It is becoming popular for sporting fans to get together and fly around the world to support their team. Why pay so much when you can do it yourself for much cheaper? There is a big market for these tour groups and people pay way too much for the privilege. People pay thousands of dollars to join a cricket tour of India, where you can get by on as little as $10 a day. However, I admit that you do get plenty of extras from joining such a group, for example meeting some of the sports stars, getting priority entry, and good seats organised/guaranteed. You also don’t have to buy your own travel tickets and organise hotels. It is fun either way you go, but if you want to save money and make it an adventure, then do it yourself. I may even come along and do the self-guided tour with you! Careful, if you get too many of our mates together and it will become one of those tours you are trying to avoid!
July 22nd, 2009 · Comments Off on Starting the Wave · Spectators
Is the Mexican Wave really from Mexico? I did some searching. Its origins are disputed but may be traced across different sports in three North American countries.
It’s said that it was created by chance at a National Hockey League game in Canada in 1980, and was introduced to a wider audience at a major league baseball game in the US in 1981. It gained international notice at a FIFA World Cup game in Mexico in 1986 – hence its name.
The largest recorded Mexican wave occurred at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 where 110,000 people did a Mexican wave, with two simultaneous opposite direction waves racing around the stadium.
Now some officials in Australia have banned the wave at certain sporting events, citing the danger of thrown objects to spectators. It is not a popular decision and difficult thing to stop, and like the wave itself, once it starts it just keeps going.
I don’t doubt his top four but am not sure that the UNC vs. Duke Basketball Game at Cameron Indoor Stadium deserves top 10 status. I have not seen such a game, so maybe I am not qualified to comment. I have ticked off two of the ten, still quite a way to go. Check out the complete list of 100, and my list.
Here are the top-10 events you must see, according to Robert Tuchman. What do you think?
1. The Golf Masters 2. FIFA World Cup 3. Super Bowl 4. Summer Olympics 5. Army vs. Navy Football Game 6. New York City Marathon 7. World Series Baseball 8. Winter Olympics 9. Red Sox vs. Yankees at Yankee Stadium 10. UNC vs. Duke Basketball Game at Cameron Indoor Stadium
By all accounts the TV coverage of the Olympic Games in Australia by Channel 7 was disappointing. The TV coverage is not made for the sports fan. They spent too long interviewing the families of athletes, delving into the stories behind the stories, and about China and Beijing.
What the sports fan wants is an educated commentary of whole events, without breaks at crucial points in the events. The alternative on Australia TV was SBS, which was better as it showed continuous coverage of some events, but the mainstream sports were not given to them to show.
What we did hear on the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) radio coverage was excellent. I wonder why they cannot take lessons from the radio for the TV coverage. The radio is able to convey the excitement of events as they are happening, cross from one event to the other when they are on at the same time, and be thoroughly entertaining.
The Olympic Games have come and gone, and I practically missed them. I have been traveling around Australia in a campervan (see website) with no TV and mostly out of radio range as well.
We stopped at caravan parks that have a TV room a few times and dropped in for a beer at the pub to catch a little bit of the highlights, but there is so much on, you need to sit in front of the TV all day to get a good viewing.
We did manage to regularly buy the newspaper to read about what was going on and to check the news updates on our mobile phones.
On a positive note, we did miss a lot of the disappointing TV coverage, and what we did hear on the radio coverage (ABC) was as usual excellent.
Yesterday at the Australian Tennis Open we were witnesses to a Mexican Wave out on one of the smaller courts. An audience wave can come around pretty quickly in a small tennis stadium. They also had a double wave going, the wave going in alternate directions and seemingly passing through each other – I had not seen that before. I have also heard of crowds coming up with combinations, changing speed, and bouncing back in the direction it came.
A few stadiums are discussing the option of stopping audiences from making the wave, as it is considered dangerous. Although this wave at the tennis was just a ripple as far as waves go, I would have to agree that they can be dangerous when people start throwing objects and drinks as the wave passes, and it can be distracting if you are trying to watch a game being played.
If they can control it so that waves are only done during breaks in the games, and stop people from dangerous throwing of objects.
It may be easier said than done, as a log day at the cricket or tennis, after a few beers, people will think they can get away with whatever they want.
