You do have a different experience when you're at a live game, seeing the pitch and the players (very near at West Brom) and watching the spectators' reactions through a game and reacting yourself. At West Brom I had the advantage of not being too involved in one team, although it would have been nice to see the home side doing better than the 2-3 loss. There wasn't that strange and obsessive sense of anxiety and personal loss in what's after all "only a game" that comes with being bound up with a local side.
I've lost touch with who's winning in which leagues when it comes to county and one-day cricket, but it didn't matter this evening, I do enjoy and follow cricket a bit more and used to be a junior member at Warwickshire (watching not playing) and thought a bit of a couple of scenes I still have in mind of seeing players come off the pitch, and getting autographs as boys always do, famous players then and still, looking back, and of being high in an old stand as two of the West Indian greats batting for their county side.
Another, vaguely, being at the ground with my mother as the well-known local opener knocked the ball around before getting out.
How we remember things, scenes, snapshots, a feeling maybe, only then the word or words that attach themselves and cling in the telling of stories. Names in the autograph book, vaguely, perhaps, the handwriting, more the colour, shape, maybe size of the blank notebook for autographs.
Did I think that decades later I would recall, even hazily, those scenes? Did I think that decades later I would be, and that others I saw, much older, would become me in years?
No, and another pleasure of the moment. Sport, whilst prepared, is of the moment and created from one moment to the next, from afresh, using the mix of talents and people and what happens in improvisation.
We need sport, sport as well as art and literature, sport as a kind of stuff of life or reflection in itself.
If you can afford it, get along to a match, if not, then do think of local smaller sides and amateurs just having kick-arounds in the park on a Sunday.
Birmingham has Warwickshire CCC, and Worcester is 40 minutes on the train. For football there's Aston Villa and Birmingham City and nearby the town and club West Bromwich, and Wolverhampton Wanderers.