Add to that a St. Louis Blues hockey game on cable. And throw in the fact that I had to re-write and edit a story I sold to a magazine by the following morning. My evening was set.
So why then, when a friend called and asked me to come to her house to watch a movie, did I jump at the opportunity quicker than Vladimir Tarasenko on an empty net goal chance? I shirked my responsibility to the magazine. It was a paying job and I can always use the extra money. But, more surprising, I dodged the responsibility to my sports obsession and skipped the games.
I'll pause while those who know me pick their stunned selves off the floor.
Sure. I like the girl I went to see. A lot. I'd probably go watch a documentary about air just to hang out with her. But still, I missed sports and that is somewhat surprising. I tend to not miss most big sporting events on television. I've taken the day off from work the past two years just to ensure I'd be home in time for the kickoff of the BCS National Championship football game. I've watched nearly every World Series games since 1969 and I stay up late just to see the west coast NHL playoff games in San Jose, Vancouver, Los Angeles and, when they were decent, Calgary.
But as the Spartans and Wildcats tipped off the other night and as they dropped the puck in St. Louis, I and my friend watched the HBO documentary on the 1993 slayings of three West Memphis, Ark., boys instead. The film showed the arrests, trial, appeals and eventual release of three men who were convicted. I covered that case, which gained international attention from the documentaries, from beginning to end over 19 years for three different newspapers, and viewers can even catch a glimpse of me looking all reporter like in the second of the three movies. I offered a running commentary for my friend about the characters in the case and a behind-the-scenes look at it all while we watched at her home. My babbling rantings, I'm sure, were similar to the droning of Tim McCarver during a baseball broadcast on FOX.
I've written about my sports obsession here before. My own mother used to criticize me for that, saying I could not be a good husband, let alone a decent person, because of the fanaticism I beheld toward sports when I was a kid.
Have I grown up a little? Am I reaching out to some sense of social being? Missing a Number 1 versus a Number 2, which is somewhat rare in college basketball, was big. But my skipping those games, and putting off writing that magazine article was just as monumental. (I'm not too far gone. I did do the rewrite into the wee hours of the morning and met the imposed deadline)
I've got until the first week of January when the BCS National Championship game is held to figure it all out. If I miss that one, I may need to seek professional help.