One of the things that never fails to fascinate about county cricket crowds is how they distribute themselves around a ground – particularly in the wraparound plastic seating of the modern stadium. Usually, one will find a section of the ground in which the more gregarious and garrulous congregate, there as much for the company as the on-field spectacle. Then there will be stands in which the sprinkling of supporters attain an almost mathematically precise distance from one another, happy with their own thoughts yet not too isolated to prevent them from sharing the odd grumble.
The major variable in all this is the temperature, which puts one in mind of Schopenhauer’s famous allegory of human sociality, or intimacy – the fable of the troop of porcupines in the cold, venturing just close enough to keep each other warm (perhaps we can substitute ‘sane’ or ‘emotionally connected’) but not so close that they start to prick one another. That, it seems to me, is how the few hundred or so fans array themselves in a 20,000-seat cricket ground.
The above was published by the Guardian on County Cricket - Live! for August 21, day one of Warwickshire vs Middlesex. Report here.