Of Cancelled Matches and Empty Arenas | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 02, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:42 PM, April 02, 2020

Of Cancelled Matches and Empty Arenas

We are living in a strange time. I think for the first time in a while, people are promoting staying at home over going out and "carpe diem", or whatever is the general jazz most motivational speakers like to throw your way.

Now, staying at home isn't the worst thing in the world. You get to binge your favourite shows, catch up on some reading, play all those games you have been storing up in your Steam library and so much more.

This particular pandemic has been a hard time for us sports fans, who like to spend our Sunday nights watching the English Premier League (EPL) and have been anticipating the upcoming UEFA Euro 2020, which has now been postponed to 2021.

We did, however, get a short period of time when football matches were played in empty arenas because while mass gatherings had been essentially banned, the associations governing individual football leagues still decided to carry on with matches behind closed doors, as rescheduling the games would have been quite difficult to accommodate.

The sight of the empty arenas was haunting, and it was the first time I got to think about just how much of an impact crowds have on these games. It isn't just the empty seats either, but the reactions, chants, cheers and jeers that fans also bring into the stadiums.

Another sport -- or "sports entertainment" being a more accurate word -- that is still continuing in the empty-arena-style is professional wrestling. Both the WWE and AEW are carrying on their shows, with zero attendees and a minimum number of staff members.

But if anything, their shows are a confirmation of just how essential a crowd really is. With no fans present to chant the regular "this is awesome", "what?", "boom", etc. it no longer feels like a wrestling show.

So while we continue to remain indoors, I wanted to throw some suggestions out there which helped, if not quench, at least somewhat satisfy my need for some of my favourite sports.

Football fans can seek comfort in playing FIFA with your friends -- online, of course -- or even in manager mode. Football Manager is another great alternative that is guaranteed to give you hours of entertainment.

Wrestling fans can resort to "watch parties" via Discord or Kast with their friends. Both the WWE and AEW YouTube channels have plenty of wrestling content to keep you occupied for weeks. If not, the WWE has promised to give fans access to a big chunk of their network to compensate for the lack of live wrestling content. Maybe start career mode in one of the games 2K makes for WWE (would not recommend 2K20 though).

You may assume that cricket and Liverpool fans are doomed to an endless barrage of sadness. However, fans of cricket can try out the new Cricket 19. Liverpool fans can possibly take to photoshopping Klopp lifting the trophy along with his team? I don't know, whatever works.

If you're someone slightly more creative than me and have already come up with a more interesting way to satisfy your appetite for some of the above, hit me up. Help a brother out.


Aaqib is stuck in an existential crisis loop. Send help at aaqibhasib94@gmail.com

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