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Well, it didn’t feel “lacklustre” from just a few yards away…

October 7, 2016


Reading reports of the Ireland v. Georgia match this morning, my sense of the significance of live entertainment has been greatly enhanced.

Maybe if we’d watched it at home we’d have found it as disappointing as Eamon Dunphy did ( though I’m not sure I’m as capable of being disappointed by any match as Eamon Dunphy is).  But sitting there with two boys, so close to the pitch, was too much of a treat for even a morning after Dunphy commentary to ruin.  Although perhaps what I’ve (re)learned is the incalculable benefits of seeing something in the flesh, of being in the building.

We had a great view of one goal but not the other.  This meant that for the first half, we were in the unusual position of not being able to see that well, but not really wanting to be able to see that well, because having a great view meant that it was Ireland’s goal that was being threatened.   Oddly enough, sensory privation adds to the excitement of live events.   At home, you never have to strain to see anything, and this strain is itself exhilarating.

Sensory privation also made the injury to Robbie Brady all the more stressful.  Nobody knew for a while which player it was, lying there and seemingly not moving at all, surrounded as he was by other players and then by paramedics.  We weren’t told.  When watching the match on TV, all relevant information is given you immediately.  By being closer to the action, we knew less of what was going on, which made the experience far more intimate.

The second half of course afforded us a superb view.  I’ve since heard Séamus Coleman’s goal described as “fortuitous”.  It didn’t look “fortuitous” from a few years away from the corner where he set up the goal.  The final touch might have been lucky, but his energy and determination in setting up the opportunity had nothing to do with luck.   And whooping at a goal with two ten year olds is priceless.
One experience which is immeasurably different when you’re watching it live is the disallowed goal.  A disallowed goal on TV is flagged by the commentator (who likes to show off) so early that you barely have a chance to inhale before your half-hopes are dashed. When you’re part of a huge crowd of people who all want the same obvious thing to be true, the celebration and disappointment take much longer.  It’s a little narrative that lasts about a minute and, oddly enough, it’s almost worth the price of admission.

A win is a win is a win.  So there.  And watching a win for the country that is my home alongside thousands of other green clad people all wanting the same thing, makes for a delightful evening no matter how grumpy you subsequently find out the TV pundits have been.  And with the delight comes the necessary acidic chafing reality that it must be even better to be able to cheer for your country of citizenship like that, rather than have to occasionally be reminded of the utterly reprehensible passport I’m still stained and shamed with.



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