Monday, September 28, 2009

To Embargo, or Not

Until about 6 years ago, I structured every week from August to January around Packer games. This was always a bit of a logistical challenge, having lived outside of Wisconsin since 1988. Each week, I had to find someplace that had the game – even if it meant showing up at a beer-soaked bar in Berkeley at 9:30 AM on a Sunday morning. This behavior was not popular with my family, but Leslie eventually came to accept that the Packers were simply part of our marriage.

The advent of NFL Sunday Ticket and Tivo are two of the great innovations of modern times. Like the grain harvester, printing press, and vacuum tube, these inventions were nothing short of breakthroughs. Modern miracles. Combine it with HD, and it really is the holy trinity of football fandom. Hard to imagine life without them.

However, having every Packer game captured in clean, crisp HD on my Tivo (actually, now my inferior DirecTV knock-off of Tivo) presents a new challenge. Of course, my preference is to watch the games “live” – by live, I usually like to watch it about 10 minutes delayed so I can fast-forward over commercials, official reviews, and the like. But often, as is the case this week, I could not watch the game live. When that happens, it begs the question: do I embargo myself (i.e. deliberately avoid any accounts of the outcome so as to keep it a “surprise” when I watch it), or do I watch the game knowing the outcome already.

I’ve found that the former, embargoing, is remarkably difficult to do. The onslaught of news and information is so thorough, that one needs to almost shut down all TV and Internet connections to not accidentally spoil your own surprise. The latter, knowing the outcome, is also difficult – particularly when they lose. Watching a Packer victory is always so enjoyable that I don’t mind the surprise being ruined. But when they lose, and you know it, and you still watch the game… well, that’s a bit like torture.

I, consequently, usually decide to attempt an embargo. Time-shifting my entire life to Packer time. But this week I found out the outcome, and am psyched to watch the victory over the Rams when I return home tomorrow. Look for my review of Week 3 once I have a chance to watch more than just the highlights on

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