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Tech Anxiety Stalks Dreamscape

Frank Ahrens

Remember that classic anxiety dream?

You're in high school and you oversleep for the SAT. You run to the testing site and burst in with five minutes left, but your future is already ruined.

Maybe you still have that dream, or a version of it: First day of class and you don't know where your classes are. Important presentation and you show up at the wrong conference room. Ready to walk across stage and get your diploma only to realize you're not wearing pants.

I had a doozy of an anxiety dream last night and the cause of the anxiety was technology. And no, I wasn't being chased by a huge remote control that looked like my mother.

In the dream, my college football team -- the West Virginia Mountaineers -- were playing a big game against Texas. But it wasn't being shown on TV. I was watching some other game on TV, and desperately hoping the score would show up on the crawl at the bottom of the screen. At one point it did -- showing West Virginia behind.

I scrambled for my laptop to try to punch up a Web site -- any Web site -- that would give me the score.

Every time I got to a sports site, the page would start slowly loading but then freeze up ("Buffering...Buffering...") before it got to the scores!

[At this point in the David Lynch movie version of my dream, an Oompa-Loompa would wander in.]

Finally, the score started to crawl across the bottom of the TV screen. I saw "WVU 28..." and then woke up. The winning team is always shown first, so I awoke happy, realizing my alma mater had vanquished the Longhorns.

I know this dream was partly inspired by a real-life situation very much like it a few weeks earlier.

West Virginia was playing Mississipi State last month. The game was not televised, which these days seems improbable.

Okay, I figured. That means not televised on network or cable TV. But I'm sure I can buy a pay-per-view broadcast of the game from my satellite service.


Well then, I can buy a Webcast.

Again, nope.

I read that the game was being shown on pay-per-view on some cable systems in West Virginia only, which excluded me.

I was reduced to paying $25 for a one-year "Maroon To the Max" audio-only feed of the game from Mississipi State University, which I listened to on my laptop. So, you know, I can tune in those Bulldog baseball games in the spring if I want.

The point is: I, like most of us, have been trained by today's multi-media candy store to believe that I can get all the content I want when I want it. It may cost me, but I'm willing to pay. I shouldn't have to accept a poor substitute -- such as an Internet radio feed from the opposing team -- instead of a high-quality TV broadcast, I think.

If I have to, I feel cheated, crippled, left out.

Anxious, even.

By Frank Ahrens  |  November 2, 2006; 11:00 AM ET  | Category:  Frank Ahrens
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

I have almost an opposite problem. I am a University of Iowa grad, and so I ordered the ESPN GamePlan package, thinking most of the games would not be televised around here. Well, they have been on ABC and ESPN feeds around here for almost all of the "big" games, so I feel like I wasted my money. D'oh! But, I'm with you, I'm clearly wililng to pay for that convience of a TV broadcast.

Posted by: Chris | November 2, 2006 4:28 PM

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