Welcome to The Digital Rookie’s first Blog Post! Today’s post is about our first taste of sport upon return from the 9 week ban.
The German Bundesliga, Germany’s national soccer league, kicked things off with 4 games on Saturday night (AEST) and there were a bunch of thoughts and issues that arose as a result of the viewing experience as a fan.
“Geisterspiele”, translated most literally to ‘Ghost Games’ was how journalists were referring to this spectacle, and it was safe to say that this was a pretty literal and realistic description of what I was watching.
Watching Borussia Dortmund play Schalke 04 in the first ever Rivierderby with no spectators involved a mixture of emotions. Firstly, thank goodness I finally had some live sport to watch after night after night of watching replays of old AFL games, Premier League Replays, Tennis highlight reels etc. But while I was sitting there in bed, ready to get stuck into it, I was left with a sense of emptiness.
For those of you who aren’t aware, the Rivierderby is one of Germany’s most uncivil and highly anticipated matchups. Entrenched in the history of the area, this derby divides familes, cities and couples. I was recently in Gelsenkirchen to see Schalke play live, and met a diehard Shalke family in a fan bar before the game. Andrea, the mother of the family explained to me that the hatred they have for Dortmund extends so far that she will not communicate with her Dortmund supporting sister for the entire week leading up to the Rivierderby. Last season, the Rivierderby provided us with one of the most entertaining and atmospheric games in recent history. Dortmund went into half time 4-0 up, however thanks to the support of Schalke’s passionate travelling support they were able to salvage a draw and come back to 4-4. This is a pure reflection of the impact of fans on building anticipation and atmosphere at these kinds of games, yet here we were watching this bitter rivalry being played under no atmosphere with none of the people who it means most to…the fans.
This empty feeling extended even further, from the sheer silence of the stadium in anticipation of the first whistle, the raw sounds of coaches yelling at their players from the bench and the socially distanced goal celebrations accompanied by a distinct lack of noise.
So going forward how can we expect to see an improvement of atmosphere despite no crowds for the foreseeable future?
What kind of initiatives can be taken in order to do so?
Let us know what you think in the comments below!