My father’s experience was one, my experience was another, and my children will be very different from what I have lived
Sergio Patrick, exclusive to McKenna do Esports Posted on 05/18/2022 at 07:35 AM
November 1, 1992 was a Sunday. I was in Boa Esperanca do Sul, a small town in the central region of the state of São Paulo where my maternal grandmother was born. Despite being the land of Vó Zezé, I only visited the city that year. It became one of my favorite destinations, mainly because, at the age of fifteen, I was playing ball almost all the time when I was there.
On Sunday afternoon, I gave up playing soccer with my cousins and friends to stay locked in my dad’s car, which might be an Opal or a Monza. It was the classic Palmeiras x Sao Paulo for the second round of the Paulista Championship. My brother and I spent a few minutes gently turning the car radio dial, first listening to the terrible hissing that was normal in a remote area with few available stations.
As if by magic, one of us got the sweet spot to hear Fiori Gigliotti’s sweet voice. It was the tune of Radio Bandeirantes. An enormous privilege. At the time, we were ready to listen to any broadcast, but we immediately stopped at one of our favorite sites.
So I followed football in my childhood. There were few visits to the stadium because my father was afraid of crowds. On Wednesday here, a championship final there, we’ll see the team at heart on TV. Therefore, I listen to a lot of radio, from sports programs to broadcasts, almost always on Bandeirantes with Fiori and later on Pan with José Silvério.
It was a time when I imagined the game more than I saw it. He trusted the commenter to see what was going well and what was wrong. Many times I did not see the goals, only sketched plays printed in the newspaper. The only thing I could get to besides my team was the top flight, on Sunday, on the squad screen.
With the arrival of cable television in Brazil came the first major shift. Some of the games that were played in São Paulo, which were almost never shown on Open TV, are now available pay-per-view. In addition, the offer of tournaments has increased. It was already possible to fill the weekend with different sports broadcasts. And I saw it all, collected the T-shirts, and began to compare and learn. I began to understand the game better, discuss tactics, suggest signings and alternatives in the competition.
So, almost without realizing it, we left our community, the football that was focused on our city, and started traveling the world. It studies players’ names, physical characteristics, and playing styles from different nationalities and cultures. Around the same time, the European Union ended restrictions on foreigners in the bloc. The change made those tournaments we were already in every weekend even better.
The next step was the expansion of the Internet, which made it easier to access information about teams from all over the world and created databases that allowed to restore stories that seemed lost in time. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve been on RSSSF [Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation] Travel through tables and data from ancient games. When social networks exploded, all this knowledge gained plenty of room for debate.
With so many options, we have gone to the era when it was not only possible to fill the Saturday and Sunday schedule with football matches from all over the world, but some of them had to be abandoned in order to have a minimal life in the middle of the broadcast. The fan specialization was the next result, with fans questioning the commentators’ knowledge and sometimes devoting more time to the team or league than a professional could.
Another new way to experience football that has been created relatively recently is gaming that revolves around games. Video games like FIFA and PES have become a global fever. If you don’t have the skill or patience to move players with a joystick, fans can simply use the computer or cell phone to line up their teams and cheer each round with fantasy-like play or risk some money in the different betting options.
We came to broadcasting with the popularization of transmission platforms, the advancement of technology in data transmission networks and the amazing ability that televisions, computers and mobile phones have to display good pictures. Today, the biggest challenge for football fans is figuring out where to stream their favorite games, subscribing to services that fit their pockets, taking advantage of what is still available at no cost and well organizing their agenda to have a life as well as being in front of a screen.
It’s hard to imagine what will happen. Here in the States, I’m torn between seeing my favorite team at home when I can and when I have the streaming service. I also get together with friends to watch the big games at parties or bars, all without being away from the courts for too long, which makes me feel really bad.
My kids’ experience with all of this might include equipment to immerse themselves in events in a virtual way. And other technologies that we don’t know yet. I know it will be very different from what I lived through.
Sergio Patrick is a corporate communications specialist and writes monthly at gym machine