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Dads, Girls and Television

September 27, 2011

     Women are superior to men in a lot of ways – especially when it comes to conversations. Men struggle to carry on one conversation at a time while women can carry on several conversations at once. So, when I sit down for dinner I have no ability to follow any of the nine conversations happening at the same time between my wife and two girls. When you also consider that I have already said my 10,000 words for the day and each girl in the house is only about 12,000 words into their respective 15,000-20,000 words for the day, there is still a lot of talking to do.
     I can’t treat these conversations like white noise. Girls need to feel connected, and my girls (along with most women) connect through talking. They call it sharing. So, I can’t say, “thanks for telling me that.” I have learned to say, “thank you for sharing that with me.” This ‘sharing’ time goes beyond dinner. Well beyond. Usually into TV time. Because many things need to be shared (new, old or ancient) or re-shared (no limit on how many times something can be shared), there is little to no regard to TV – even if they pick the show. So, regardless of who picks the show, they talk the whole time – to each other, to me, on the phone…etc. I try to watch the show, but I am limited by genetics and gender and can’t follow (or hear) the show and the conversations at the same time – they can.
     I think this explains why men watch sports. Guys watch countless hours of sports because you don’t need to “hear” or “listen” to a televised game to understand what is happening. So far, I have yet to find a sporting event that needs to be watched with the sound turned on. I believe sports programmers understand this problem, so they make it easier each year to watch sports with no sound by utilizing icons, score boards and game clocks to convey exactly what is going on during a game, match, tournament…etc. When a football game is on, I know the score, down, quarter, play clock, first down line, game clock, time outs, scores from other games….etc. You don’t need the sound. Even the game and player stats are brought up on the screen, and the commentators circle the player to watch with a smart pen before the replay (it’s as if they know this). And if you understand the penalty signals by referees or how an umpire calls a strike, you can follow it all. This is true for football, golf, baseball, NASCAR, hockey, basketball and so on.
     Think about it. Do you really think I’m interested in a Canadian Football League game on a Tuesday night? NO!!! But it is the only thing I can watch and know what is going on while the rest of my house chats. The four major networks and ESPN are not enough, so cable now has ESPN2, Speed Channel, NHL Network, ESPNU, ESPN Classic…etc. They are even making up sports to watch – Arena Football, X-Games and the likes. Because there aren’t enough games to fill 24 hours a day of programming, we now have channels where we can watch games played 15 years ago. Given that 24 hour sports channels are found around the world, I am led to believe this is an issue felt by men around the world that crosses the boundaries of culture and race.
     However, an untrained guy can’t jump into any game at any time with no sound and several conversations happening around him and expect to follow the game. No. That is where the sports bar comes in. It is a training camp for guys. The sports bar is complete with background noise, subtitles (for practice, because you can’t have these on at home), other guys to teach you how read the TV scoreboard and the rules of exotic games like cricket. To create a real-life environment for men to practice, sports bars also have women simultaneously asking simple yes/no questions (i.e. Would you like a beer?) with easy follow up questions (i.e. What kind?) so we can practice before we get home. Entire global industries in media and dining have been created so that men can learn to watch TV and ‘share’ their day all at the same time.
          © Johnny Hea – 2011 All Rights Reserved

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  1. Great post! Thank you!

  2. mamadestroy permalink

    You may not talk much, but you have clearly found a medium through which you are able to communicate really effectively! Your sense of humor comes through loud and clear! Thanks for making me laugh several times on this foggy Brooklyn morning!

    • Thanks for visiting!!! I am not the best blogger from the standpoint that I only post once a week. I am more like columnist that publishes via my blog. I put more frequent things up on my Facebook page, but I get busy. Also, if I am really tired, which is most of the time, I am not as funny. ;D

      • mamadestroy permalink

        Hey. Even the best of us is cranky when we need a nap! And I think a once a week schedule is phenomenal– my output is quite spotty.

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