Many moons ago, after graduation from college, I made one of the most important choices of my life; I decided to go live with the future Mrs. SSR. It was a pretty big risk, because I was very much the overgrown child that many boys are at that age. A combination of too many video games and not enough cleanliness always seemed likely to scuttle the whole deal, but I tried my best to become a better man, and things were going swimmingly for the first few months. Then, basketball season hit. Soon, we were having the following weekly conversation
Future Mrs. SSR: Hey, my friends invited us out to dinner on Sunday night, you want to go?
Me: Oh, there's a big Lakers game Sunday, can we do it some other time?
Future Mrs. SSR: No big deal. You want to watch something together?
Me: Er, there's a Lakers game on tonight, too.
Future Mrs. SSR: Oh right. What about tomorrow night, let's go out and get a nice dinner.
Future Mrs. SSR: Oh ... OK
That, my friends, is not the foundation of a loving and successful relationship. I want to be crystal clear, both in the interests of fairness, and because my wife sometimes peruses this webspace, that when it comes to putting up with my fandom, my wife is a saint. She never complained about my having 3-4 nights a week committed to the Lakers. She never demanded that I miss so much as a single game. But she wasn't happy either, and looking back, I can't blame her in the slightest for it. Maybe it would be easier if I didn't love so many different sports and teams, but between the Lakers, Chargers and college football, most of my nights and weekends were booked. Plus there was one of those pesky jobs to be had the rest of the time. Matters were not assisted by the fact that we had only one television. Even worse than the fact that I was always watching sports, she also had to always watch sports, or else find some other form of entertainment. We couldn't watch any television shows, because it's impossible to see every episode of a show and every game of a season at the same time. Eventually, they will intersect, and the smart sports fan knows to just not bother.
The next year, we moved to a new apartment, and I took the opportunity as a chance to get on board with what is the single most useful piece of technology to any modern family: the DVR.
The DVR (Digital Video Recorder) will change (or more likely already has changed) your life. Now that I have one, it is literally unfathomable to me how I ever survived without it. And I can guarantee I would not be a happily married man today without it's influence on my life. Now, I watch a fair amount of my sporting events after the Mrs. has gone to bed, or while she's busy with other things. I fit sports into my schedule, instead of fitting my schedule into sports. Even better, we can follow TV shows that we like, because DVRs usually record at least two different channels at a time.
The DVR is not a perfect companion to sports. The best, most important, quality of sports is that it is unscripted. There are favorites and underdogs, but nobody actually knows who will win any given sporting event, and we know even less about how the event will play out. Because it is not pre-scripted, the surprises are what make it special. Watching sports on DVR has the potential to remove that quality because sports may not be pre-scripted, but it is heavily post-scripted. You may not have watched the game live, but millions of other people, and journalists, did, and they are all talking about it, especially if it ended up being worth watching for some special reason.
It takes hard work and dilligence to be able to properly watch sports on DVR. If you plan on watching a sporting event that has already happened, you must isolate yourself from the outside world. You can't check the scores of other games on the internet, can't take a quick peek at Twitter. Depending on the event, I won't even take phone calls or look at text messages. Sometimes, I have to turn my phone off, all in the devotion of not knowing information that would damage my sports experience. I excel at this form of isolation, but even for me, stuff slips through the cracks sometimes. And, even when I've been fully successful at staying "pure", as I like to call it, there is still a certain magic lost in knowing that you aren't sharing that experience with millions of others at the same time.
It's not perfect, but man oh man is it worth it. DVR has allowed me to experience a whole other world that I never knew because I was such a slave to my favorite teams. I can follow a TV show without fear of having to choose between that show and a game, both of which are pivotal to the progression of their overall story. I can committ to a party, or a night out, without checking the schedule to see if there's a conflict. Friday night belongs to my wife now. Every week, we go out to dinner and usually add on a movie or something else to that effect. I play volleyball every Sunday night. Both of those nights are Lakers nights 80% of the time.
Sports, when followed with the passion that many of us share, can be like a drug. Last week, I told you about my soccer experience, an experience driven in its infancy almost entirely because I was looking for a sports fix. Getting a DVR is like a rehab program, except you don't have to give up the awesome feelings that led to your addiction in the first place. It lets you have a life, without having to sacrifice the thing that made you willing to go without a life before.
Technology is wonderful, and has a large impact on all of our lives. Some of that impact is more aesthetic (HD is a prime example) and some of it is more practical. But how much of it truly changes the way you are able to live your life? If HD didn't exist, I could still manage with an old school box TV. If smartphones didn't exist, I could live with checking email or surfing the internet at home only. But I can honestly say the DVR has changed my life, by allowing me to live two different lives at once, and I want no part of the life I had before DVR.
And neither does my wife.