College killed televised sports
Every fall, once the Rutgers football season begins, there is always so much buzz in the air surrounding campus. Free football T-shirt lines number into the hundreds, red is seen everywhere on campus and anyone who is anyone is in Rutgers Stadium on Saturday afternoons. Things do not always turn out well at these games, and some members of the crowd just come for the festive atmosphere and the tailgates prior to the game, but the fact is enough people have taken time out of their schedules to make the weekly pilgrimage to the stadium on Saturday.' But what about the rest of the week? One doesn't really hear much about sports in college unless you go and look for it. Besides watching SportsCenter or regional shows like Inside Rutgers Football on SNY and Hockey Night Live on MSG, local teams really don't see that much coverage here. Who at college reads any kind of newspaper like The Star-Ledger? I have not met anyone who does. The local beats go almost unknown to college students as newspapers continue their descent in the American psyche. Sites like ESPN Boston are providing local coverage on the Internet, but most of the coverage on there is from a national standpoint, provided by people who don't watch every game. But even watching the games can become a chore. When I first came to college, I watched six straight hours of football every Sunday, every Devils game I could and roughly 95 percent of Yankee games. I was never bored by any of these games and it was always fun for me. But for whatever reason, be it classes, work or just better ways to pass the time, my television sports spectatorship has probably been cut in half. During the summer, however, when I am bored out of my mind, I will still watch all the Yankee games and during winter break I return to my previous habits of watching hockey and bemoaning the fact that I have to watch the Jets, contractually obligated to be on CBS every week. Even though I have a rooted interest against the Jets - because of an irrational hatred of their fans - I was going back and forth between the game and my computer in the other room. Did I have anything worth doing on that computer? Absolutely not: maybe the slow pace of the game did me in, but for whatever reason I could not get into it, even though none of my roommates were here yet and I had nothing better to do.' Maybe it's not the sports, though, that Jets game notwithstanding. Freshman year, every room had some kind of TV and everyone was so excited and looking over the RUTV list to see what channels we had. But slowly and surely, use of the TVs waned. Our neighbor's TV broke early in the year and it did not faze them. We only used our HDTV to play Xbox 360. We literally did not watch anything on it until we got a TiVo in January, but that short infatuation lasted about a week.' And the most interesting part is that next year, when my friends and I are living in an off-campus apartment, we have elected to not even get cable. If you had told me in high school that I would voluntarily turn down cable at any cost, I would have wondered if I had a lobotomy. But it has happened. The only channels we watch are Fox, CBS, NBC and ABC, so we do not even need cable. I can just go to ESPN.com to watch whatever they're putting on, so it is not even a big deal. Maybe college just isn't made for sports fans or just television fans in general, with the ability to download anything at the drop of a hat. But at the same time, it just doesn't feel right to me that I have lost my proverbial fastball when it comes to the obscurities of professional sports. Ironically, the only one I have left is Rutgers football, the one I care least about. Maybe I have just fallen prey to why college kills TV. Sports certainly have not gotten boring to me, but I just can't figure out why college does this to TV - but it does. ' '
Matthew Torino is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in politcal science.' '