Losing Sports Showed Me … Just How Much Available Entertainment Sucks

So, there’s an article from Stephen Brunt entitled “The year we lost sports showed us just how much they anchor our lives”.  Well, I might only be a causal sports fan, but from the early comments there are lots of people that are essentially saying “Speak for yourself!”.  For the most part, for me when sports went away all it meant was that I had to find other things to do or watch, and when they returned I drifted back to them when convenient, and when they ended I, again, found other things to do.  And when they were on, I didn’t care that they were in empty stadiums or with any of the changes.  In fact, some of the changes were better because they ran more often during the day when I could actually watch, so that was a nice difference.

Due to the pandemic, I ended up working from home, and whenever I do anything at home, at least, I need noise.  At work, I tend to use noise to drown out the noise around me when it gets distracting, and so use music and SF Debris for that.  If I go into work when no one is there — my normal early start time or on weekends — then I don’t really need to have noise and can enjoy the silence.  But at home I don’t like the silence, and so need to have something on to generate some noise.  And my experience with game playing has demonstrated that I like to have something that I can look up at when I don’t need to pay attention to the screen, and so that means having the TV on (my main desk in the office is set up so that I can see the TV from there, although at times if I’m playing a louder game I can’t hear what’s happening on the TV).  And early on in the process, I was looking for there to be something on TV to watch and adjusted my cable packages and the like to try to get stuff like that, because when I’m working the last thing I wanted to do was change the channels every half hour or even every hour, or have to enable the next episode.  What I want is something that I can leave on for a couple of hours at a time, which is why I ended up watching Lifetime-style movies like “Arizona”. 

And, at times, the TV itself was working.  Sure, I watched a lot of game shows and a couple of movies that were average at best, but for a while I could watch TV for good parts of the day.  When hockey and baseball came back, they actually fit neatly into the afternoons and so worked really well for what was indeed their primary purpose for me:  something that I could half-watch at times while working or doing my personal afternoon stuff after work that gave me noise and something interesting to look up at on occasion.  After they ended, what I ended up doing was watching game shows until 10 am and then switching over to music until I watched more game shows after noon, which worked out pretty well.

And then the schedule changed and there was nothing on that I wanted to watch in the mornings.  At all.

Now, I kinda had this problem at the beginning, but I took it as an opportunity and ended up rewatching my old DVDs that I had always wanted to rewatch.  So early in the year I rewatched “Dark Shadows”, “Smallville” and “Charmed”, along with some shorter ones like “Duck Dodgers”.  So I sighed and went back to that idea, and rewatched “Pretty Little Liars”.  But that pretty much left me looking at my cable hookup and wondering “What in the world do I have you for?  You never have anything on that I really want to watch anymore!”.  I even found myself listening to music — especially when I was on vacation — instead of bothering to watch even the few shows that I could watch in the morning.  And no, a streaming service wouldn’t help here because most of the streaming services I’ve had experience with get you to select one episode at a time, which is precisely what I was trying to avoid.  So I ended up rewatching movies at lunch on weekends, and listening to the radio or watching a DVD series in the mornings while working, and leaving on in the afternoon some basic game shows that were mostly tolerable but at times only worked because I wasn’t paying attention at all.

So, essentially, I went back to the state I was in when I ditched cable the first time, except that there weren’t even any sports on to make it worth my while to keep it.  And the fact that I had been able to find other things to do and watch and didn’t even really miss curling, and the fact that when sports went away my sports channels, in my opinion, handled the lockdown very badly left me with the knowledge that, yes, if all of my sports went away and even if I cancelled my cable subscription I’d still do pretty well just with the DVDs I have and perhaps some new DVDs that I could buy through Amazon (although I still hate browsing through them).  So it turns out that if it wasn’t for game shows I might not watch anything on cable at all, and I could easily skip the game shows and have indeed skipped them if I wanted to watch something else.  So, again, I have come to the conclusion that the available entertainment out there is … less than entertaining.

Still, I’m going to keep what I have, because sometimes it’s really, really useful.  But, yeah, losing sports and giving up on TV shows in annoyance has proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that, yes, I can live without them … contra to Brunt’s comments.

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