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The Joy of Text

Frank Ahrens

Last night, my beloved West Virginia University Mountaineers men's basketball team played hated in-state rival, Marshall University, in my hometown of Charleston, W.Va. They had beaten us---inexplicably, I might add---the past couple of years, so we fans were jonesing for some payback.

Unfortunately, the game was not on TV here in Washington. If I had been near my laptop, I could have paid CSTV.com $9.95 to watch it online, but I wasn't.

So I followed the game the next-best way: via text message.

Marshall opened up an early lead, which led my buddy back in Charleston, Ken Ward Jr., to text me a rude epithet hurled at Marshall. While I shared his sentiment, I suggested that score updates via text would actually be more helpful.

Over the next two hours, Ken sent me 11 text messages with score updates. At one point, I texted him back, applauding him on his efficiency.

WVU came back and beat Marshall going away.

Right after Ken's last message, I got a text from my buddy, Johnny Ray, that read: "Finally!"

Like me, Johnny Ray had been engaged in remote viewing of the basketball game. In Tennessee on business, he called his family back in West Virginia and stayed on his cell phone for two hours during the game, as they watched the game on TV and described it to him.

This morning, Johnny Ray texted: "I got the play by play from Zach," his 5-year-old son.

Of course, the game itself was secondary to the fact that J. Ray could spend two hours with this family as they are separated by geography and circumstance. I enjoy keeping in touch with Ken even though both of us are busy enough to preclude regular visits.

I'm sure both I and J. Ray could have signed up for some automatic service that would have provided constant text updates on the score of last night's game. It probably would have been more efficient and comprehensive than the the play-by-play of a five-year-old. But that would have missed the point.

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 25, 2007; 10:51 AM ET  | Category:  Frank Ahrens
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Comments

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Good story. Compliments come easy for all of us West Virginians who remain West Virginians wherever we are. However, you should be aware that you often can follow play by play almost in real time at Yahoo sports and ESPN.com.
Last night, Yahoo was faster.
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