I stayed awake the other night to watch the Tigers beat the Yankees in game five. It wasn’t easy. Joaquin Benoit takes a really long time between pitches. I might have drifted off one or seven times.
But I stuck with it, and I was proud of myself.
Somehow, this kind of thing has become an accomplishment.
I’m 28, but in the last five years or so, my sleeping habits have become progressively more and more grown-up. If I make it to 11 p.m., it’s quite a day.
In a lot of ways, I’m fine with this. I like waking up early, and I like being well-rested.
But my sports viewing abilities have taken a serious hit. Baseball Tonight? Make it Baseball Tomorrow Morning.
It’s bad. I miss everything. People at work ask me if I saw the game last night. Unless they mean the soccer game I covered in the afternoon that drifted into the evening, the answer’s usually no. I caught the highlights, I’ll say. But if I didn’t, they’re out of luck. The sports editor doesn’t watch sports after 10 p.m.
Most days, it’s not a big deal. I still know what’s going. I can carry on a conversation. Even if I don’t know what’s going on, I can fake it.
What kills me are the big games. I don’t want to just know enough to have a conversation. I want to see it – the big win and the big moments.
I distinctly remember the first time I missed something. It was January 1, 2007. Boise State vs. Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. Boise State was playing well, leading at the half and planting ideas of an upset.
But I was exhausted. I called it a night.
The next morning, I woke up to talk of one of the greatest college football games ever played. Boise State won in overtime. I would have absolutely loved it.
I was snoring instead.
As I read the recaps and watched the highlights, I vowed to never again go to bed in the midst of something special.
Of course, I’ve broken the promise.
I guess the problem is you never really know when something’s going to be special. Or the real problem is that I use that as an excuse. Something might happen, I’ll tell myself, but man that bed looks inviting.
It happened again last month. The greatest night of baseball in our lifetimes? Snooze. I went to bed with the Red Sox still winning. If I were a Red Sox fan, that might have been a good thing. As a general baseball fan, it was terrible. How could I have missed that?
Not surprisingly, I redid the whole vow thing. We’ll see if it works, but I’ll count that ALDS game five as a step in the right direction. I thought about going to bed. I even brushed my teeth. But I fought off the urge. I sat up straight on the couch. I turned the TV up loud.
I didn’t really see anything too special in the end, just the Tigers finishing it off. But I went to bed knowing that for at least one night, I had done my duty as a sports fan.
I have no idea if I’ll be able to do it again. Here’s hoping.
What I do know is that there won’t be a decisive game for at least a few more days.
I’ll take that as good news.
And I’ll probably take a nap.
William Geoghegan is the sports editor at the Warwick Beacon. He can be reached at 732-3100 and firstname.lastname@example.org.