Admittedly there were only a thousand fans, which isn’t many in a 24,000 seat stadium. But, I hadn’t been to a sporting event since January of last year. Which made Saturday’s event special.
It wasn’t even a game, just a practice – but a lot more fun than watching the Olympics on television. After not having played in front of fans since 2019, the Ottawa RedBlacks of the Canadian Football League allowed a select few into Frank Clair Stadium to watch those trying to make this year’s squad show what they could do.
It certainly wasn’t as exciting as during the season. CFL practices aren’t completely non-contact, but in attempt to reduce injuries and prolong careers, there isn’t the same intensity as there would be in a game. But it was so nice to once again be with a “crowd” cheering on players who were competing hard for a spot on the team.
The last time I attended a game of any sort was in January 2020 when I took a friend visiting from Iraq to see the Freiburg Wolves hockey team. I had planned on catching more hockey and some soccer games in Germany in 2020, and some CFL and NHL games on visits to Canada, but the pandemic put an end to those plans. I didn’t even get to watch Sulzburg FC play.
I wouldn’t describe myself as a sports fanatic. I follow a number of professional leagues very loosely. Living in Germany I wasn’t interested in staying up late to watch evening games in North America.
That meant I didn’t watch baseball’s World Series, or American football’s Super Bowl. I don’t know who won the Canadian Premier League (soccer) championship last year. I’m sure I read about all these events online, but I didn’t retain the information. It just wasn’t the same.
Which means I am looking forward to attending football and hockey games this fall as the receding pandemic makes this possible once more. Saturday was just a foretaste.
What about you? Are you looking forward to once again attending sporting events? What about the theatre and concerts? Do you think people will return in numbers and fill seats like we did in 2019?
Or is there still caution about being in groups? How long do you think that will last?
If I told you I have an extra ticket for the next game, are you interested in going with me?