What does amateur football do right that professional basketball can't?
February 24th, 2012
On New Year’s Day, I stood in a field and got rained on for two hours, in what must have been most rainswept match in the history of football that was somehow never called off for a rain. In a pitch so waterlogged that sliding tackles went on for upwards of 15 metres, Tonbridge Angels drew 1-1 with Bromley FC in a tight, competitive and bloody soaking Blue Square Bet South proverbial six pointer, amidst a day-long rain storm that saw the car park get flooded, the pitch get destroyed, and my shoes get slightly soggy. The link to basketball will follow shortly. Some 905 of us foolhardy, brave, somewhat heroic souls braved these horrific conditions, and paid our £12 for the privilege of watching a game which neither team won. (And 904 of us manage to do so without being hit by the ball and knocked on our arse. No prizes for guessing who that was.) The travelling Bromley faithful had come all the way from Bromley for the occasion, a distance determined to be 25.5 miles by the AA Route Planner, while half the town of Tonbridge made the walk across town to watch their beloved Angels, just as they did the week before, just as they did the week after, just as they will do next week. All to watch a bunch of amateurs, who double on the side as manual labourers and management consultants, play a determined but unattractive style of football that culminated in nobody actually winning. The Blue Square Bet South is a semi-professional standard of football that is only on the sixth tier of the English football system. It wasn’t exactly a demonstration of how ‘the beautiful game’ can be when played at its best. Therein, however, lies the pertinence to basketball. Why […]