I watched a basketball game for the first time, a Raptor's game at the ACC.
Those who know me know that I'm not exactly a sports fan. Of course, it's impossible to grow up in North American without having watched any sport on TV. Seeing it in person gave it a slightly different perspective.
Camera positions and angles makes it easy to give the perception that the viewer is right there on the court. Because it is the focus, the outcome of the match seems of utmost importance. Paradoxically, when watching a game in person, you are really watching slightly further away, giving more perspective. From where I sat, it looked rather silly and unimportant. It looked like what it is: a game.
What surprised me the most, though, was the hostility towards the visiting team. Yes, I've heard of the term "home team advantage", and thought that it was referring to (a) not having to travel, (b) not having to worry about time zone differences, and (c) having fans that would cheer for you. The difference in the amount of time spent announcing the opening players is one thing, but actually trying to distract the visiting players during a penalty shot? That's another. Even the refereeing seemed off.
All in all, I can understand why one can become so absorbed in this. There is the "we" versus "them" that unites the fans. There is the accessibility of the game (who hasn't played basketball?). There is also the idea that anything can happen, and that the fans can make a difference, however minute.