So it’s Sunday morning in October so I know NFL football is right around the corner. The Monsters of the Midway are scheduled to try to rough up their opponents at Soldier Field along the beautiful shore of Lake Michigan so what do I do? I have the ability to record the entire game in HDTV – I look outside and see the beautiful fall weather – fluffy clouds in various shapes and sizes painting the azure sky so my choice is easy. Use technology and record some games and maybe watch them later? Perhaps when the fine weather has gone away. I’ve lived in the Midwest long enough to know these beautiful autumn days are numbered – gray skies, snow and freezing rain are already in queue waiting to make a stand.
I hop on my dirty and dusty bike, at least that’s how my significant other describes my two wheeler, and casually pedal about 10 minutes to Independence Grove in Libertyville. There are over 800 acres to pedal through and many paths to explore and my internal smile indicates I’ve made the right decision.
Some might say I’m riding solo although I do have company. I have several podcasts to listen to – sports, politics, comedy or business? Once in the park, I do some stretching and leg tension exercises. I run up and down the hills and find grass wherever possible to lighten the load as I’m carrying a bit over 200 pounds and that’s not including any of my accessories. After about a 40 minute jog/run, I casually engage in some slight warm-down movements before it’s bike time. Because I’m still a little stiff and winded from my run, I gently spin my peddles in a clockwise direction to avoid falling over – I circle the outer rim a time or two before I deliberately make my way home.
Independence Grove is empty except for some Asian-Americans having a picnic and playing volleyball and dressed in fall attire. The park also includes a handful of female joggers and walkers – perhaps not interested in the NFL. It’s maybe about 50 degrees although on a bicycle with wind resistance, one might knock off 10 degrees from that amount. I find it remarkable that one of the most outstanding parks in Chicagoland is almost desolate on a nice fall Sunday afternoon until I realize the Chicago Bears will try to steal about 3-4 hours of your time on this day. Customer centric? In my mind, they might be more compelling if they were a Super Bowl caliber team. As I cycle back home, I notice parked cars at various homes – some of my neighbors may be having a Bears’ party.
I do some kitchen cleanup work and as I glance outside, the sun still appears warm and inviting so I wander outside for some minor yard work. Maybe a little light raking or weeding? Let me deliberately choose the warmest spots for a light yard work.
The sun is beginning to say goodbye after a glorious autumn day and after my nod to mother nature, I trek inside and after my transformation from dirt and dusty attire to fall duds which includes a long sleeve cotton shirt and shorts, I yearn for NFL football. Mind you, on my terms with minimal interruptions. I had earlier recorded both the Noon and 3:30 pm games which means at 5 pm and it’s time to relax.
At most, it will take me about 60 minutes to watch this first recorded game. If it’s compelling or my favorite team, perhaps tack on another 30. Others, who watch it live, spend close to 200 minutes of their afternoon seeing if their favorite team can win. Because studies have shown there’s only about 11 minutes of action in the average NFL game, I think giving this game 60 minutes is more than generous. Because there are many moments when players stand around waiting for the next play, TV producers have attempted to “livened up the game” by showing replays on almost every big play and sometimes highlights from other games. Regardless, with my approach, much of this “fluff” is ignored. Even though it’s a day of rest, I make efficient use of my time.
Once I’m done with the first game, it might be 6 pm or so – and if I’m not doing anything, I can begin to watch the second recorded game. The game may not be finished but from experiences, I’ll never catch up to live viewing. If it’s compelling, I may watch the entire game skipping through the commercials. If it’s a lousy game, I’ll just delete the broadcast. In fact, I can do the same for the Bears or the early game, if it’s not good, why even waste an hour?
Having developed my viewing strategy for the last few years, is it not surprising more fans don’t take a similar approach with the viewing of sports. Except for the Super Bowl, or an AFC or NFC playoff game or a Sunday where you’re hosting a party
Perhaps those who live in the Midwest, New England or other northern climates may be more sensitive to enjoy fall while it still cooperates – southerners typically have much nicer weather year-round so wasting a Sunday afternoon on their favorite team may not be as critical. If you have the technology, why not consider recording certain sports’ events especially on weekends? It doesn’t mean you can’t watch the game live and it doesn’t mean you have to watch the recorded game in its entirety. It just provides viewers of sports the flexibility and options for those who value their time, especially on those two days that follow Friday.