Post by scoobyliscious on Oct 29, 2020 17:16:56 GMT
I have an update, of sorts.
Recently, my wife and I have begun, slowly, to cut the cable cord and "transition" to streaming only. As such, we acquired the Disney+ / Hulu / ESPN+ bundle, with the latter element germane to this discussion. Essentially, I now have on-demand access to a host of footie I was unable to see in a cable-driven world, including Bundesliga, Serie A and, most importantly, the Eredivisie, i.e. domestic games for my first footie love, Ajax.
So, I've seen recent Ajax in the Eredivisie games, including the record-setting win over VVV Venlo.
Whereas, with FC Cincinnati (still hate the name), I'm not "seeking out" so much as "catching on local TV" (we haven't completely cut the cord yet). Also, the FCC games are available on the ESPN+ app. For example, last night I watched the final game FCC played at their "original" home, the stadium on-campus at the local University (for the record: great looking stadium on TV - it is set into a hillside, so the camera really shows a wall of the stadium which appears huge as it extends into the building behind, and above, it, similar to the look 'n' feel of a Portland Timbers game on TV; the valley-like setting also helps with the noise factor when fans are allowed in the ground, which would make for an excellent game-day experience, except the "fans" tend to cheer for the oddest of things and/or don't anticipate the action very well so the "swell" of sound before a shot, or in appreciation of a good pass or sharp tackle, never quite has the correct timing, at least to this long-time watcher of the European game). "We" (yes, I think I have given in, even if I doubt FCC will ever be, truly, my #1 team) are moving to a brand-new facility starting next year, which will be really weird if we still aren't allowed to have crowds.
I still think it will be virtually impossible not to follow the local team (FC Cincinnati), as it will simply be a part of all the local news.
Which means, at this point, I think it is mostly about which teams I follow more closely and why. I can watch Ajax games now, but quality analysis of their games (player ratings or commentary on the growth of players) will be much harder to come by. Liverpool is easy to follow, because EPL coverage is well-established here in the States, through multiple outlets. FCC will be easiest to follow (the advantages of being a local) but the coverage itself will be of lesser quality (the disadvantage of local coverage, unless you have someone young and brilliant for a time, but they will, like good players, inevitably be snaffled up by bigger fish and higher salaries). Or, do I just let it all "flow" naturally from my existing habits, taking deep dives into content when I have the inclination to bother, rather than signing up for a few sites / newsletters and allowing information to be curated for me?
Who knew a world with more information would be so much more complicated to follow?
Post by scoobyliscious on Nov 11, 2020 19:31:17 GMT
A further update (you know, in case any of you are actually interested in this topic; if not, just don't bother to click on it ) ...
I didn't watch either of the final 2 games of the season for FC Cincinnati. Both losses. Since the team didn't make the playoffs (and weren't going to), it all just fizzled out. Felt very much like mid-table mediocrity, where your local team just isn't relevant, so you (and the players) kick your heels back and allow yourself to care a little less. We'll see how engaged I am next season.
However, on the Ajax front, I've thoroughly enjoyed watching Eredivisie games. Admittedly, it helps when you are a fan of one of the dominant teams in a league, so most of the games you watch have a positive outcome for your team. Apologies to the VVV Venlo and FC Utrecht fans (I see you BRFC) on the other side of things.
Just as good as being able to watch Ajax again has been the return of the Single Commentator. Because the games are not as popular, the production tends to be lower cost, relying upon a feed from the Netherlands, which is then watched by a commentator (who sees exactly what you see, because he is watching the same feed) who provides audio for the game. No co-commentator to provide "color" from an ex-footballer. Just one man, watching a game and talking about it. And it's brilliant! Sure, I might miss a tactical break-down of how the attacking team effectively set a pick so the defender lost his man at a set piece (and some of the replays we see on the international feed can be a bit strange) but I gain the ability to draw my own conclusions about the game.
A Single Commentator rarely has the time to interrupt himself and point out "you know, Player Zed is actually playing well" when I can clearly see for myself that Player Zed is giving the ball away too often. A Single Commentator simply calls the action, adds a few thoughts during lulls in the game and raises his voice, appropriately, when a goal-scoring opportunity may present itself. I'm left to draw my own conclusions, based upon my own ideas and what I saw in the game.
