However, having to associate with the general population of sporting fans is something that I’ve never enjoyed. Whilst the vast majority are lovely and decent people, when you go to a sporting event there is a guaranteed that you’ll be sitting in earshot of at least one loud mouthed individual who hasn’t properly watched a game since 1984. It seems to me that at sports events, the dumbest people are also the loudest.
Some might say ‘just don’t go, just watch the game on TV.’ Well for me this is not an option. My preferred sport is AFL which does not translate well to TV. Secondly, more and more games of all codes of sport are moving to pay TV. For most musicians a game on pay TV means heading on down to the local sports bar and having to put up with the same morons.
So here’s my guide to the techniques I’ve found make my surroundings at a sporting event bearable.
1) Go by yourself
Let’s face it, unless you’re lucky enough to know another musician that supports the same team and wants to go as regular as you, this is the only real option. Sure you could bring your old non-muso buddies up but there’s a very real chance that they’ll be that annoying person you’re actually trying to avoid.
2) Arrive late
This is conditional of, and is actually the main advantage to, following point one. If you’re by yourself, even at the biggest game, even right before the start, you’ll be able to find a decent seat. Arriving late also means that you won’t be sitting by yourself for too long, and it limits the chance of finding yourself in an pre-game unwanted conversation.
3) Listen to music
This is the one that took me the longest to get used to. Have it loud enough that you can’t hear the redneck three rows back, but soft enough to get the general roar of the crowd. Pick music that you appreciate but also fits with the energy of the game you’re watching. My preference is often Budos Band but it changes from game to game. Everyone around you will assume you’re listening to some radio commentary. Now give this some thought; that guy with the headphones on six seats across, why do you think he chooses to block out his surroundings and listen to the commentary instead?
4. Look Neutral
Don’t go in club colours. This says that you’re just there to watch the game. The people sitting around you will soon figure out who you’re supporting, but they’ll be much less likely to be bothered by it.
5. Have a Book Handy
This is mostly for emergency situations. During breaks people around you will be less likely to bother you if you’re neck deep in words. Having headphones on will achieve the same thing, but batteries go flat and headphones break. Having a book on hand is an infallible contingency plan.