Joy, disbelief, despair, then pure elation.
All of these emotions were overwhelming present among the drama and ecstasy unfolding at Carrow Road between Norwich and Millwall. And all of these emotions were experienced 3,302 miles away from the pitch in a small college dorm room in Boston, MA.
Watching a low-quality feed overlaid by Chris Goreham’s always outstanding commentary, seeing Teemu Pukki cap off a slick flowing move spanning the entirety of the pitch, the pure rush of happiness almost made me feel like I was at the stadium, going mad in the company of 25,000 other fans.
This new age of technology makes it easier and easier to support your club from around the world, whether it be through twitter updates, audio streams, or even watching the game online. After every match day, you can always count on multiple sets of player ratings, breakdowns, and opinion pieces letting you know exactly what happened even if you couldn’t watch.
There was recently the introduction of IFollow for Football League clubs, which allows fans abroad to watch and listen to games live. NBC Sports’ deal with the Premier League allows American fans to watch all of the Premier League games live.
And despite these new ways to be a part of the action, none of them can rival the experience of being there.
When I was 6 years old, I attended my only ever game at Carrow Road.
It was 2006, and Norwich’s U23s were playing against MK Dons on a chilly weekday night. I had just been prescribed with glasses, which I didn’t have yet, as first grade me didn’t realise not being able to see was a big deal.
And there, sitting in the stand, watching play unfold as I watched from my position on the halfway line, in the biting cold, having my dad explain to me what was happening on the field, with a not even half full stadium, was one of the best memories I’ve ever had.
The experience of going to the stadium you see your team play in every week is incredible, and a feeling that many fans take for granted.
So it’s only natural that after the end of an incredible game last Saturday, I watched the clip of that goal as many times as I could, trying to prolong that feeling of solidarity with the entire fan base. Getting a glimpse into the frenzy around the stadium is the closest a foreign fan can get to that familial atmosphere between fans.
As a kid whose dad grew up in North Walsham and was a season ticket holder in the Barclay for numerous years, I’ve grown up with stories of the atmosphere when “On the Ball City” is ringing around the ground and heard the tales from that magical 92/93 season.
And while I’ve been to sporting events here in the States, no Major League Soccer game, no American football game, or Major League Baseball game can rival the intensity of an East Anglican derby. And no fans in football can rival the passion of Daniel Farke’s Yellow Army.