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Being There Without Being There

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I never understood my dad.

He has season tickets to Ohio State football games, lives 5 miles from the Horseshoe, yet as long as I can remember he always gives his tickets away to friends.

"I get a better experience from the couch," he says.

FROM THE COUCH?!?! A better experience from a TV than with 100,000 of his closest friends (not to mention hot dogs with stadium mustard)?

I didn't get. For the longest time I didn't get it.

Now I do...

As I have grown older -- lest I am not old, but older than I was at 18 -- I have come to understand my dad. He got a better experience from watching the game on TV, sitting on his couch and not dealing with traffic, than he would have at the game and now I admit that I might have to agree with him to some extent.

There is nothing that can replace the feeling of being with a crowd of roaring fans. Being one of them. Yelling at the top of your lungs, hoping your voice is the one that makes the opposing player miss the crucial free throw or commit that turnover. Chanting whatever comes to mind. Desperately trying to give your team that small advantage they need to muster the win.

I watch games at home now far more frequently than I attend them. It could be that my teams are for the most part hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away from my couch. But it could also be that technology has given me an opportunity feel like I'm still part of the game. 

My newly finished basement is pretty wired. I have a sizeable flat screen HD TV including cable's full sports package and surround sound with a subwoofer that makes the dog howl. My TV is on a swivel arm, so if I need to check on another score or get instant stat updates on the Internet, I can twist the TV to the side and watch while I'm plugging away on the computer.

And maybe best of all, I can go upstairs at anytime and grab a bite to eat without waiting in line. Grab a beer without spending $10 and go to the bathroom without wondering what disease I might contract by standing at the urinal. I can do this all at a moment's notice. Just pause my DVR and I'm ready.

Technology has made it easier for me to get into the game and consequently helped me to finally appreciate my dad.

Now don't take this to think I no longer leave the house. I do. I have Denver Nuggets season tickets and go to 20 or so Colorado Rockies games a year. I also never miss a big Big 12 game against Colorado and might even catch an occasional "off" game in Boulder. I still get out because I still love the atmosphere of being there. Technology has just helped me be there when I physically can't.

So dad I finally get you.  But honestly, how did you do it before HD TV and surround sound?