Well, there we go. I think you probably know where this is going in my case, but it can't be helped. I firmly believe there is nu substitute in the world for watching your club and players up close. Making your way to the ground, following a ritual, feeling the tension build up and taking your seat/finding your place in the stands while having to wait for at least 45 minutes before the game proper starts, every little detail adds to the intensity and experience.
Then, you watch your lads warm up. The club captain you respect, the youth player that has moved up through the ranks (you witnessed his dramatic debut two seasons back, when the supporters refused to give up on him and kept chanting his name, even after the horrendously stupid pk he conceded a minute before FT) and has developed into a reliable mainstay in the first team. He's so good, he'd undoubtedly be a shoo-in for selection for the national team had he played for your FC Voldemort. It's a little frustrating, but all too familiar to really bother you. You witness the exotic forward, a long shot that didn't pay off, but that's ok, it happens when you support the local team. He gives it his all, which is why you'll always respect him, but his finishing is the stuff of horror stories that keeps your children up at night.
You, as a supporter, even feel some kind of unreasonable and vague pride because the groundskeeper has delivered a stellar job under difficult circumstances: the pitch looks absolutely perfect. The smell of grass, the clicking of studs on concrete, the sound of your goalie ritually cleaning his cleats against the goalposts, all adds up to the magic. During warm up you not only see professionals at work, you watch young lives unfold. See who strikes up a partnership with someone else during warm-up, witness the careful comeback of the young Utrechter that was just getting his first starts after being stretchered off the pitch, cheered on, because we didn't know what else we could give him. Powerless to comfort him with anything else than our voices, his face in his hands crying because his dreams fell apart. You know about 90% of the stadium is filled with season ticket holders. They were there as well, as heart broken as you were. You know the buzz around the stadium is about him, see people pointing, when he first steps onto the pitch after 8 months of rehabilitation and the applause slowly grows from a trickle into an ovation. You know these people. And the stadium is small enough so that they see a lot of familiair faces, hear some of the louder voices each game as well. And when you lose, and lose we do, all too often, you don't get to turn off the tv, you don't get to walk out, you ave to listen to the away supporters until the 90 minutes are over. Because you expect them to give evrything over the full 90 minutes, always, you can't turn you back on them just because you are 0-5 down with 10 minutes to play. You sit and suffer together with them. And if they *have* given it all they've got, even losing 0-5, they deserve to be awarded with an applause, even when the opposing fans have been jeering since the 0-3 in the 28th minute, the rain comes pouring down and the ref has handed your best player a rc in the 11th minute that is recalled after the weekend because of a blatant dive. You *don't* get the right to cheer and will never fully appreciate the success if you haven't been there, al the way with the team, during the lows.
And: no, watching a game from your sofa isn't a substitute that even comes close. I am sorry all of you fans that don't have a football team around weherever you are in the world. I can consider you sympathisers and supporters, but being there for all the glory, pain, suffering, hearbreak, the personal connection with players and the team, the stories and personalities that pass you by, there is no substitute. The team is always somewhere on your mind. I pass the stadium a couple of times a month, even though I live in a completely different part if the city. Everytime I pass it, I am reminded of some intense moment. Win or lose. Dancing on the buses on the way back the season we escaped relegation in the dying seconds @twente (Google Hans Visser for the season).
Scoobs: Watching a game on tv is better than nothing, and if a certain style of play appeals to you, then by all means watch some more. But it'll never ever even come close to supporting a team that you can actually visit. There's a reason stadiums are fully packed, even when it's freezing, the coffee is horrible, the beer is watered down, the grounds are impossible to get to, the plastic seats are uncomfortable and the idiot behind you persists in bellowing the weirdest instructions all game long, stright into your ear. It is just 10.000 times better to be there, where and when it happens. To share that pain and joy, to really live the game, feel the joy. It also turns the players from 2-dimensional stars in the international football soap opera into young men enjoying what they do, feeling despair, being insecure or over-confident, being human. For me, I can't connect with a team in any really meaningful way unless I have seen them play over a period of time, enough time to turn the players from names and numbers into personalities and people and know what they're made off. A lot of it is on display during the moments the cameras are off, that's when it's not just about the game, it's about the people that play it and ultimately make your club into what it is.