ON THE BOX
Watching the Blues on TV rather than from my usual Eagle Stand seat gives a unique and rather different perspective on the Goldington Road experience. Granted, it wasn't ideal catching up on the subsequent Tuesday via Sky+ but it did give me a chance to view my beloved club through an objective lens.
Well I say objective, that's a little tough with the forced superlatives and false love that Sky Sports are now smothering us with. We are 'the league that always delivers action' apparently. Funny, that's akin to hearing the popular girl at school refer to you as 'cute', having ignored all your previous advances, just because she's been dropped, rather humiliatingly and publicly, by her former and equally stylish boyfriend.
I'd been on holiday you see, so I had to play catch up with my Blues season - that's why I wasn't at the ground on the day PA announcing, but you knew that right? You felt that something was a little off on the day, didn't you? You noticed I wasn't there right? Didn't you? Guys?... Oh...
Anyway, one of the major feelings I had sat there in my own front room trying desperately to recreate some match day magic - what with my remote and hairbrush in hand - was that, ultimately, it's just not right. No, not going on holiday during the season, I mean seeing something you know and love so well via the altered medium of television. It's just kind of, well, wrong. It looks the same, sounds the same and when Sky invent a way to reproduce the smells via your set top box (trust me, it'll be the next big thing) it'll smell the same. But it just isn't the same. It's like snogging your rather attractive second cousin. It should be fine. But it isn't.
Don't get me wrong, I like what Sky Sports 17HD, or whatever channel we were on, is trying to do with The Greene King IPA Championship (I can't help think that the sponsorship deal has helped). They started the programme up well, albeit somewhat grandiosely, and they did a lovely montage to get us all going. I like the handheld camera work which induces an element of seasickness but does make you feel as though you are 'in amongst it'. I especially like it when they leave the camera on the floor and you see the game from atop a blade of grass like you were a tiny ant with a season ticket. I enjoy it when Dewi sits amongst the crowd looking for a pearl of wisdom from a longstanding fan and who better to represent the Blues than Bernard Henry? I can withstand Greenwood's overplayed enthusiasm and permanently blocked up nose and even Pat Sanderson's love of hyperbole ('incredible' Pat, really? An 'incredible' game?) I can almost appreciate the idea of Refcam, even though I fail to see what extra it brings to the viewing spectacle, but at least they're trying. All this however, doesn't detract from the fact that I can't quite love watching the Blues play on TV. You just have to be there in person.
So I'm now coming to the conclusion that it's not the rugby that I go for. Well it is, but obviously that isn't as important as I thought because otherwise I wouldn't feel this hollow after watching the boys secure a 5-point victory. We attend Goldington Road for something else, something that doesn't come across in the coverage. Maybe it's that word 'club' again. Maybe we like going because it's somewhere we belong. We belong amongst the terrace humour and referee cat calls, the unashamedly myopic cries of despair should anything not go our way. We belong amongst the mutual banter and unity that following a club like Bedford gives you; huddling together discussing future away trips, fully aware of the potential pitfalls and agony that could lay in wait. I missed making my way round the ground, seeing the people I always see, having the mickey taken out of me, I missed the hum of the scrum bar and Nos stalking around in his apron, shouting his greetings like the slightly demented school master that he so wonderfully was.
TV can't recreate that, it never will. Not even in 3D. And let's face it, Nos in 3D... That's gotta be worth any subscription.
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