On Sunday, as I attempted to do a bit of work that needed finishing, I used the wonders of browser tabs to also watch live coverage of Bearfight FC’s match against Lower Bucks County United in their first match in their home city of Wilmington, DE (courtesy of the good people at Non League America).
The fact that I was watching an amateur friendly football match from the United States at that time at a weekend probably says much more about my social life than I care to admit, but after finding out that a live YouTube stream would be up and running I just had to catch some of the game.
First attempts at watching the feed were not overly successful with what seemed to be tests carried out in the (phone) camera person’s car. But when I returned a little later it was working properly and I connected just in time for a Bearfight equaliser. I know that it was a Bearfight goal as the person filming the match told me. The stream itself was not the greatest quality in the world – but that didn’t matter.
Watching football through a phone camera on the other side of the world is never going to be HD standard and, although I would have loved to watch the match in person, I didn’t really care that I couldn’t always make out what was happening. One of the main reasons why I have been so interested in clubs like Bearfight FC is their whole ethos. The idea that “we should stream the match live” is the important factor here.
I watch non-league football in the UK and don’t kid myself that it is the best football on offer. But I do know that I may well see something so amazing – good or bad – that it will make up for all the terrible football on show. I also appreciate that there are people invested enough to keep clubs of limited stature going – and the fans that make it possible.
It seems to be a very exciting time for the equivalent of non-league football in America (although with the set up over there the term doesn’t really work). Small clubs, formed by football fans promoting the sport and community involvement is what makes what they are doing so important.
I’m not going to lie and say the main thing that initially attracted me to the club wasn’t their frankly awesome name. But discovering more about the people behind the scenes – and their fans - has been immensely worthwhile.
Bearfight ended up drawing 3-3 on Sunday and I look forward to future live streaming of games. I might have to miss out on the post-match tacos and beer but as long as the coverage is there I will be too.