Off the couch, at the game

Appreciating live sports is important despite the improvement of the home entertainment experience

The emotion of a game is hard to appreciate from the TV.
The emotion of a game is hard to appreciate from the TV.

Covering Gaels athletics this season, my appreciation for live sports has increased twofold. There is just so much to a game that will never be written in the box score. A missed call causing fans to erupt into belligerent chants of “BULLSHIT, BULLSHIT,” a game-winning goal sending the bench into uproar and an injury forcing the star player to grimace will never be captured on a spreadsheet of numbers.

This may be a little bit obvious, but I believe that attending a game gives much more than even the best HD, 3-D television.

From a journalistic point of view, going to a game gives life to an article. At a men’s hockey game in October I watched Gaels forward, Brandon Perry, storm off the ice and smash his stick to bits on the bench in frustration. That moment epitomized the frustration of the team as they fell to the Concordia Stingers 8-5.

During the men’s volleyball playoff run in February, seeing fans with signs to “Geeve” brought a smile to my face, echoing the team’s new motto of “geeving,” meaning to play carefree.

So much of the story is what happens away from the play. At most of the Queen’s venues you can hear what the players and coaches are saying during a game. The air is thick with swear words at the men’s games. The women’s games are a little more polite but no less colourful. Even if you can’t totally make out the words, just the volume and frequency of the exclamations communicates the sentiment of the team. A good article doesn’t create anything new, but just evokes the sights and sounds of a game.

When a writer decides to skip the game it shows in the writing. To the well-trained eye it’s totally obvious, but even if it isn’t, something will just feel off. The article will be bland, lacking that extra kick. The writing will just become a verbalization of a box score. No one needs to read that.

Fans understand the value of attending a game. It’s almost impossible to get tickets to the Air Canada Centre. The home of the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park, has sold out for over 600 games and counting. Going to games is just fun. The action of a close game sucks you in. Being surrounded by other fans reinforces your interest in the game.

I would usually cover games on my own, sitting in the stands or the press box, but I still couldn’t help but jump up in excitement when the Gaels scored a goal or took a lead. At times my objectivity could have come in to question, but I couldn’t help it, I just got into it.

I had a great time all year covering soccer, volleyball, football, hockey, rowing, squash and water polo. While a broken ankle prevented me from attending all of the games early in the year, it made the winter action even better. Although the stands weren’t always filled to capacity, the Gaels always brought a good show, and I salute them for a good year.

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