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PST: The Perfect Time for Watching Sports

January 20th, 2018 · 1 Comment · Baseball, Basketball, College football, Football, France, NBA, NFL, The Sun, UAE

Here are the kickoffs for the NFL’s conference championship games tomorrow. That is, if you live under the umbrella of Pacific Standard Time.

New England at Jacksonville, 12:05 p.m.

Philadelphia at Minnesota, 3:40 p.m.

Convenient, as a viewer, no? Well, yes, and you should know it is not like that everywhere. If you have lived and worked on PST/PDT hours all your life … you may have no idea how good things are for you.

Because no live event you really care about begins play after 9 p.m., and many begin around noon on weekends. You can go to bed, then, and before midnight, and already know how everything turned out, in the world of sports, and still manage to not mess with your body clock.

Take it from me, as I sorta plan/hope to watch those two NFL games from my couch in France: It can be a test of patience as well as an overt assault on your nervous system when you live nine hours ahead of PST and six ahead of EST.

This is sort of a geography discussion, isn’t it. When does the sun rise and set where you live? How different is that from the places where key games in the sports you care about take place?

My previously location was even worse. Perhaps the worst in the world, for an American sports fan. That would be the six-plus years we lived in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The UAE is 12 hours ahead of PST, nine hours ahead of EST.

A 1 p.m. kickoff in Los Angeles is a 1 a.m. kickoff in Abu Dhabi. (A world turned upside down!) With the game ending around 4 a.m. in the Gulf. Making it a no-go situation if you want to keep your regular-hours job. Even 1 p.m. EST is rough — a 10 p.m. start in Abu Dhabi, and a finish around 1 a.m.

France is three hours closer, 50 weeks a year, to U.S. time zones. (Like the U.S., “daylight savings” is put into effect in Central European Time, but a week later, both spring and fall.)

Anyway, if I want to see both conference championship games, I will need to begin watching at 9 p.m. and continue watching until 4 a.m. — which is the exact hour the KGB used to come for its victims, having learned through experience that 4 a.m. is the low ebb of the human mind and spirit. Thus, I will be partaking of my own construct of potential mental-health damage.

The reality tends to be, even with a shift toward sitting in the dark late at night … that I will drift off before halftime of the second game, and it probably will be over by the time I regain consciousness.

(Though NBA games, in California, tend to end about 6:30 a.m. over here, and I sometimes wake up for the fourth quarters.)

PST, bless it, is the best of all time zones; your most difficult moments are 10 a.m. starts and, c’mon, even if you stayed up late the night before you can roll out of bed by 10 and watch the East Coast game in your jammies.

Your countrymen living in EST … some nights they have to stay up pretty late to see their own teams, when they happen to be playing on the Left Coast. Baseball is a particular problem, with a lot of 10 p.m. starts and 1 a.m. finishes.

Having worked for a California newspaper for more than three decades, I know a person can get a bit jaded about the wonderful-ness of PST.

At the PST paper, an 11 p.m. deadline still allowed us to include every news item for the whole planet from that calendar day. The key being that nothing but Hawaii and a lot of water is behind PST, creating a sort of dead zone of about six hours where nothing was stirring much of anywhere in the sports world aside, perhaps, from early action in Australia or New Zealand, who tend to play sports the U.S. does not care about.

Thus, we had all the results, and all the boxes, and all the breaking news — and none of that would need to be changed for another seven or eight hours — by which time readers would have their still-up-to-date newspapers in their driveways.

So, PST people … spare a moment to revel in your all-but-perfect timeliness. You can go to church ahead of the first game tomorrow and go to a movie or a restaurant after the second.

Meanwhile, I will be propping my eyes open even before the Vikings and Eagles kick off, and probably failing.



1 response so far ↓

  • 1 David // Jan 21, 2018 at 7:01 PM

    Heck, the adjustment to Central Time has been bad enough. (After weather, not having PST start times may be the biggest everyday drawback to my relocation.) I can’t even imagine trying to follow sports another seven hours to the east.

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