When it comes to looking back over the last 12 months it’s not a great one as a Cardiff Blues supporter or as rugby supporters in general.
From my own perspective, going to games is what it’s all about. Nothing beats meeting up with mates before the game, that pre-match buzz of anticipation, the atmosphere in the ground and having a beer while discussing the action after the final whistle.
With the coronavirus leaving us stuck watching at home, without even the option of going to the pub to watch games, it’s been a real frustration. There’s almost a feeling of helplessness when on the sofa being unable to raise the volume at the Arms Park to drive the players on or, crucially, offering assistance to the referee in their decision making.
The rugby itself has been worse off without supporters as well. That lack of atmosphere has negatively impacted the intensity and adventure of games, with long, passive passages of kicking no doubt partially coming about due to supporters not looking for running rugby. This was keenly felt during the Autumn Internationals when a full Principality Stadium plays a major part of test rugby for Wales.
I’ve long felt that it was the supporters who really make the game at the professional level, and that we are not treated with the respect we deserve by competition organiser blazers, but hopefully that will now change.
On a positive note though, rugby and the Cardiff Blues continue to provide hope and a welcome distraction during this bizarre time.
Daydreaming about the time when we can return to the Arms Park, thinking about the game just gone or what team might be selected for the upcoming weekend, all are a great way to forget about the constant coverage of the coronavirus and the difficulties and suffering it has caused.
From a personal point of view, 2020 has been an incredibly difficult year, but Cardiff Blues has been the constant that has allowed my mind to wander elsewhere. Whether moaning about something off-the-field, being disappointed with something on-the-field or, preferably, celebrating a win, it’s always there as an escape. I love this club.
Doing this blog and the podcast just adds to that, and it would be rubbish without you who reads, listens and interacts, so thank you for all the support and engagement this year, and here’s to a better 2021.
Happy New Year!