Surprise At Sporting Venues

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FredPuli43 | 10:08 Tue 05th Mar 2013 | Sport
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Which sporting venues have you been to which astonished you on first sight? They didn't look how you imagined from the telly.

As a kid, I was amazed that the tennis courts at Wimbledon were the same size as the ones at school; how could anybody land a 90 mph serve in that tiny oblong? And seeing an Open Golf course close up was a shock; not a yard of it was level, but it looks flat enough on TV.

But the two most surprising were the Grand National and the Derby.About two thirds of the Grand National race and course are not visible from the stands unless a) you are on the County grandstand roof b) you have very high-powered binoculars. Only the start and about the last three furlongs are readily viewed. The rest is way out in the country and/or the view is obstructed by parked buses and by trees. And the Derby? Only a madman would design a course modelled on a fairground roller- coaster! It is, of course, an excellent test of a colt, but seeing is the only way of believing quite how odd it is.


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Old Trafford (cricket) - didn't look too bad on the TV but was actually the most shocking dump - the 'facilities' were medieval and the pasties probably older than that.

Silverstone used to be great before all the Elf and Safety changes (necessary though they were). I remember an ad-hoc "Fastest Lap in a Ford Transit" competition on the night before a British Grand Prix meeting - unthinkable nowadays... power sliding a tranny on nice flat tarmac, epic fun :)
did someone mention pasties?

camp nou, on a sunday morning with 22 under eleven sides playing, magic
Sheffield Wednesday's pitch is the absolute maximum size, as are the pitches at their training facility. Jack Charlton once phoned me up to ask if I'd referee a selection match on one of those (very big) training pitches.

South Yorkshire Under-18 squad were playing the Sheffield Youth squad. Every one of those players was on the books of professional teams (with several of the South Yorkshire players signed to Manchester United) and, at that age, were about as fit as it's possible to be. Further, they were all trying to be selected for either the County youth team or Sheffield Wednesday's team, so they were putting everything into it.

I knew that I'd find the game exhausting but what Jack hadn't told me was that:
(a) the match would be played on the hottest day of the year ;
(b) the selection process was to be carried out over THREE 45 minute periods, with no interval between them ; and
(c) there were 33 players on each side, so that a fresh squad of 11 super-fit teenagers would play in each of those periods (while poor old muggins here had to keep going!).

I've hardly ever been as tired in my life as I was after that match!
(At least Jack was always good at providing ample free booze for those who he asked to do favours for him!)
'Sheffield Youth squad' should read 'Sheffield Wednesday Youth squad'.
Twickenham, magnificent!
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Old Twickenham or new Twickenham, UXD ? The old stadium was wonderful. It was like a cathedral in atmosphere, great towering stands, painted dark green as though to make them inconspicuous. The new one is soulless concrete with no atmosphere to compare.

The new Wembley hasn't got quite the atmosphere of the old one. It may be that the modern designs, which haven't got the steepness of the older ones, lose some of the atmosphere.
The Millenium Stadium was even more impressive than it looked on TV.
The word cauldron is used a lot in terms of full stadia but that is exactly what it was like when Wales played France in 2010 for the Grand Slam match, with the roof closed and the flame throwers in full flow.
And yes, I bawled my eyes out when we sung our national anthem.

Was impressed with Old Trafford too (football) but what I found most striking was the fact that Andrei Kanchelskis and Ryan Giggs could run THAT fast with a football and STILL maintain control of it.
It was breathtaking.
I disagree fred, the building does not make the atmosphere. The new stadium is much better. Stand there and belt out Jerusalem with 80k+ people and tell me the hair doesn't stand up on the back of your neck.

I went to the British leg of the formula one calendar a few years ago and my assigned seat was at the 'stowe' corner - the other end of the track from the main entrance

It felt like I had walked miles to get to the seat - I had not realised before I went just how immense the circuit was
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I was talked into going to some horse event in Sussex a few years ago.
I went with an open mind but was astonished to see what a grotesque pantomime it actually was. Loads of oiky pseudo-toffs coughing up wads of money while these elegant beasts where whacked and cajoled over the massive brush like hedges. One fell and a hospital style screen was drawn around it. The crowd fell silent and we all anticipated the crack of the vet's gun. Happily, the horse eventually leapt to its feet and was allowed to live.
Quite revolting - I'll never go again.
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