My wife and I went to watch Australia versus England in the first one-day match of the current series, played at the MCG. We thought we were lucky to find some of the last remaining seats amongst the crowd on the bottom level, hoping to enjoy a few rays of sunshine. Mistakenly, we had sat in the old Bay 13 section, where all rowdy supporters are seated. The first thing we noticed was a large security and police presence. On the scoreboard, they listed unacceptable behaviour, but I did not read it as it was such a long list! I soon found out some of what was on the list, as people around us, one by one, were kicked out of the ground for breaking the rules.
One of the biggest problems was throwing beach balls. At first, I thought that they were being a bit heavy-handed – what damage can a beach ball do? After my wife was covered with spilled beer and such five times from guys jumping up to hit the balls, I joined the anti-beach ball club. We also saw around us people who had brought in alcohol, were smoking, and even one guy threw a tennis ball at a player fielding on the boundary, hitting him in the back. All these people were promptly sent home. To finish it off, in the last overs someone ran onto the field, not quite with all his gear off, and would have found himself given a $6000 fine. An expensive day at the cricket. All-in-all we heard that over 100 people were ejected from the stadium. What about the cricket? Well, after the break we moved to the quieter upper level, and were actually able to watch some of the game. Australia won as expected.
My wife is expecting a baby in April next year, and one thought in my mind is whether to get he or she onto the waiting list for the Melbourne Cricket Club. It is an exclusive club – the waiting list is so long that it may take 20 years before you are offered a place.
To get onto the waiting list, it currently costs a non-refundable $55(at the time of writing). A lot can happen in 20 years. Once they offer you membership, if you don’t take it up you may forfeit your place. By then you may not even be interested in sport. If you do take up the offer of membership, it is going to cost you a small fortune to join and stay a member.
The current entrance fee is $660.00 (which you pay in instalments as you move through the various membership and age categories), and being a full member also cost $504 annually. If you are not at a stage to regularly go to matches or events at the ground, it is quite a bit to pay.
In twenty years time, MCC membership will probably be very well sought after. My child can always say no, I see the $55 fee as a good price to pay to just give them the option in the future.
September 30th, 2006 · Comments Off on Major Entertainment · AFL, Spectators
The end of the season is here, and my third favourite team had made it to the AFL Grand Final! The West Coast Eagles playing the Sydney Swans. Our seats were not too bad, on the top level above the pocket, and just under the scoreboard.
We were early enough to catch all of the pre-game entertainment, though I would struggle to describe it as entertaining. They need to get some class acts and not just use mediocre performers that satisfy sponsors or the media. We have probably been spoiled with Olympic and Commonwealth Games opening ceremonies in recent years, where they go over the top with the displays.
At halftime, the main entertainment was the sprint race, which for some unknown reason was handicapped this year, and the winner started well ahead of the others – it was a joke. The game was much more exciting, as it should be, it was the reason we were there. The Eagles got off to a good start, but such was the closeness in ability of these teams it was never a comfortable margin. The Swans crept up on the Eagles and the game finished with just a point between the teams.
We finished the day of entertainment at the ‘after party’ at Punt Road Oval as did thousands of others. We were lucky to get in as they closed the gates not long after we passed through. We got a beer and watched Mark Seymour while waiting an hour or two for the victorious Eagles to show up – which they did for only a few minutes. We were satisfied, and ready for home.
September 29th, 2006 · Comments Off on Parading the Stars · AFL, Spectators
For the first time, I went into Melbourne city to watch the AFL grand final parade, where the grand final teams are presented to the people of Melbourne the day before the big game. We arrived in time to get a spot only one row back from the front with pretty good views of the street. We had another half hour to wait around for the parade to arrive.
It all happened pretty quickly, the players passed by sitting in the back of cars, occasionally waving to the crowd. The players seem disinterested – maybe they had something else on their mind, like a game of footy? I am sure they all just itching to get out onto the MCG and play, as we were itching to see the game.
It was a disappointment really. The crowd disappeared just as quickly as the players passed, leaving an empty street for us to walk along. The street blockade remained for a while, leaving us the chance to parade down the middle of the street too. That was the highlight for me!