College Football Crowd, Virginia Tech, Lane Stadium, North Carolina
As Australian sports fans continue to suffer from Covid-19 lockdowns, a viral video of a football stadium in the United States filled with spectators showed exactly what we were missing.
As Australian football and national competitions tip-toe across the country in biosecure bubbles, and matches often unfold in front of no crowds, Australian fanatics are desperate to resume watching live sporting events.
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Fans around the world were stunned by footage of the crowd during the college football game between Virginia Tech University and the University of North Carolina on Saturday (AEST).
Last year’s college football season was heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States and crowds were either drastically reduced or banned altogether as the country faced a growing number of cases. Even popular tailgating gatherings were not permitted by several colleges.
But with the start of the new college football season this week, crowds at full capacity have been allowed for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
Virginia Tech fans took the opportunity and came out in force to support their team in the season opener, sparking some crazy scenes at Lane Stadium.
The arena has a capacity of 66,000 seats and it’s safe to say that every square meter of the stands was full and absolutely vibrant.
In wild scenes usually only seen in movies, swathes of local fans dressed in orange were jumping up and down like mad, cheering on the Hokies.
Both teams rushed onto the pitch with Metallica’s hit song “Enter Sandman” blaring through the stadium’s audio system, adding to the electric atmosphere.
The mad crowd also had to help, as Virginia claimed a surprise victory over North Caroline 17-10.
Images of the loud crowd quickly went viral on social media and were shared by many Aussie athletes and fans lamenting that such huge crowds are not impossible here.
Richmond Tigers coach Damien Hardwick tweeted: “I can’t wait to get the Tiger Army back in 2022”, while retired Australian fast pitcher Chadd Sayers described the vision as “stinging”.
“I’ve been on my to-do list for a while, for obvious reasons,” wrote cricket reporter Melinda Farrell.
“I look forward to the day when travel becomes easier.
NRL.com senior reporter Brad Walter added: “If you miss the atmosphere of big events and are part of a mass of humanity on the move, this must be our ambition for the start of the season. next.”
However, the great Australian basketball player Andrew Bogut was skeptical of the huge crowd, pointing out that the US state of Virginia continues to see a very high number of Covid-19 cases.
Interestingly, fans of the football match were required to wear masks at Lane Stadium but not at their seats.
The stages are far from the crowds allowed at sporting events in Australia at this time.
Fans are allowed to attend matches in Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and Tasmania, but crowds are not possible in NSW and Victoria as those states face the outbreak and the increase in the number of cases.
This year’s F1 Australian Grand Prix has been canceled, while the AFL and NRL Grand Finals have been moved from their usual locations due to the Covid-19 outbreaks in Sydney in Melbourne.
AFL viewers were stunned to see Perth’s Optus Stadium goal posts sprayed with disinfectant after Friday night’s AFL semi-final between Geelong and GWS.