The inconvenience of being a sports fan on Newfoundland time
I am a huge professional sports fan. I love it all — cricket, baseball, football, golf, hockey, lacrosse, basketball, curling, soccer — you name it, I’m probably game.
Usually the end of October is one of my favourite times of year, but for the first time since last year, I pretty much missed the World Series.
Before that — which corresponds coincidentally with my move east, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t take in most of the fall classic.
The reason is very simple, it’s really inconvenient being a professional sports fan on Newfoundland time.
Perhaps that is why professional sports do not generate a lot of interest here.
Sure, there are fans around, and people seem to participate just as avidly in amateur versions, but the professional versions do not seem to achieve nearly the same elevated status they do in most other places I’ve lived.
Of course, the lack of professional franchises in any sport in the province, or anywhere nearby, really, could certainly dampen that sense of tribal belonging that motivates so many sports fans. Also, historical factors, the relative isolation, lifestyle etc., may play a role.
Ultimately, though, I think the primary factor must simply be the time zone.
I’ve lived in provinces from coast to coast. The best place to be a sports fan is Saskatchewan, whence I just came. There, Eastern time zone events start in late afternoon and west coast games don’t end so late that I couldn’t manage to stay up.
Of course, I’m also not getting any younger, and I’m an early riser regardless of when I go to bed.
Last year, with the Astros and Dodgers competing for the title of MLB champion, two teams for which I have little affinity, I didn’t even try not to lose any sleep over it. But this year, with the Red Sox representing the American League, I had more motivation. My soft spot for the Sox came from my dad, who was a Boston fan before the Expos and Blue Jays entered the picture.
So, I did try to watch the series this year, but found myself sleeping in my comfy chair within a couple of innings. In 2018, I also missed a number of Saskatchewan Roughriders games, which would have been sacrilege in years gone by and my Blue Jays consumption hit an all-time low this year, and not just because they sucked so badly.
There is one bright spot in all of this. The Open Championship (aka The British Open) has always been my favourite golf tournament. Here, it starts at an almost reasonable hour.
It has been suggested to me that technology is the answer. The PVR is a fantastic device. I use it to record TV shows and watch them later without having to sit through commercials, but, call me old-fashioned, sports are something I like watching live.
Also, in the age of internet, and particularly social media, avoiding the spoilers is increasingly difficult. I just can’t watch a sports event for which I already know the outcome.
So, instead, I find myself re-prioritizing professional sports. And that is not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe I’m already becoming a Newfoundlander. And that is not necessarily a bad thing either.
However, the withdrawal symptoms are not always easy to deal with. Does anyone know if there are any support groups for recovering sports addicts around?
Asking for a friend.