Sleep deprived? You definitely must be a sports fan

Paul Kix

I’m going to have a hard time staying awake through all this.

You see, as a fan of sports, I naturally spend too much time watching the various forms it comes in.

The problem is that nothing starts until it is under the cover of darkness.

Everything starts late during prime-time.

Before watching any game of significance, I make sure to get at least 14 hours of sleep for each of the three days before it. Then I pop a couple of NO-DOZE — they have been recommended by truckers who stop only for gas on their cross-country treks.

Take the World Series. It started a few minutes before eight o’clock Central Standard Time.

That meant in New York, some parents at least should have been putting their little ones to bed about the time that Roger Clemens started throwing bats around.

The kids definitely should have been in bed by the time the doubleheader began on ESPN Wednesday night during the regular-season baseball broadcast.

Some games did not begin until 11 p.m. on the East Coast. There is no game worth my watching that starts an hour before midnight.

There is little time to catch a few winks during the football season either.

Monday Night Football, after the three-hours of pregame speculation at ESPN, the pyros and Hank Williams, actually gets under way a little shy of 8:15.

And because of the forever-and-a-day length of these games, a more appropriate name might be the Monday Night-that-almost-always-finds-a-way-to-stretch-into-Tuesday-morning Football game.

Tom Beell, a professor of journalism at Iowa State, thinks I should blame the late starts on Californians.

Television stations, Beell says, have “to consider the West Coast.”

NBC wants viewers in Oregon to not have to rush home to catch the World Series, Beell said. “You want to give people a chance to see the whole game.”

As a high schooler in Tacoma, Washington, Beell remembers listening to the World Series over the loud speaker in his morning study hall. As a result, Beell says, “You don’t want to compromise viewers.”

Afternoon games may not be the answer.

But if start times continue to get pushed back, will sports fans continue to follow their favorite team even into the wee-hours of the morning?

In the future, will it be easy to pick out a sports fan in a crowd?

Will he or she be plagued by stumbling feet, bags under the eyes that seem to be weighted down, and a yawn attack that may never stop?

A night game was won last weekend by the Cyclones. But the 6:00 p.m. start was way too early by today’s standards.

Perhaps the best way to measure Iowa State’s future success is if a game begins at an hour where most Astronomy Club members have already packed their equipment and are heading for bed after a night of studying the twinkling sky above.

I believe this measurement of success will extend beyond the campus of Iowa State in the future.

In fact, I think you will not only be able to decipher what team is successful by the drooped faces of the people around you, but also what individuals are die-hard patrons.

“Hey Steve,” you might say to a man named Steve in the future, “why the bleary-eyes?”

“The Bulls were on last night,” Steve says. “They play in L.A. tonight. Game starts at 1 a.m.”

And you would nod and sympathize.