What a night

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Last night I was working on the audio description team for my local football team Plymouth Argyle, as they won their Football League 2 playoff semi-final against Portsmouth, to win a place in the final at Wembley on May 30th. After commentating on the team through years of downfall from the Championship to League 2 it was great to finally have a night of success at our ground Home Park.

It has been twenty years since we were last at Wembley and our fans are dreaming of Wembley success again this year. Very rarely is our home ground a sellout for a game and that is a shame, as it is always such a great atmosphere when it is.

I was there

The game last night wasn’t a classic by any stretch, but that didn’t matter in a way. When that final whistle blew nobody cared about how good the game was, everyone was just rejoicing and joining together in a proud moment for the team, the fans and the city. It was a night that will be looked back on in years to come, where everyone there will be able to say I was there that night Argyle won their way to Wembley.

It’s the collective experience that makes football I think. A ton of fans, in one space, living through the emotions of the game, for one common cause. People may not have known the people sat around them last night, but they joined in together cheering the team on and I am sure although they might not have got their names, they will remember their faces in their minds when they look back on this day.

Something that isn’t tangible

When so many people in one space are happy, you can just feel something, something that isn’t tangible but it is there. A feel good feeling just goes right through you and for a moment all of the worries in life don’t exist and you are allowed a moment of pure jubilation.

I am hoping beyond any hope that we win at Wembley but whatever happens nobody will be able to take last night and its place in history away. Thanks to the players and everyone who attended last night’s game, you made the experience. Through all of us we all have a reason to be happy and optimistic today, last night something was accomplished that will hopefully lead to greater things for the players, fans and city.

Doing things right

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This last weekend I was in London commentating on the NFL at Wembley Stadium. It was a fantastic day and a decent game of American football with the New York Jets beating the Miami Dolphins. The NFL is a yearly tradition for me and one that I always look forward to and enjoy.

The one thing I always notice when I go is how much better the NFL (and all American sports) are at putting on a show that British sports. As I was walking up to the stadium there was already so much going on (and I had to be there early). You could get your face painted, you could practice throwing an American football to an NFL player of your choice, there were huge banners and signs up featuring the best players that were going to be on show that you could get your photo taken with and the list goes on.

Experience

Then for the game experience itself, there were fireworks, lights, music, smoke cheerleaders, the national anthems sung by famous singers as well as regular freebies thrown in to the crowd. Some of these things are slowly creeping in to sports in Britain but no one has quite mastered it like the Americans have yet.

The NFL presentation is so slick and professional, from the smallest detail to the biggest; everything always seems to run seamlessly. There was fun for all the family and I don’t think there will be too many that went home who weren’t happy with their experience, although of course many may have been unhappy with the result.

Attention to detail

Attention to detail is key with any type of event you are planning or attending. With the NFL you can tell every small detail has been looked at and worked on. Being a regular attendee I can also see ways they are improving it every year as they obviously do listen to feedback and every year they seem to try to do something new and better than the year before.

Next time you plan an event, make sure you look at every detail and make sure you look at it from the attendees point of view, do these two things and I am sure you will have an awesome event. Next time you attend an event try and look at the little details, look at what the event organisers have done well and what they haven’t, try to understand why things have happened and why they haven’t.

A great event should send as many people as possible away with positive feelings and the attendees should feel glad that they gave up their time and or money to attend. Never underestimate what people’s time and money is worth, they are investing it in an event so make sure you invest in them.

Feeling Privileged

Last Sunday I had the pleasure of being able to go to Wembley Stadium and do Audio Description for the NFL International Series game, between Miami Dolphins and the Oakland Raiders for Alan March Sport Ltd.

Thanks to good friends and hard work I have been afforded many great opportunities in life and this is one of them. It is such a privileged position to be able to work at an event that many have paid vast sums of money to attend, to be able to contribute to the event is such an amazing feeling.

This Saturday I will be far away from the glitz and glamour of Wembley and the NFL, I will be at Home Park home of Plymouth Argyle who currently play in League 2 the lowest league of professional football (soccer) in England, doing Audio Description on their game with Shrewsbury. With less than 10% of the crowd size that attended Wembley the game on all levels will be completely different.

The size of the event doesn’t change the fact that I am in a privileged position again getting to attend a game that many will pay to go to and doing a job that many others would like to do. Plymouth Argyle is where I started doing Audio Description and now 6 years in, I make sure to remember the feeling I got when I first got the position and did my first game.

Going to live sporting events is exciting and having the privilege to be involved them makes it all that much better. I think it is important that no matter what we do or achieve that we don’t belittle it and that we celebrate it. If you’re proud of something don’t be afraid to be proud of it and don’t justify how you feel by the size or scope of what you do.