The concluding part of our blog on fan participation in sport looks at two relatively passive sports that have a fanatical following. Baseball and cricket are similar in a lot of respects, both are played over a long time period and both there are plenty of times that really not very much is happening. Perhaps because both games are played over nearly an entire day, it is possible for the fans to enjoy the hospitality available at the stadiums. Needless to say, a sporting day out also can include the consuming of many glasses of beer as well as the obligatory hot-dog or burger.
For those that do not understand the nuances of Test Cricket it is hard to see what all the fuss is about. But it is exactly this that Cricket has its allure to its fans. The avid cricket follower will patiently wait over after over to see a perfect six being hit, or a master fast bowler gradually break down his opponent by consistently bowling a line to temp a batsman to make a mistake. For those who have seen the England Cricket Team play they can’t have failed to spot a section of English fans called the Barmy Army. The Barmy Army are some of the most ardent fans in sport and follow the England team all over the world wherever they play.
They behave more like football fans rather than gentleman cricket fans, sing chants and taunt opposing players. They really spur and encourage the England team to perform better, sometimes this acts as a twelfth player and really boosts the team’s performance.
Similar to cricket, baseball is another bat and ball sport with one team in the field at a time. It is America’s most popular sport and has a massive fan following. Things happen in baseball sporadically, and the fans wait in feverish anticipation to erupt in celebration when a home player hits the ball out of the park. The sport is loaded with history of great pitchers and hitters, and top players from the past have their number removed from the roster for good if they reach cult status. Their names live in sporting eternity in the sporting hall of baseball fame.
Horse Racing is enjoyed all over the world, and the fans that go to the course and enjoy a flutter on their chosen nag scream for their horse to pass the winning line first. The great thing about horse racing is that it appeals to young and old and fans can take so many different things out of their day at the races.
Some race goers are simply there to gamble, and the excitement generated at the track can reach deafening fever pitch. Other race fans who sit in the opulent grandstands prefer to study the form of each individual horse, learn about its lineage and then take an educated guess how their chosen horse will fare in a race against the others. All the sports we have featured in this blog would not be the same without the audience participation, from racing to football sport brings so much to so many.