It’s all too easy these days to watch sport on TV and never bother to go and see it live. Of course, there are numerous advantages to this approach (being able to rewind a goal because you missed it while you were in the loo being one of the most notable!).
However, the fact is that whether you’re a sports fanatic or just an occasional spectator, there’s nothing quite like actually being there; the atmosphere of the crowd and the spine-tingling sense of real cheering coming from hundreds or thousands of fans just can’t be conveyed on the box.
On the sporting calendar, there are certain events that it’s well worth putting on your bucket list. We look at three must-see competitions from different parts of the globe, all offering incredible feats of athleticism but all with a very different flavour to offer the spectator….
Wimbledon – UK
Wimbledon stands out from the tennis scene as a tournament that’s as much a cultural experience as a sporting one. As well as providing top level tennis on immaculate grass courts, you get that civilised English summer experience too. Being the oldest tennis tournament in the world, this one comes with a lot of charming traditions. Chiefly it is renowned for strawberries and cream and smartly dressed spectators. Of course, the downside is that rain sometimes cancels play and if you’re there in person you can’t just change channel and watch something else till it stops. However, overall it’s definitely an event worth seeing at least once.
The Super Bowl – USA
In American football, winning the Super Bowl is the achievement every team dreams of. It doesn’t matter if you’re a hard-core fan who likes to follow all the latest NFL statistics, or just someone with a passing interest in the game because this is always an amazing occasion. That stereotypical image of American culture as one that likes to make a spectacular song and dance of everything is definitely conformed to when it comes to the Super Bowl. From an outsider’s perspective, the Americana is just glorious: cheerleaders, fanfares, big-budget half-time shows and, of course, very passionate competition. Even if you don’t understand the rules of the game, the all-American festival atmosphere alone is worth experiencing.
UEFA Champions League Final – Europe
From one kind of football to another, the UEFA Champions League final is definitely worthy of a place on anyone’s bucket list. As the most watched sporting event worldwide, attending as a spectator is always a treat. Apart from the prestige of the competition and the famous trophy, the European party atmosphere is quite phenomenal. Unlike well-behaved Wimbledon and the big-band style Super Bowl, this one brings together that continental blend of sophistication, romance and joie de vivre that only Europe can deliver.
Of course, the fact that the venue is different each season means that every year is slightly different, but the mix of nationalities in the crowd always guarantees something special.