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Go to the Rugby!
Go to the Rugby!
(After live rugby - the film and book just aren’t the same!)

I know that this is a rhetorical question, but how long is it since you last watched rugby live? I mean at the park, not on TV at the same time as it is played!


Ok Geeves, we know that you seem to go to every Reds home game. Good on you.


And in the past we at RugbyHeads central have gone to our share of home games. But as mentioned previously, the first home game for most of us in Super 12 ’03 was the semi-final against the Hurricanes.


Now… I know that we almost left it too late!


There are two main reasons for this: the first is that a live game is so different to watching a telecast that you can suffer from culture shock! (Secondly) this shock can prevent you from enjoying the experience so that you find your sorry self at home every game!


You simply have to keep your hand in. Like most of the really important things in life, you have to practise attending live sport to get enjoyment out of it.


So what exactly is different?


Live ‘anything’ is all about large crowd experience. Without wanting to get too socio-analytical… the intelligence of a crowd is the average of the whole. Some of us get dumbed down, and some idiots get uplifted. (Not fanatics and hoodlums mind you, but that’s another story.)


The sum effect is that you can be overcome by the crowd’s mood, and your will and hope (and even despair) have a pheromone-like effect on those around you.


Just believe me that this is actually a good thing! You get carried along by the crowd so much that the enjoyment is much more than you can generate yourself.


Hence you can’t beat the enjoyment of a live win, or the ‘in your face’-ness of a live loss. But you do give up many of the advantages of modern NZ televised games.


I say NZ deliberately, as Aussie and SA coverage shows that NZders are spoilt for information! Camera angles, referee micro-phones, and generally better camera selection. Even just a simple thing like having the score and time always on the screen makes a huge difference.


You really have none of this at a live game. Sure you have a scoreboard, and thanks to the Sydney Olympic fire sale, Jade stadium has a video screen. But you can’t watch the game and the screen at the same time.


So you miss much of the detailed ruck and maul action. You spend a lot of time wondering what the hell happened. Therefore you tend to gloss over the finer points of the game, and take it as it comes.


Referee signals suddenly become impossible to divine ok not all of them, some of the obscure ones.


My personal favourite looks like: Illegal hugging!


Even in these enlightened times I could understand a sly mid-match hug being a bit off-putting, but surely there isn’t such a rule. I know there isn’t, but for the life of me I can’t work out what the ref meant!


But in the whole ‘live’ atmosphere, it doesn’t really matter. Details are left for sorry-arsed web scribes to drool over. Details stop you enjoying the moment, which is here, now and constantly changing.


Ok… that’s all getting a bit loose, but thankfully some of the gains are more tangible.


For a starter you can see the whole game (if you have good eye-sight or good prescription lenses). You can see for yourself what the back-line is doing, if there seems to be a set piece developing, if there is a major gap or overlap out wide.


So many things that we rely on commentators for on tele, you can see for yourself. I have never once yelled for a better camera angle at a live game, where-as I even get sick of myself doing such at Cone Stadium!


You get to see the game from different angles – literally. For one game we sat in the DB Draught stand (which is the uncovered stand behind the southern goalposts). As we made our way to our seats I did consider that we had been royally screwed. Not only were we not able to see a decent view (side on) but the big screen was behind us !-(


But more fool me, as it is the perfect position to watch back line moves develop. You can see all the angles, the gaps, and even how fierce / soft the tackler looks. Ok, so I wouldn’t rush out and buy ‘behind the post’ tickets - but if that was the only choice for a must see home game, I wouldn’t moan too loudly.


Watching a telecast is voyeuristic at best. You are sitting in familiar surroundings at risk of general distractions (like life) getting in the way of full immersion in the game. You can try to drown out life by inviting friends around, but then you have to be the host. And then there are the commentators to listen to, horrendous camera angles… look don’t get me started.


Admittedly it is somewhat cheaper, and much more interesting if your team starts loosing really badly. Having a toddler running around can lighten a few moments of even the worst performance!


The point of this rant is to get you out to a game of footie (damn… once more I forgot to seek the sponsorship – Ticketek - before writing the story). Even those of you who have never gone to watch your team live, you really should!


I have never been so caught up in a televised game that I was amazed when the half –time whistle blew – when I thought there was at least 10 minutes to go!


I have never so enjoyed a last-minute score-tying try with such overwhelming fervour: my yells of delight adding to the chorus of the thousands of people sitting behind me, felt as much as heard!


At home I rarely shout “Off, off, off!” to the referee, knowing that it won’t affect his decision… but ecstatic none the less when he pulls out a card!


And I know that I wouldn’t remember the 96-19 score against the Waratahs as well if I hadn’t been there and part of the spontaneous standing ovation for the Crusaders at half time!


Mate!!!  You had to be there…


Let us know what you think!

Very good SG, but you missed the most important reason why Live is better than on the telly. And it isn't the beer at $50 / dozen.

The Cheerleaders you fool!

Wow. As dedicated rugby fans we do of course feel an obligation to watch them very very closely as they are part of the package we forked out hard earned dollars for.

Supposedly this article has been viewed times since we bothered to start counting*.
(Although it could have just been on the Reload button doing some serious ego padding!)