kind of 'orchestrated', big bands with conductors, cheerleaders and what not. Good point though. College sports is definitely an asterix in this conversation.

Lorcan: Typical American response - well, soccer fans need
to entertain themselves because the game is so
boring...

Response: That's just sad, and actually someone beat you to that with a similarly inane comment on the original post. You know, for a sports fan to call soccer 'boring' just shows an ignorance and lack of understanding of the game. Okay, it doesn't have timeouts every three minutes like the NBA, and the players don't organise dog fighting like the NFL, and indeed the games don't go on for four hours like baseball, but soccer, at it's best, is a wonderful, classy and stylish venture. Really, calling soccer 'boring' is just saying 'I don't understand the game so I am raising a white flag'.

Honestly, that's fine with me. I am in an unusual position to some extent, I have been lucky enough to have seen Pedro Martinez, Paul Pierce, Nomar Garciaparra, Cal Ripken, Derek Jeter and many others at live games, but my sporting life would be half empty if I had never seen the wonderful Liam Brady, the majestic Zidane, the powerful Patrick Viera or the superb Thierry Henry play. I feel sad for true sports fans in the States who have been denied that because the big American TV networks have no interest in showcasing a sport where advertising is minimal. That's the bottom line. Imagine, millions of real sports fans in the States never got a chance to see, for example, Zidane's mind boggling, spectacular winning volley in a 2-1 win over the German team Bayer Leverkusen in the 2001-2002 Champions League final

I can't mention it without sharing it. You can thank me later.



Lorcan: Just a thought - it might be true that American
sports do not lend themselves to chanting. American
sports are punctuated by whistles, time outs, pitches,
fouls, scores, tackles, etc. Soccer is more tidal.
Ebb and flow. There is time for chanting. Granted,
there are minor battles being fought every second, but
the big blows only happen occasionally.

Response: Possibly true also, however I would have thought those drab, anti climatic TV timeouts at live NFL games that last, seemingly, for a life time would have been perfect for a good old chant or two!

Anyway, overall, I certainly am not saying US sports fan participation is bad, in general. It's just different. If you are ever in Europe and want to feel what it's like to be in the middle of a real, non-sanitised atmosphere, try getting tickets to an Arsenal, Liverpool, Barcelona, Milan or Bayern Munich game. Then tell me you weren't swept up in it all. It's an experience. Don't knock it 'till you have tried it.


More from the 'Choppin' it up with Lorcan' series -
Choppin' it up with Lorcan - part one - The worst trade in recent baseball history.



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Irish National baseball team
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A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports

A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports

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