03 Dec Not just watching a match, but an experience – BSB Diaries
The interest in football was instilled in me by Electronic Arts. It all started with me playing EUFA EURO 2004 and later the various editions of FIFA. Also, I started playing football during school days and that continues till date. I just used to follow the scores and read the updates in the sports column of the newspaper and that stayed that way till I joined college. Then, I started to watch the matches on TV. The i-league never interested me and also there was no home team that I could support. So once the ISL was established followed by the announcement of Chennaiyin FC, I was super excited. I used to watch all the matches on TV as I was not in Chennai at that time. Come 2016, I came back to Chennai for my job and had decided that I would watch the home games of Chennaiyin in the stadium for the first time in my life. I was waiting for the news about ISL 3 and kept checking the ISL website, various football news websites and threads. Once the announcement came I started frequenting bookmyshow.com long before the booking even started. Once the booking was open I went to the stadium booking counter and asked for a season ticket. I was a little disappointed as there was no season ticket available and I had to buy a ticket for each match separately so I bought the ticket for the first match alone. I had made up my mind to book a seat in one of the four corners because the players usually celebrate near the corner flag after scoring a goal. I saw the stadium layout and decided to book in the B stand Level 1 as that was the side which was near the dugout and also the corner, so as to increase my proximity to the players. Come match day ( Chennaiyin FC vs Delhi Dynamos : OCT-06, Thursday), I left office early and went to the stadium around 17.30 for the match with KO at 19.00. I had decided beforehand to buy a jersey from the stadium so I bought one immediately on reaching and then found my way through to the B stand. It was all empty except for a group of people on the rightmost corner. I switched various seats and tried almost all rows one by one to identify the seat with the best view. Finally I had settled in my seat and was taking pics of the stadium. Suddenly the group in the corner started chanting and I saw the players enter for training. I had read about fan clubs and the support they give to the football team but this was the first time I experienced it. After a little hesitation of whether to go and talk to them, I decided to go and ask them about who they are and whether I could join them. They welcomed me happily and thus began my journey with the B Stand Blues. There were a lot of chants, singing, booing and since it was my first ever match in the stadium, it was all new to me. They taught me some chants and encouraged me to chant and sing along with them. That day I decided to watch all other matches in the B Stand along with BSB. They unveiled huge hand painted banners during the following games and I held the banner up, high with pride. A little worry I had was that I couldn’t help making those banners. The people and their passion towards the game and the home club was something that I could relate to. We instantly hit it off and since then I’ve been a part of this happy family. According to me match day with the B Stand Blues with all the banners, banters, chants and fun is not just watching a match but an experience by itself. I encourage each and every person reading this to come watch one match with us to experience this yourself and trust me, you will come back wanting for more.