Why is it so hard to watch a sporting event these days?
Perfect would be one way to describe Saturday afternoon. Really perfect would be another. There I was, at the beach in New London, among the sun, many friends and the blessings of a great life. If the universe could have hit the cosmic pause button right there ... who would need anything else?
So, of course, I left early.
It was a holy day of sports obligation. Boston College's football opener. A biggie, too, against Virginia Tech. We even have a local BC connection here now, AJ Dillon of New London, who is BC's best player and was a popular conversation topic on the beach (except for my wise guy friend Jason Burdick who gave me a "Go Virginia Tech!" sendoff as I was leaving).
I got home in time to watch the game.
And I couldn't.
And I'm thinking this is becoming an issue for sports fans across the country now.
We just want to watch the game.
Why is it so hard?
I mean, we're not asking for a million dollars or a new Beamer to pop up in the driveway.
We just want to watch the game.
My understanding all week was that the game would air on ESPN3/WatchESPN, which has always been accessible for me through my phone and laptop. Except that somebody out there thought it was a boffo idea to create something called the "ACC Network," which launched earlier this month. BC-Virginia Tech aired on the ACC Network, which about 22 people can actually watch right now.
Hell hath no fury? This just in: No woman scorned could match old Mikey D's comportment as utter absurdity imperiled his holy day of obligation.
I inquire with the ACC Network and get this initially: It's my responsibility to call my cable providers and pine for the ACC Network's addition to the lineup.
Ahhhhh. Got it. It's my fault I can't watch my school play a football game.
Could you imagine that call?
Me: "Hi, Frontier? Mike DiMauro here."
Frontier: "Mike! So good to hear from you!"
Me: "Listen, I need the ACC Network."
Frontier: "Of course! We'll get right on this! Anything for such a loyal customer!"
I mean, stop. Just stop.
And just so we're clear: I was told that because my cable provider does not have the ACC Network, I wasn't "authorized" (their word) to watch the game.
Like I'm trying to gain security clearance to Quantico.
I just want to watch a football game.
My only recourse: Whine on Twitter. I was good, too. "Hey! AJ just scored! Wish I could have seen it! Nice work @ACCNetwork!"
It worked to a point. I got someone from the ACC Network to respond. The response: I could go to YouTube TV or Hulu Live, use their free trials and watch ACC Network immediately.
Problem: I have no interest in subscribing to YouTube TV or Hulu Live. Not in the budget. Hence, I'd have to do something intellectually dishonest — sign up for something I'd cancel three hours later — just to watch a football game.
A more cynical fellow might even call that stealing.
To watch a football game.
I followed the play by play of the game on my phone and via a text thread with my best friends from college. Only a few of us actually watched. Same issues across the country. One of my guys gave us almost live updates because he signed up for a "free trial" of Sling TV.
Just to watch one game.
And this is the way of the world now. Ignore "Thou Shalt Not Steal" for a few hours, just to watch a football game. Call our cable providers to ask about a channel that will increase our cable bills. And we're supposed to know all this stuff like our ABCs. If we don't know Hulu, You Tube TV, Sling and fire sticks, we're dismissed as dinosaurs.
Sorry. I'm too busy.
And I just want to watch the game.
Modern technology foibles aren't merely a pox on the house of college football. Look around: Some providers have YES, for example. Some don't. Some have SNY. Some don't. DirecTV still insists the Nets are our "home team" here and blacks out the Celtics. Through some WNBA connections, I've discussed this with NBA people. I know of one Net fan around here (John Watt, who cuts what is left of my hair). One Net fan. One. As opposed to a generation who grew up with Larry, Kevin and the Chief.
Know what happened? The NBA blames DirecTV, DirecTV blames the NBA.
To recap: I was unable to watch a football game Saturday because the $142 a month I pay for cable and internet isn't enough. But it's my responsibility to call my cable provider and ask for a new network so I can eventually pay more than $142 a month.
For now, my recourse is to steal.
Hey, at least BC won. Not that I could see it. Nah. That's asking too much.
I wasn't authorized.
This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro