It starts with the build-up. People swarming outside before they take their seats to watch the action. The agonising development of tension as the stage is set and the story unfolds. Baying crowds, surging emotion, warring factions, competing discourses. Conflict. Resolution.
I’m talking about theatre; theatre in the most conventional sense, where actors re-enact narratives designed to evoke a reaction from a live crowd. But I could just as easily have been describing the events which take place up and down the country on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, in colossal stadiums and in local parks, watched by millions on a weekly basis.