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Friday, Aug. 29, 2014

So you call yourself a sports fan?

Posted Thursday, September 16, 2010, at 5:21 PM

Sports fans today have it so very easy.

That statement might sound so very blanketed and even insulting or condescending, but in reality it is so very true.

Especially when you take into consideration how it was just a few short years ago. Before ESPN and Fox Sports Net beamed games into our living rooms or sports bars with little more than a touch of the remote.

Before games were broadcast in high definition, stereo, surround sound and now even 3D.

Back before available for one single price every month, the radio coverage of every professional team sport, most major college sports and most racing events were available to the masses.

I don't intend for this to be one of those "I walked uphill both ways in a snowstorm in July to school" columns.

Instead I intend for this to be a way to express appreciation for current technology and for the progress made in recent years.

Being 50 years old and being born on the tail end of the Baby Boomer Generation, means that things have made radical changes in almost every facet of life, except maybe for canned meat.

Canned meat will probably be unchanged as we know it until the next great ice mass overtakes our land. And probably even then it won't change.

But, with that aside, If you were born before the birth of the microwave oven, the onset of satellite TV and the launch of satellite radio, you won't know of the uh, joys of which I will now profess.

Instead of being able to select which game or which team you want to watch by simply paying an extra fee to your TV provider and ordering the package deal, those of us born before the eruption of technology were force to find things out about and follow our favorite teams in other ways.

Before we were able to click a channel on XM or Sirius and listen to the game of our choice, we were limited only to what we could: A. find on our local station or B. find what we could when we pulled our transistor radios from under our pillows in the darkness of our bedrooms and were able to grab from amidst the static of our AM radios.

That's right I said our AM radios.

We weren't yet fully engulfed in the era of FM stations blasting games and sports talk loud and clear into our headphones.

No indeed, we were simply limited to what was there in front of us -- and let me tell you it wasn't a whole lot.

During that span of our country's technology history, we were limited to one game a week, one game a night on the radio and were forced to get info on what happened through either the nightly sports report on the TV news or from our local newspaper or radio station.

And back then that report wasn't a full three hours devoted to each sport. No sir, it was more like seven minutes at the end of the local news devoted to whatever the local sportscaster deemed worthy enough to fill his time slot.

If you didn't live in a big city that had a team in the current sport, you didn't get much more coverage than the aforementioned media outlets.

If you were lucky you got one game, usually on either Saturday or Sunday depending on the sport, and had to fend for yourself beyond that scope.

Being a White Sox fan for most of my life, meant that I would be left to fend for myself. At least until the cable TV company in Vincennes got WGN from Chicago in the mid-70's.

They didn't carry the White Sox back then, they carried the Cubs. But they did show highlights every night and interviews, so I at least got some sort of input.

Then came ESPN and all of a sudden a slow eruption began. Or maybe a better term would be a slow evolution.

An evolution that, once it got rolling, brought us to where we are today in our choices.

We can now switch from one game to the next, from one sports network to the next without blinking an eye.

As I sit and watch or listen to the multitude of games that are out there, I suddenly realize that my grandchildren won't have any excuse for saying "I didn't know that happened in that game today."

Silly me, I thought it was supposed to be a form of recreation watching and listening to sports I mean, instead of a chance to understand what flight controllers on the moon landing were going through.

Rick is a sports writer with the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at (812) 847-4487. Or by E-mail at rcurl@gcdailyworld.com.


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Rick:

Great blog. Being 51 years old myself, I do remember the times when my transistor AM radio was my best friend during the summer. Being a Cub fan I attempted to get WGN 720 on the radio at night to listen to the great play by play of Vince Lloyd and Lou Boudreau. But the best reception I could get for a game was when they played the Cardinals and I listened to the game broadcast from KMOX radio out of St. Louis. I was then forced to listen to the broadcasts of Mike Shannon and Jack Buck, but it came in clearer than WGN 720 so I put up with it. Saturday's were special in that I could actually see a game on TV and sometimes get to see highlights of the Cubs.

-- Posted by bhobbs on Fri, Sep 17, 2010, at 2:02 PM


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