Back to Real Time

No.  Don’t tell me.  Please.

Don’t talk about which team won.  What the score was at halftime.  How many points or rebounds or blocked shots my favorite player made.  Or even if the announcers said something extra-stupid like “There was no intentionality in that foul” or “After the play, there was a momentary moment of silence from the crowd.”  My DVR is set to record the game.  And until I can get home and watch every second of it without interruption, I’m desperately trying to stay in the dark.

That’s pretty much been my attitude ever since college basketball tipped off last
fall.  Now that the season’s over, I can live in real time once again.  Thank

Way back in the dark ages when VCRs were first invented, we used them sparingly.  Maybe because they were so complicated to program or maybe because you had to have a supply of clunky, expensive videotapes on hand, but it seems like we were very picky in what we chose to record.

Not anymore.  With the advent of satellite TV and the miracle of DVR-ing, it’s possible to keep a whole library of anything that’s shown on television right there in the television. Thanks to the wonders of twenty-first century technology, I don’t have to miss a single minute of any basketball game I want to see.

As long as nothing untoward happens.  Like lots of player injuries or lost contact lenses or referees stopping the game a million times to check the replay or reset the shot clock or T-up a coach.  Or, heaven forbid, overtime.

Anything that makes a game take longer than expected can cause major heartbreak if the DVR has been set to record for only two hours.  What could be
worse than sitting through a nail-biting ballgame only to have the television
jump back to regular programming when the score is tied and there’s 40 seconds
left in double overtime?  Unless it’s fast-forwarding through the commercials a little too quickly and accidentally discovering the final score.  Or watching
the second game of the night in real time and accidentally seeing the score of
the game you’ve recorded scrolling across the bottom of the screen.

I was determined not to let any of those things happen during Elite Eight weekend of the NCAA tournament.  The game that meant the most to me was Kentucky-Baylor, which I was unable to watch when it was actually played because George and I were helping our daughter Leigh move to a new
house–in Kentucky, ironically–and she didn’t yet have her T.V. hooked

No worries.  We’d planned ahead.

The game would be recorded (three full hours, just in case) and waiting for us when we got back to Cookeville.  Meaning that we had to drive home with the truck radio off.  Not answer our cell phones or peep at text messages.  Ignore e-mail.  Choose an isolated corner booth for a quick supper at the Burger King in Albany, Kentucky and hope not to hear any errant conversation about the game.

Here’s what creeps me out a little about all that.  Before we ever left Leigh’s house, the outcome of the UK game had already been determined.  Was it foolishness to pretend otherwise, to sit on pins and needles hours after the fact and cheer like crazy for the Cats when it was too late for the cheering to do any good?  And was it worth it to miss the Kansas-North Carolina game in real time to watch a contest that was already in the books?

Logical or not, that’s what I did.  I was delighted at the outcome.  And thrilled that, if it couldn’t be Vanderbilt or Murray State, the University of Kentucky went on to win the National Championship.

A game that, I’m happy to report, I watched in real time.

(April 8, 2012)



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