I have grown up watching sports my whole life, particularly rugby. However, other than the odd local match played on lopsided school pitches, I have enjoyed all of them on a rectangular screen either in my living room or in a nearby boozer.
There was a good chance during these occasions watching the game that the conversation of experiencing the match live and ‘is it worth it’ would come up. Like many people, the idea of splashing ten pounds on entry to a club is an emotionally crippling prospect for me. So, forking out fifty pounds on seats to a game to settle this debate for myself was something I was very hesitant to do. However, as luck would have it, a mate contacted me that week saying he had a spare four tickets going to the Bristol Bears vs Bath game at Twickenham. I jumped at the chance; now I would finally get to settle my pub debate.
On April the 4th I was London-bound to see if the atmosphere of the live event would trump the comfort of the pub and if It was worth the price on the ticket. After meeting up with my mates at one of their flats, we headed to the game armed with nothing more than our tickets and the four-pack of lager to chin beforehand. We arrived, sensing the anticipation in the air as soon as we entered the stadium. People flooded the 80,000-capacity space. I arrived at our seats to find we were in front of the centre of the pitch, a pleasant surprise. Not long after sitting down, the music started to build along with the mood, the teams entered, and the game was on its way. The game went in a blur of primal screaming, chaotic hand gestures and binge drinking. In all honesty, I left barely remembering the game, including that Bristol, the team I came to support, had lost 26-19.
So, in conclusion to the big question ‘Is it worth it?’. Yes, you might have to spend half your time in the stadium unpleasantly bending your neck to odd angles to see what is going on. You also might have to inconveniently queue for half an hour with a bunch of rowdy fans to get a beer. But the positive outweighs the negative. Watching people who have mastered their craft play their hearts out surrounded by a sea of colour made of sport shirts and people cheering in a beautiful harmony of drunken slurs is not something that you can capture on camera. What I would say is don’t go splashing your cash every weekend on the game. Sometimes convenience is vital and watching it on your television or in the pub is needed. But if like me it’s a one-off, don’t let yourself get left out of experiencing the tribal phenomenon which is live sports with your friends.
Featured image: Andrew Davey