Euro2008 Spain vs Italy #2: Thanks a lot, Tygervalley Big-screen Operator.

Continued from the first instalment

Paul and I grabbed our laptops (like the nerds we are) and headed down to the Keg at Glen Garry centre (the closest restaurant with TV screens). There were three other people there, not counting the waiters – so not really much of an atmosphere, but not to worry, they had the soccer playing at least (with French commentary, but that was fine). We ordered coffee and politely asked the waiter what time they were closing. “10 o’clock…” he said – somewhat sadly I thought.

Some quick kindergarten maths told me that we’d best finish our coffee and find a new spot during half-time. Which we duly did. After considering our options (all three of them), we decided to just go and grab a table at Tygervalley’s promotions court area and watch the soccer on the big-screen there. The sound isn’t usually that clear, but I thought it would be good enough. When we arrived there, we discovered that the soccer was only showing on the small TVs dotted around the area, and the big-screen was playing the IRB Junior World Championship instead. Okay, fair enough, rugby, northern suburbs, I get it.

I figured that as soon as the rugby was finished they’d switch the big-screen to the soccer too, and then we’d have commentary (because there was no sound whatsoever coming from the small TVs). Gosh. Was I ever disappointed. The rugby finished, eventually the post-match celebration and awards ceremony finished too, then a few ads played (while I was biting my nails to the quick, watching the clock ticking and thinking, “It’s going to penalties, it’s going to penalties, and they’re going to switch these TVs off at 11pm, they are, they are…”).

Then, after the ads, another programme came on. Now I didn’t actually know (and call me ignorant here, by all means) that India and Pakistan played rugby. Yes, rugby. Well, apparently they do, and to prove it, we were treated to a wonderful showcase of their skills on the big-screen. Just to give you an idea of how riveting this might have been, Wikipedia tells me that India is currently ranked 84th in the world (out of 95 teams) – they tried to qualify for a spot in the 2007 World Cup, but their 22-36 loss to Kazakhstan put paid to that dream. And this powerhouse Indian team (whose captain is none other than Nasser Hussain, apparently – talk about being an all-rounder, gosh) beat the Pakistanis 56-3 last time they met. But I digress.

The India-Pakistan festival of rugby was followed by a lengthy insert on women’s skateboarding. Seriously. I could not make this stuff up. After that (and at this point I couldn’t take it anymore, so we left, but more of that later) there was a stunning and fascinating documentary on Men Walking Across Rocks In Hiking Boots.

The problem with this (apart from the glaringly obvious fact that they were not actually showing the quarter-final of a major international sporting tournament), was that the sound from the big-screen was turned up really loud. So I was watching a teensy game of soccer, accompanied by loud Pakistani rugby players, loud women skateboarders, and loud men Walking on Rocks, in turn. If you’ve ever tried to watch something with a totally incongruous soundtrack – burly black gumboot dancers with the theme song from the Sound of Music, for example – then you’ll understand that this was somewhat messing with my concentration.

So, in a fit of pique, as soon as the game had gone to full-time, I said to Paul, “We’re going to Eastwoods,” and stormed off to the car. And in the next instalment you can find out why that didn’t work out too well either…