The joy of being a fan

Exeter Chiefs fans during the Gallagher Premiership Cup Final between Exeter Chiefs and Harlequins a

Exeter Chiefs fans during the Gallagher Premiership Cup Final between Exeter Chiefs and Harlequins at Twickenham Stadium June 26, 2021 in London, England (Photo by Phil Mingo/PPAUK) - Credit: Phil Mingo/PPAUK

It is great fun being a fan and it’s been a long time since I have enjoyed sport quite as much.  
It may be the strange world that we live in or the quality of sport happening right now, but I for one am certainly all in. Cricket, rugby, football, tennis, or golf, there’s simply not enough time to enjoy the lot but it’s great to have the chance again. 
Having crowds back in attendance is something I took for granted. The impact I felt at Twickenham last week for the final was so special, and it’s great to have an opinion once again that I can express freely without worrying about saying the wrong thing, discussing results in a way that I perhaps have never done before. 
It’s about getting carried away at times while watching sport, allowing the emotions to flood out, getting the dopamine rush that follows while enjoying sport. Allowing myself to be excited about rugby as well as other sport, something that I tended to try to dampen in the lead up to games, which carried over into watching sport. 
Being part of the crowd at Sandy Park, part of that community, is a feeling that I have always felt at the Chiefs home, yet, as a fan, in a different way, joining in selection discussions with other fans, new signings, or even the price of a pint. 
There is now more room for sport in my life, not because I get more time, but I believe it’s because my days were filled purely with rugby. To give any more attention or emotion to sport was something I found hard, almost becoming uninterested by any rugby that didn’t directly involve the Chiefs. I love the fact that I have regained the love for watching sport.  
All being well, we’ll soon have the return of spectator rugby to the Blackmore in August and September with a hand full of friendlies before the season restarts. It’s makes me feel both optimistic and anxious with regards to performance and returning the quality of sport that the club deserves. Luckily, we have the chance of a strong pre-season block (hopefully uninterrupted) to prepare the group to hit the ground running. 
I really am looking forward to putting the green shirt of Sidmouth on, if selected, and the buzz of the crowd, it’s been an age since I’ve played in the community rugby game, and I have some amazing memories from my days in Wales and the club rugby leagues.  
The camaraderie and bond developed in rugby is something special to the game, I doubt you get the same in any other sports. Putting it all out there for each other creates something special. 
Whether its spectating or participating in sport, it has it benefits. The benefits of exercise are clear to see but I have read that fandom can lead to our healthier wellbeing both physically and mentally, at least that is what I tell my wife when watching a weekend full of sport (when allowed).

Phil Dollman, Chiefs favourite and Sidmouth Rugby Club player coach

Phil Dollman, Chiefs favourite and Sidmouth Rugby Club player coach - Credit: Archant

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