The in­con­ve­nience of be­ing a sports fan on New­found­land time

Northern Pen - - Editorial - Thom Barker

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.

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