So, I like watching football and specifically American football…not that European football (Soccer) is bad at all. The way I enjoy watching football is slightly old-fashioned even for my generation let alone the younger generation. This week Amazon started streaming Thursday night football live on their website for Prime members (don’t get me started on how I feel about that) and it made me think just how far things have come just in my lifetime.
These days, the TV’s are getting bigger, clearer and thinner. A few years ago, plasma was the new thing and those big box sets were gone. Then came LCD then came LED. Then came UHD or maybe that was last and then…well, I can’t even keep track anymore. The point is I don’t have one of those. Now, I am not one of those people prone to lamenting about the “good old days” and trying to sound old-fashioned. I’ll watch a Detroit Lion game on the TV when I am around one but it’s not my preferred method; or my favorite at least.
That’s right. The old-fashioned radio and sometimes even on the AM band. Usually, it’s in a car but sometimes on this 30-year-old battery powered unit on my desk in the garage that I got from my father in law.
I work on Sundays and given the type of work that I do…well watching it on TV isn’t an option. I even listened to last year’s Super Bowl on the radio. That’s right, no expensive ads (which I do enjoy sometimes), no hour-long pre-and post-game show and no over the top graphics and camera work. Better yet no yawner of a halftime show. Just two guys talking about the game, telling the game like it’s a story and giving me a visual of what’s going on in the game I cannot see. Maybe the reason I like this sort of medium is that I am a writer and in theory, that’s what I try and do.
Back in the day, before every game was shown on several different TV channels. Back before smartphones, tablets and the internet were a thing and before I cared about Monday night football or Thursday night football (which no one really cares about even now) I have fond memories of listening to the games on the radio. Sometimes, it was with my grandpa in his garage while I sat with him as he tinkered about (occasionally it was a baseball game as well).
Often though it was sitting in my dad’s workroom in the basement and even more often and more memorable was when we were deer hunting. We would come out of the woods around noon, eat lunch (usually cheese and bologna sandwiches) and either sit in the car or on the tailgate of a truck and listen to part of the Detroit lion’s game. We drank coffee or hot chocolate and snacked on donuts, beef jerky, and cheese crackers. You know the normal food every strapping young Scottish lad destined for greatness should have. We would listen to the game, the announcers, marvel at a play by Barry Sanders, pump our fists wildly and complain about the usual less than stellar Lions quarterback. After lunch or snacks were done we would head back out into the woods.
That whole process would repeat itself later in the evening. After the sun was down, we wandered out of the woods and walked to the cars or truck. We would pour ourselves something hot from a thermos, turn on the radio and listen to the evening game as we ate whatever snacks we had left while complaining about how we didn’t see anything move in the woods all damn day.
Those were good memories and for some reason far more vivid to me now at 38 than ones sitting in front of a TV while watching a game. I actually can’t recall one specific game I watched on the TV over the years with dad, but I can with the radio. Over the years I must have watched a couple hundred of football games with him. None of them were as memorable as the ones I heard the radio.
Maybe it was my age. Maybe it really was the medium. Maybe it was the situation and circumstances…who really knows. Despite the insane amount of technological options I have at my hands to watch a football game I’d still choose listening to one on the radio. Now that I am older and have a family of my own the time I am able to spend with dad listening to a game on the radio while hunting or sitting in the garage and “bullshitting” are few and far in-between and perhaps that is why I hang onto those memories from decades ago. Maybe that is why I hold onto this medium we call radio when it comes to football…because of the memories attached to it.