Remember those days a long long time ago before Rupert Murdoch’s Star network entered the Indian market? When the only television networks we used to get in Mizoram were Doordarshan, Bangladesh Channel and a couple of “Khawchhak” (South East Asian) channels? All we had to do was twist our TV antennae a bit and voilà, technology astonished us. And our elder brothers who had the knack of “twisting out” such channels were highly treasured as the community’s pride and neighbor’s envy. It was even an appropriate “bullet point” to mention in a Résumé that you were a talented antennae twister back then
You could see him walking slowly down the market square with a slight hobble and chin held up high, wearing bell-bottom jeans and leather jacket and sideburns on his cheeks which were actually just an extension of the same hair from his head… And the village damsels would stop whatever they were doing and sigh and flutter their eyelids at him. All the men admired him, all the maidens drooled over him, and all the mothers wanted him to marry their daughter. Such was the reputation of the antennae twister. Ah, those good ’ol days
And long before “Star Plus” had shows such as MASH and Sledgehammer, and before VJ Nonie was sweeping us off our feet at MTV, we had to rely on Doordarshan (I think) for the Football World Cup telecast! Every locality had a certain house which had a TV, where everybody would gather to cheer for Argentina, Cameroon or Brazil waving their respective flags. It didn’t matter what color the flag you’re carrying was, as long as the design was similar, because everything was still in black & white then
And then Cable TV entered Mizoram, Michael Jackson became white and “Star Plus” became a Hindi channel. A lot of things have changed since then. You can now catch the LIVE coverage of almost every sporting event here on the face of earth, including “sports” that involves rolling a flat disc while another team member runs along with that disc and “polishes” the ground surface on the path of the disc, until it hits another disc. I didn’t understand the game, and I didn’t give a damn what the name of the game was. But still I watched. Because it was a LIVE coverage.
This morning, 1:15 am IST, my team Arsenal had a match against Newcastle United. And horrors of horrors, neither ESPN nor StarSports were telecasting the match!!! Can you believe that? Gunners versus Magpies and no TV coverage! My ex-roomie all the way from Bangalore told me it had something to do with last minute match rescheduling. Bummer.
Here is where technology takes a step forward: Even with no TV, we really enjoyed the game!
At first, I did what my Arsenal pals from arseblog.com suggested: Downloaded the sopcast application so that I could watch the match LIVE on my computer. It was only after setting it up that I realized, we don’t get an internet speed greater than 2 MBps (256 kbps) here in India (TRAI regulations), which sopcast clearly required.
Hehe, so it was back to the ’ol drawing board for me. But things weren’t that bad.
I went to the usual livescore.com and sportinglife.com to “watch” the action. Livescore shows the minute by minute score update of all the matches that are playing simultaneously, while sportinglife displays the minute-by-minute written commentary of a particular game, highlighting the most important event of that particular minute (a goal, a free-kick, a corner, a stumble etc) in detail.
In addition to those two windows, I was chatting with my ex-roomie in Bangalore all the way from here, Delhi, with webcam and the entire Arsenal uniform, cheering or cursing together as we read the latest written commentary
Apart from all that, we were also online at various Arsenal forums, taking part in the ongoing discussions along with thousands of Arsenal fans worldwide. A very nice dude from UK immediately posted this clip just after Adebayor scored the first goal in the 4th minute. Thanx dude, whoever you are. The clip immediately sparked off a discussion between me and my ex-roomie.
Commentator (immediately after the goal): Adebayor! That’s outstanding. That’s typical Arsenal, typical Adebayor.See, it’s quite like watching the game right besides my ex-roomie. We can see each other through the webcam, hear each other through voice conference, and chat with each other through messenger. Technology sure has leaped ahead.
illusionaire: wat the heck did he mean “typical Adebayor”??????
illusionaire: how many times hav he shot like dat??? lolz.
amosair: crazy guy
illusionaire: think he’s just sayin something for the sake of sayin somethin
amosair: or he’s prolly watching the game via the internet just like us
illusionaire: say how much do you think the guy writing down the match minute-by-minute is getting paid?
amosair: no idea, prolly more than 500 pounds
amosair: fook, I’ll do it for free!
illusionaire: hahaha. me too
And oh, there was also the BBC radio broadcast (sports channel) running continuously in the background of our system, occasionally updating us with the ongoing match along with other worldwide sports news.
I can visualize, 5 years from now, some of the younger generation who are watching the match LIVE on the internet at +50 MBps cribbing about how they used to browse the internet this way too. Sigh. I guess every generation has its own set of people who reminisce through their respective “stone ages”.
After the match, it really felt good enjoying such a game. It felt almost similar to watching the game LIVE on TV with friends cheering, hugging and patting each other, except that there was no TV and no friends around. Thank you Internet! You sure do bring out the “PAT” in pathetic