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Wednesday Cannon Fodder: live and in person

Arsenal v Liverpool - Carabao Cup Semi Final Second Leg Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Watching sports from the stands hits differently. The energy in the stadium, the buzz of the fans, that feeling in the air - the atmosphere makes it unlike anything else. The collective experience of being a fan surrounded by thousands of other fans cannot be replicated.

Don’t get me wrong, I very much enjoy watching a game from the comfort of my own couch. And at home-watching has it’s own set of benefits: replays, better ability to be on a second screen for additional information, sometimes the commentators share interesting insight, the opportunity to change the channel, and food (and drinks) that don’t cost and arm and a leg.

And while I enjoy the stadium ambience as much as the next guy, it’s not the most important thing about watching games in person, for me. It’s seeing the players and the games live with my own eyes. Things get lost watching on TV: the speed and skill of the players, the things that happen away from the ball, entire plays developing.

I love sitting up higher and being able to see the things they don’t show you on TV. Often I find myself realizing that something big is going to happen well before I would have seen it watching on TV. You can see the patterns forming in the play get a sense of what is going to happen with that fuller picture not provided by a camera lens.

And to bring it full circle, the combination of the feeling in the crowd with an exciting player doing something incredible is just chef’s kiss. That swell of energy and collective breath-holding (and the subsequent release of emotion) when a star drives towards the box or a defender is trying to run down a play or a keeper stands on his head can’t be beat.

Who is the best player you’ve seen play in person - both football and other sports?