AFTER THE WHISTLE | SteamboatToday.com
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AFTER THE WHISTLE

— It’s a rare occurrence in my house that I actually get ahold of the television remote control during prime time hours.

Why you ask?

Well, my wife would tell you that I’m a sports junkie and if I was given the chance I would watch sports 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Therefore, she is forced to keep the little black device under protective custody on most nights.



I would beg to differ, however.

The only time I watch that much sports television is during the football season, hockey season and baseball season. There is also no way I can watch the television 24 hours a day. I would but I still have to sleep, eat and work.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.



Other than those times of year, I’m perfectly willing to give into my wife’s diet of “Nick at Nite” sitcoms most of which come from the 70s and 80s.

So in my house getting the remote control has become a sort of contest. My wife takes her corner in the pink recliner, I’m in my corner in the white one.

The all powerful remote control sits on a table between us. The rules of the game are not written, however, they are pretty well understood.

Whoever gets the remote first gets the chance to surf those 36 channels of basic cable. But if the person cannot find a suitable channel after a couple of times around the horn, the other guy gets a shot. The only other rule is that my wife can amend the rules at any time.

It’s pretty easy to figure out that I loose at this game most of the time.

Once my wife locks into “Three’s Company” I’m finished. The only thing I can hope for is one of those “All in the Family” or “The Jeffersons” marathons. If that happens, she normally retreats upstairs for a warm bath or dozes off in the chair leaving me with my big chance.

A couple of nights ago my big opportunity finally arrived. I came home late after covering an evening story to find my wife asleep in her chair. The remote perched on the table and ready for grabbing.

It was Monday night and more importantly Game No. 3 of the Avalanche-Canucks series was in the second period.

I was giddy just thinking about watching playoff hockey (a game my wife doesn’t like) and beating my wife to the remote control punch. If I could get to the game before she woke up the television was mine for the night.

But after several high speed passes around the channels, I quickly realized that the game was not on.

My happiness soon turned to frustration and my frustration in turn became anger.

I still can’t understand how a Colorado hockey team can be playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs in a game that isn’t televised to every part of the state.

In an age filled with high speed internet, cellular telephones and more useless television channels than one household can stand, local Avs fans in Steamboat Springs and Craig who rely on cable were left out in the cold.

Tom Cotton, the general manager of AT&T, has gone out of his way in the past to get the Avalanche Hockey games on cable even when they are carried by UPN 20.

But this year UPN no longer leased the uplink for the games and many Western Slope Avs fans were left listening to Games No. 3 and 4 on the radio or reading about them in the newspaper the next day.

It would be easy to blame the cable company that didn’t carry the game or the Denver station that wouldn’t uplink the game. But the problem is much deeper than that.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not even going to act like I know the beginnings of how television contracts work or why three different networks share the responsibility of bringing the games to Colorado.

The only thing I care about is the fact that when I turn on my television I can’t see the one game that is really important to me.

These three networks and the Avalanche need to figure out how to get the playoff games to all of Colorado and to the region the team represents. No matter if the fans live in Denver, subscribe to cable or have a satellite dish fromsomewhere else in the state.

It’s unfortunate that in our high tech world many Avalanche fans can’t sit down and watch “their” team play in one of the biggest games of the year in the comfort of their own homes.

It just can’t be that difficult. Take an example from football, baseball and basketball, where all of the playoff games are broadcast around the country or at least to the regions that are important to them. I have roughly 36 different channels on my television, but this time of year I only really need one the one that features those big playoff games.

But until the powers that be figure out how to fill that one little request, I will be forced to sit back in my big white chair and watch Jack, Janet and Chrissy try to figure out how to pay the rent.


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