Watching Sports with Your Ears

LA Kings

Courtesy of the LA Kings

I am a sports fan. This should come as no surprise to those of you who have been following this blog, since about three and a half months ago I expounded on the full extent of my sports obsession while lamenting my inability to watch the Olympics. Well, that sad time ended, and for awhile I forgot that sports existed at home. Then the Stanley Cup Finals came, and my wife’s team began its dramatic quest to win the cup. We still couldn’t watch, so we did the next best thing, the only thing we could do: we listened.

The Los Angeles Kings are a dramatic team. They like beating the odds, preferring (it would seem) to get behind in games and in series before winning the must-wins and scoring in overtime. This year’s first playoff series in San Jose was just torturous for a Kings fan. They lost the first three games, leaving them with no other choice but to win the next four to get to the next round. And so they did, becoming one of the only teams in the NHL to do so. The next round against the Anaheim Ducks went the same way. Then came the Blackhawks, which took an excruciating seven games as well. And as we approach the Stanley Cup finals, we hope the Kings decide to stick to a more classic way of winning the Cup.

The Kings’ ability to come from behind and eek out overtime victories makes them an exciting team to follow. And although television is still the best way to watch hockey, listening on the radio is very satisfying. Whether it’s with the local Kings announcers or from the opposing team, a lot can be gathered from radio commentary. Good commentators keep you informed so you can see the action in your mind’s eye. Great commentators give you a sense of the kind of game that’s occurring, filling in the gaps for the radio audience and answering questions like: Who’s playing better? Who’s getting frustrated? Who has momentum? Which players are rising to the top? Whose coaches are making better adjustments?

I have always been an auditory learner, preferring interactive methods of study to the more passive “stick your head in the book” method. I’m such an aural person that while reading a book, I prefer to summarize the plot for someone else as a way to solidify it in my own mind. Saying something out loud — hearing myself say it out loud — makes it permanent for me. So I get a great deal out of radio programs, even sports.

The other aspect of radio sports is that it transports me to a time when families gathered around the radio to listen to the game — or whatever other important announcement came over the radio. In a time of attention deficit worsened, maybe even caused, by the digital world, it’s nice to get a chance to concentrate on one thing for an extended period of time. Because though I get a lot out of listening to the radio, one really needs to listen when only one of her senses is engaged at a time.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the series. It’ll be exciting and action-packed, as all the previous games have been. And because of the way my brain works, I’m looking forward to spending more quality time with the radio. That way, I can work my imagination the way the LA Kings players work that puck!


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