They guys were watching soccer on TV last night, but there was something wrong with the sound. They could see the players running around and hear the commentators talk, but the crowd was silent. My guys knew exactly what was going on in the match, but "Oh, it's so hard to concentrate," said one, and the other agreed. I was trying to read.
I often read during football matches on TV, but then, I'm not a guy. I stop when the crowd starts to roar and I look at the screen, so I catch all the goals, all the best bits. But without the crowd, without the emotional involvement, there was nothing to pull me back into their world.
And in a book it doesn't matter how well the author describes the scene; without the roar of emotion, or deafening silence of intentional reserve, the reader's going to struggle to feel involved. It's all tell and no show, like soccer on TV without the crowd.