For two of the three past matches, I haven't been able to watch live. That always stinks, and it's far from ideal for a blogger to have to watch replays or not even get to see the team at all. But it has opened me up to a "new" way of following games: twitter and gameday.
Obviously, a giant caveat is in order. Neither or these ways are really new, and despite what I may claim neither is really low-tech. In fact, they are both stunningly high-tech, and real boons to the soccer fan away from his TV. But stick with me as we go past the jump and I try to explain this.
It's an exhilarating experience to follow a match through some sort of live text update. You have to wait the agonizing seconds between updates, and your imagination can run wild. "Oh, there was a pass up the side. I wonder if Elfboy got to it and took it down the pitch for a goal?" Or: "Fulham's taking a corner? Ohgodhgodohgodohgodohgod...."
And then when an event happens, it's a huge roller coaster of emotion. You've built up all these possibilities, so you're at least dropping back to neutral to start the process again. But should a goal occur? It's either totally crushing or the best moment of your day. For some reason, a goal feels like a bigger deal after that kind of wait. "Surely, they cannot best our goal in the 14th minute for the rest of the game. Good show, Villa!" Alternatively, a goal by the opposition seems insurmountable. I think it has to do with the fact that you can't see the players, and so you just instantly assume the worst about the team that has been scored upon.
Despite the means of conveyance, though, it really is low-tech stuff. And it's a thrill people have enjoyed for years. Check out this baseball crowd. They're gathered to watch the hand-operated version of Gameday, with the information sent in via telegram. How is it really that much different than what we do today? So one of these days, when you can't watch the game live, don't try and avoid it all day and watch it in the evening. Follow along via some sort of a text update. It's a totally different experience, and it does a great job of accentuating the ups and downs of a match. On second thought, maybe you should wait until Villa has a few more ups, and a few fewer downs.