The Open Man countdowns to the 2018 college football season with 129 — in honor of the 129 programs participating in the Football Bowl Subdivision this year — things we love (and some we hate) about the sport. Click the 129 Things tag to see every entry.
For the first 25 years of my life, I lived in California and for all reasons that matter, the West Coast truly is the best coast.
The weather, the lifestyle (minus, you know, being poor forever because the cost of living is absurd) and the opportunities are endless. But the best thing about Best Coast living is the luxury of waking up to sports.
Come game day, you can roll out of bed on Saturday around 10 a.m., turn on the TV and bam! The day’s game slate is already underway, and you haven’t missed anything consequential. You can watch college football for literally the entire day, and even if a primetime game goes to overtime, it’s early enough in the night that you can finish the game and still go on with your life. And when you work in sports, you rarely miss deadline because even “late” games really aren’t that late.
Being a sports fan on the east coast though? Absolute garbage.
First of all, waking up to sports is far preferable to having to fall asleep on them, which is what east-coast sports fans have to endure every weekend. Not only that, but waiting until 1 p.m. for games to kick off? The inhumanity! I mean, sure – the upside is you get to watch the entirety of pre-game coverage across the major TV networks, which is fun, I guess.
But so many classic, history-making college football moments come in what are the wee hours of the night for east coast fans. Do you know how much you miss when you go to bed on sports?! Everything!
And being a fan living on the east coast of a team that plays out West? Forget it. You know that at least once a season, you’re going to have to prepare yourself for a 8 p.m. Pacific time kickoff. And to really test your mettle, that 11 p.m. Eastern time game might come on a Thursday night. If you’re lucky, you have a job where it’s socially acceptable to show up to work looking like a freaking zombie on Friday, having stayed up until 3 a.m. to support your team.
But man, is it brutal.
Falling asleep when your team is dominating an opponent is one thing. But going to bed before the game is decided and having to find out the next morning, online, that your team won in dramatic fashion or lost in the most devastating way possible is just…
These are the decisions east-coast sports fans have to deal with, though, each and every college football Saturday. Do I go to bed so I can be rested for work? Do I say, “screw it” and stick this out till the end? Should I take a nap a halftime to make it through the rest of this game? No one should have to make these kinds of tough choices!
And the cold part about it is, there’s no way to fix it, either. For TV reasons, it isn’t feasible to start games any earlier than they currently do, and really, an hour or two wouldn’t make much of a difference. East coast folks will still find themselves deciding between sleep and sports each week.
Then again, there is something slightly satisfying about dragging yourself into work after three hours of sleep, and seeing fellow fans of your team, also haggard looking from exhaustion.
Because you know that the night before, they, too, went the distance and made it to the end of the game. And in a way, you kind of went through that struggle together.
Which is why, the next time your team kicks off after 9 p.m. East Coast time, you’ll stay up for it. But it doesn’t mean you have to like it!