Monday, December 18, 2006


I went to see a basketball game yesterday (the Toronto Raptors beating the Golden State Warriors) and, of all things, was struck by how middle class the whole affair was. The cheering was quiet and subdued. Every time there was a break there was entertainment of some kind (from competitions to the cheerleaders). About half the audience were families. I was actually asked to prove my age to buy a beer (I'm twenty three but look about forty). The game even had a soundtrack; a DJ connected to the soundsystem was somewhere among the crowd.

The comparison with football crowds in the UK, even today, who have swearing, angry chants and maintain a vague sense of tribalistic threat was stark. In football you are constantly reminded that the effeminacy of the stars and occasional delicacy of the game is a veil for a sport whose roots and fan base are still primarily the unvarnished working class. These reminders did not seem to be present at the game I saw yesterday.

I think I enjoy watching football more. We had good seats and the game was high scoring and fluid but, for all the efforts to build things up, there wasn't the overwhelming sense of event which comes with a football match.

I'd like to see how American Football stacks up, unfortunately the Canadian league's season recently ended, to see if it is much different. In particular, I'm told college football is an incredible spectator experience.

Apologies once again for posting so slowly. Come the 5th of January I'll be back in the UK and able to blog regularly again.