Being Both a Participant and a Spectator...

March 7, 2008
By Chris Clifford, Auburn, NY

Being both a participant and a spectator, I know first hand that there are several differences between playing in an event and watching the same event in the stands. The rush that you receive during the final minutes of the game can never be the same when you are just simply in the stands. The pressure that amounts when in the heat of the contest will never come about when in the stands. I can assure you that when watching a football game I don’t receive the same amount of pressure that the field goal kicker is when trying to win the game for his team. Likewise, I know that the crowd doesn’t feel the same effects when I’m playing in the game. When in the stands one can never feel the same emotions as the athlete playing in the game; this won’t change no matter what kind of sporting event is being played.

The first feeling a participant will feel while playing that a spectator won’t experience is the feeling of adrenaline while playing. Although a fan will feel excitement when their team scores or wins they will never understand the feeling of adrenalin the players receive at the time. During a game the athlete acquires such a large quantity of adrenaline the player feels like he can’t be stopped. Adrenaline is the feeling one gets when in the heat of the moment, such as the most important part of the game: the last minute. During this time the rush of adrenaline pushes the participant the extra 10% which is needed for their team to succeed. They will give there all for the team and will not settle for anything less than a win. Although this is an exciting time in the game for fans they will never get the adrenaline rush. Spectators help cheer the players on but they don’t get the rush of playing in front of the whole city or being the hero of the town. The possibility of being the hero overtakes everything else for the athlete. What does the spectator have to win for cheering loudly? Most spectators are there to prove how loyal they are to the team but, in my mind they will never experience the real game from the stands, it just isn’t the same.

Pressure is something everyone faces during his or her lifetime. When it comes to a participant and a spectator in terms of pressure there isn’t even a comparison. The participant experiences a vast amount of pressure while the spectator receives slim to no pressure at all. The athlete who has the game on their shoulders experiences pressure from all different types of angles. The participant acquires pressure from his teammates, coaches, fans, and friends. It comes down to how this participant will handle the pressure to distinguish how the game will end. In these cases the spectator plays no role in the game, therefore they have to pressure upon themselves. Whether the team wins or loses the spectator has no effect, this is why they have no pressure during a game. In an event with thousands of fans you don’t only want to win it for your team you want to win it for your city; this is where the added pressure comes from. No matter what kind of sporting event is taking place the spectator will never at any time have any pressure during the game. They have no reason to seeing as they have to contribution to the outcome of the game. Pressure is one of the most obvious reasons why being a participant and being a spectator are miles apart.

From a spectators point of view the atmosphere of the game is much different when watching compared to playing. When watching, one is free to do as they please, which is relevant at many football games, one can talk to whomever, whenever they please. They are not limited to sit in a set area for a set amount of time. When participating in an event, those who are taking a shift or play off rarely discuss the day’s gossip in between gasps of breath. When participating in an event the athlete has one thing in mind when on the sidelines: what to do better to win the game. Plays are much easier to read out when in the stands compared to when on the field. It is much easier to see the open man from the stands compared to actually being the quarterback. There are many factors to contribute to why the quarterback misses the wide-open receiver; for example, a 250-pound lineman running straight on. A lineman running full speed towards you hardly ever happens when watching from the stands. It is quite obvious that it’s much easier to “play” the game from the stands compared to actually playing in the game itself. Because of this being a spectator and participating in the game will never be the same.

Throughout my years I have preferred to be the participant rather than the spectator. Many of these reasons have contributed to my choice; I live for the adrenaline, pressure and the atmosphere of the game. It’s quite obvious that playing is much more exciting than watching from the stands. The adrenaline received while playing in an important game can never be experienced anywhere else. The pressure also plays a major role on why participating is more exciting than watching from the stands. A participator and spectator have their similarities but their differences are why one is so greatly superior to the other.

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