Villans are a die-hard bunch and will go to almost any lengths to watch a game. Usually, that just means the length of the bar, as most games are shown on Saturdays and Sundays. Granted, North American Villans do have to get up early before they drink their beer.
Purely hypothetically, I found myself wondering whether I’d be able to watch the live stream from my desk.
But for weekday, workday games, when the need to cash a paycheck conflicts with the desire to watch the game as it happens, fans will resort to a variety of measures. Recording the game and watching it later is one option, of course, although that requires the fan to “go dark,” avoiding his phone, screen, and anyone wearing a team shirt and an expression that could betray the result.
This is not always feasible.
There is one Villan—who will remain anonymous—who will open his laptop at the Globe so his employer can see that he is online and working. This is the same guy who streams games from his phone while he’s driving. Actually, a lot of guys do that, defending themselves against claims of distracted driving by saying, “I’m only listening!” We can only pray they’re not merging on the expressway when our team gives away a penalty.
In the olden days—that is, before NBC bought the rights to the Premier League broadcasts—I followed games via live-text update on the Aston Villa team site. I’ve also followed them on Twitter, which works, but is not at all satisfying. For this week’s home derby against West Brom, I thought I’d be able to watch it live with my kids on Tuesday, school and work being closed for cold—but Live Soccer TV, my usually reliable source, got the date wrong. The game was Wednesday. The kids would be back at school, and I would be at work.
Purely hypothetically, I found myself wondering whether I’d be able to watch the live stream from my desk. And, shortly before game time, as a thought experiment, I wondered whether I’d be able to remember my account information for RCN—my third cable provider in the last year.
I could not. However, in my mind, I imagined calling RCN to get that information, and having a conversation with the guy who answered the phone. You may think I have an active imagination, but he was actually amazingly helpful. Because, even though I couldn’t remember my account number or my password, and could provide only my address and phone number, this guy actually told me my password because I had come so close to getting it right!
Of course, by the time I emerged from my daydream of logging on to NBC Sports Live Extra, it was already the 12th minute of the game. I awoke from my reverie to find that THREE GOALS HAD ALREADY BEEN SCORED.
Seriously, you couldn’t make this up.
At any rate, as the afternoon continued and I toiled at my desk, I imagined how hard it might have been to concentrate, if I had had the game open in one tab of my browser. I mean, coming into the game with Villa down 1-2 to West Brom, I could only imagine how ugly the goal was that Bacuna bundled in in the 25th minute. And, had I been able to see and hear Delph’s STUNNING STRIKE in the 37th minute, I might have completely forgotten that I was listening on headphones and yelled out loud.
Oh, you fucking beauty!
It definitely would have been hard to concentrate on the steady trickle of emails in my in-box, and, when a colleague came into my office to ask a question, I would have had to move quickly to minimize the window. It would have been sheer agony making small talk with her, meanwhile wondering whether I’d missed another goal in this unbelievably exciting derby between the Midlands rivals—a fixture that’s been played many, many times over a 129-year rivalry.
I’m sure I would have gotten a little bit of work done during the 90-odd minutes it took for the game to play out, and I probably would have rationalized my lack of productivity by thinking about all the work I do on my own time. After all, I’d just spent four days away from my loving family while attending a conference in another city. Mulling that over, I might even have become self-righteous and said that my employer owed me the right to watch a game at work!
Anyway, I sure wish I would have seen it. As I found out later, it was an amazing game!
Reasons for Optimism
I’m feeling optimistic about everything this morning. Weimann is looking better and better, Benteke was winning the aerial battles, Delph is playing tough, Bertrand is showing us how little Luna does for us, and we showed such character and creativity that I’m willing to overlook our defensive lapses. I’m not even going to beat up on KEA for being subpar. And I’m not going to obsess about the fact that the Baggies aren’t much of a team. Games against them are always tough, and a win is a win.