Joel + 70,200 People + Adrian Morley =
Yesterday I was fortunate enough (thanks to some wonderful people) to watch the Rugby League Grand Final live at Old Trafford.
The event is brilliant in terms of it's presentation, it is a spectacle in its own right, from the pre-match performances to the fireworks as the players enter the pitch to play their sport and the post match coronation of the champions with more fire works and fanfare.
The crowd was 70,202(!) and everybody brought the atmosphere along with them despite all the nerves that you could feel amongst the die hard fans.
At half time I bumped into a friend and we spoke, he was there with his family and it was his little boys first big match environment. They was in the middle of having a great time and my friend beamed with pride showing me photos of his boy having a great time and telling me stories of their day. we said our goodbyes and headed back to our seats before the second half began. When I sat back in my seat I looked around and I started noticing the considerable amount of young families I could see in the crowd. Wearing their teams colours and chanting along with everybody else, creating sporting memories to last a life time.
The result did not go the way my friend would like it to have done but in the long run I had to wonder, which parts of October 8th will they keep in their memories, the result of the game or the singing, clapping, cheering, laughing and feel of over 70000 people taking in the drama of a sporting contest between two of the countries best clubs?
Spectator sports is more than a win/lose experience. It is a chance for families and friends to bond and share a moment together. To a young child this is magnified if nurtured correctly, my friend and his fiance had clearly done a great job in bringing their boy into an environment that could seem daunting to a near 3 year old and I have zero doubt that, as a family, they will continue to enjoy sports for a long time to come.
I also found myself separated by one seat from recently retired international rugby league forward Adrian Morley, the seat separating us was filled by his son. I didn't disturb them beyond throwing them both a smile when I sat down, they too were sharing a great time together, laughing and sharing opinions on the game between themselves. Adrian Morley always had time for a fan who noticed him and asked for pictures but he would always return his attention to the game and his boy.
The point I am trying to get to is; try taking your family to watch a sport live with your family, wear your teams colours, buy and enjoy those over priced hot dogs and cheer on your team TOGETHER! The players, no matter what level can be inspirational to a young mind and if that gives your child the drive to try out an amateur sport then fantastic, or if it creates a spectator for life, the calories burnt chanting and cheering are better than those looking at their screens for sure! After all, we want our children to have fun and be active don't we?