Sport, sport, cello, sport

Sport is back, and it's all around me

I woke up at stupid o'clock to watch Mason Plumlee miss a defensive rotation and allow Anthony Davis to hit a three-pointer. It put the LA Lakers two-nil up in their seven-game series with the Denver Nuggets and woke my daughter. Though I still cried more.

I went back to bed, and then rose again for the school run, stopping first to check what else went on overnight in sports. From there I worked out as I watched Collingwood lose to Port Adelaide in the AFL. That loss means they'll have to play their final in Western Australia, and not on the east coast.  Adding an extra 3606 kilometres to their travel schedule, plus quarantine stuff.

Then I re-watched the entire Nuggets loss against the Lakers. Partially looking for hope of a pretty unlikely third straight come back. But mostly using the commentary as a background while I worked.

The IPL was next as I took my boys to their swimming lessons. It turns out RCB are finally not terrible, a team I did some consulting for a few years back.

I cooked two meals and ate one of them. Over dinner it was the England Women's team take on the West Indies, with a friend of mine making his full-time assistant coaching debut.

This was just a day for me, it wasn't that weird, and yet a few months back this was all impossible. I wonder now how I spent my time during the sports lockdown.  I know I listened to more podcasts, and homeschooling my boys took up a sizeable chunk of time. Oh, and professionally I made a new radio show, started a podcast network, launched a YouTube channel and made this emailer.  But those are worky things that I always would have done. Even the extra hours with my kids teaching them maths and history, there were moments in between, and I wonder what I filled them with.

It's probably true I read more about sport in that period, and I possibly played some NBA Live on my phone. Even without live games, there was still sport, in words, videos and everywhere else. But it’s different when it’s actually going on , it’s urgent, and you need it.

And with sport back that I realise how much of my time is taken up with it. Like on this day I'm talking about, my wife made me come in and supervise our son's Zoom cello lesson. Now I know as much about the history of Hungarian handball as I do the cello, so I was of no hope to him other than being a warm body. So I spent the lesson on my phone watching that IPL match.

I don't know how often I watch sport properly now. There is too much sport, and in my case, too many kids.  I hear about the highlight revolution, how sports can make their game pop through two minutes of instaworthiness. But highlights do little for me. I would prefer sports put up their entire product without the boring bits in it. So all 540 cricket balls in a Test day without all that bowler walking back to his mark nonsense. Do I need to see the players high five after a free throw? And every NFL game should take 12 minutes.

That wouldn't stop days like this. Because, that's not how it works anyway. The reason streamers are turning to sports is because we've gotta watch it live.

And you can see why on a day like I had. It doesn't matter to them that I am watching and not watching at the same time. But even with the casual viewing, there is still so much going on in my head. Like I've trained myself to consume sport in those weird ways. Should Nat Sciver bowl cross seam more I wonder. Why don't the Lakers just start Dwight Howard on Nikola Jokic? Surely Collingwood should be trying to go tall on Port's defenders.  And is this the best overseas combo for RCB?  And what starts as a couple of stolen minutes while I wait for the cod to cook,  I am not sure I can answer any of this the way I watched it, but the questions keep coming. And later I'll go off to check stats or look them up.

At one stage I realised I was listening to four different podcasts on the Denver Nuggets. And that's even though often the same people doubling or tripling up, just changing who the host is.

It doesn't stop when I'm not watching or following a sport. On Nuzzel I read an article about some old swimmer, and then I'm doing lengths in my research. Someone else has mead a joke about the Ingebrigtsen's, and I'm off on them. A mate messages to ask if I've seen what Marcus Rashford did, so now that's a thing.

My first show on the dive was about what we were missing when sport wasn't in our lives, or as we called it, does sport really matter.   We briefly talked about the routine in it. Obviously, we went on with our lives, found new regimens, like a footballer being moved to a new position, we did what we could to overcome it. But now we've been moved back to our favourite spots.

For me it's on this 24-hour sports stream, some of it in the foreground, much the background. But whether it takes all of my focus or is just a soundtrack, distraction or gets me through cello lessons, it's there. I now know what it is like to live without it, and I survived, and so did many more people, so it was worth it stopping.

But I also now that life is better with it, even when Davis drops a dagger and to kill the Nuggets hopes.

This week on Red Inker I chatted to Geoff Lemon about what happened with Channel Nine commentary. If you ever watched cricket in Australia anytime until the last few years, or are just interested in cricket commentary, it’s probably worth a listen.