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Up All Night with ‘My’ Teams

October 9th, 2020 · No Comments · Baseball, Basketball, Dodgers, Football, France, Lakers, Los Angeles Rams, NBA, NFL, Rams, Sports, Sports Journalism

I need the Lakers to close out the NBA Finals tonight.

Because I have money on them? Because I have become a fan of LeBron James? Because I can’t stand to see them lose?


I need them to win so I can get a little sleep.

A downside for an American living in France?

Following our favorite sports teams in real time … is a real test of a body clock.

During the 50 years or so when I lived in Southern California, the team commitment test was being allowed to stay up “late” and watch the Lakers or Rams or Dodgers (the few times a year the latter were on television).

Seeing my teams play (and UCLA basketball was in there, too) … was about having homework done when games east of the Pacific Time Zone were already playing.

Over here, in Europe, we can get nearly everything on TV, even in American sports, if we are willing to pay for it.

The problem is being awake when the games are being played in Los Angeles — nine hours behind most of Europe.

Much of the time, I just let my sleep center decide if I can remain awake long enough to see games start in the Pacific time zone … or whether I can wake up in the wee small hours and catch up on games that are in progress when Europe is asleep.

Before I was a sports journalist, I was a sports fan. Talking maybe 7 years old here, watching the Rams on Sunday afternoon (Roman Gabriel), often getting the Lakers (Jerry West!), and sometimes just listening to the Dodgers (Sandy Koufax) on the radio — since the club’s only televised games were the nine they played in San Francisco.

(I followed Koufax’s 1965 perfect game versus the Cubs via radio in our kitchen.)

Some specifics:

–The Lakers in the NBA Finals have had 3 a.m. (France time) tipoffs for all but the game last Sunday, when it was a 1:30 a.m. start.

–The Dodgers are the late game in the U.S., but way too late for my normal bedtimes. Like, 4 a.m. starts (over here) and 7:30 a.m. conclusions.

When the Rams sneak in there, their road games might kick off at 7 p.m. (Easy Street!) over here, and most of the rest start at 10 p.m. in France, and I usually can stay up till 1 a.m.

The Dodgers have been the real test, during the MLB playoffs, with multiple games beginning at 4 a.m., which is a particularly difficult time of night for normal circadian rhythms.

You may have noticed that the Lakers and Dodgers have been in the playoffs for quite some time, and “staying up” or “waking up” are the options.

Last night, I faded out at 1:30 a.m., but I woke, on the couch, at 4:44 a.m., and I picked up the Dodgers (and their 12-3 victory) in the bottom of the second inning. I watched the rest of the game. It ended around 7 a.m. — which is the toughest situation, in terms of my head. The Lakers are late, too, but they generally are done by 5 a.m. — a couple of hours ahead of the Dodgers.

Why won’t I tape the games? Because I want my stuff to be live. Simple as that. I will wreck my sleep sked rather than watch warmed-over games.

So. The Lakers lead the Miami Heat 3-1 in the best-of-seven Finals. I am guessing I will pass out before night, and then pick them up in the second half. (Though I have been known to sleep right on through, and miss even the end of the games).

So, yes, LeBron and Anthony Davis … see what you can do about wrapping this up. I can come back for a Game 6 on Sunday, but I would be grateful if it doesn’t take you that long.


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