mike ro chipAs a kid growing up in Norman in the early seventies, the weekends were sacred. All week, I plotted my plan to park myself in front of the TV and radio and soak in all the sports I could.

Sure, we had Monday Night Football with Cosell and Co., which was great, but until my last two years of high school, I had to go to bed after the halftime highlights! It was agony!

Saturday’s were spent with Sooner football, sometimes at the games and always listening to the radio.

I always got excited about the ABC Game of the Week, the Sunday ABC college football highlights show, the Notre Dame playback with Lindsey Nelson and the OU playback with Barry Switzer Sunday nights.

Of course the NFL doubleheader was a must on Sunday’s too.

I lived for these precious two days spent with sports and getting a chance to checkout some of the teams I rarely got to see. It was exhilarating.

Same for baseball and basketball. NBC had their Saturday baseball game of the week, I finally got to see my favorite player, Rod Carew, once when they put a Twins game on. I was pumped!

Sunday NBA on CBS was always a must too, especially when Bird and Magic came along, and we actually got two games. Almost always involving the Celtics and Lakers. That usually had me in front of the tube all day.

Times were tough for sports fans back then. We needed more games!

Fast forward to today, and technology has changed everything about the way we can experience sports.

If you’re a fan of a decent college team that’s not stuck in the FCS ranks, it’s virtually impossible not to see your team on some broadcast EVERY week. If it’s not on one of the one million sports channels, you can bet it’s going to be streaming somewhere.

For pro teams, it’s a given.

Hardcore fans still attend games, mostly football games, but that’s becoming more of a challenge for some schools with the advent of HDTVs, surround sound, etc.

Why go to the game when I can avoid traffic and bloated concession prices and watch in the comfort of my own home.

That’s a tough sell for schools that aren’t college football powerhouses. That’s why you see so many athletic departments trying to improve the gameday experience for fans.

College football will always have tailgating to fall back on. Regular season college hoops attendance is dying, because unless it’s a big time matchup, many fans just don’t think it’s worth the effort to go to games. There are some exceptions, like Kentucky.

Social media and apps have changed the game as well.

Do I even need to watch SportsCenter when I’ve usually seen every big game highlight posted on Twitter? Do I need to hear their experts when everyone in the free world has a podcast waiting to be downloaded?

You get play by play from games, quotes from press conferences and more instantaneously on social media. And it’s not just from reporters, everybody is tweeting that stuff.

I can see virtually every shot on the PGA Tour, watch Arsenal soccer matches on the treadmill and watch Steven Adams rollout on the Thunder book bus all via app. Anywhere. Anytime. Pretty much.

And I haven’t even gotten into fantasy sports, which have totally changed the game as well. When NFL telecasts let you in on players’ Draft Kings salaries, you know it’s taking over.

In many ways the 2015 sports world is totally superior to my formative years watching sports in the seventies.

I’ve gone from “Man, if only that game was on somewhere,” to “Wow, another game tonight! I can’t keep up!”

I much prefer the latter issue over the former.

Somewhere, on some channel, some streaming site, some application, your team is playing. Get the remote ready, get Wifi connected… it’s on!

And if you’re going to the game, have fun. I’ll be there with HD, tablet or mobile phone. It’s just so much easier.

Technology rules.

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