As you may be aware there’s a slightly important game of football this evening. There will be a packed house to watch the Raiders play their most important game since I dunno, forever? It’s going to be massive is what I’m getting at.
In games like this, when the going gets tense, two things tend to happen to crowds. Everyone gets tense, shuts up, and sits on their hands (related: this is my default setting). We wait to see what happens before reacting. You can feel the tension build around the crowd as worry, anxiety and negativity set in.
I’ve seen this happen before. In the 2010 semi against the Tigers the crowd was quiet and tense. Even though science would say I’m a lying liar who lies I am convinced this played a part in Jarrod Croker missing that late penalty goal.
Sometimes though, at that moment the crowd can get loud. It can shift the game, effectively telling the good guys on the field “we know you can do this.” I’ve seen it happen before. In the 2012 semi final against the Sharks the crowd basically willed the Raiders to win after Jarrod was knocked unconscious by a tackle from the Sharks.
I’ve written about this before, but the cacophony I’d support that rained down from the stands as the game hung in the balance was incredible. It was affirming. It was positive. I’m convinced that, as much as Sam a Williams being a god damn genius (and Todd Carney spraining his ankle), was a big factor in changing the momentum of the game.
Sidebar: Reader Tim Darke (@tim_darke on Twitter) points out that Melbourne in round 22 was another good example. The band of Raiders fans were loud, and even at 18-0 they didn’t give up. I was there too and can confirm it was a spiritual experience.
I guess what I’m saying is tonight a moment like that is going to come. You’ll know it. The boys will need a lift. You’re lucky enough to be one of the select people to have tickets to this game. Don’t sit on your hands. Be loud. Be positive. Have their back. Let the boys know that the people in the crowd reckon they’ve got this.
It could be the difference.