Three months into my move from Boston to Seattle, I’ve found one of the most notable differences, right behind the mountains and unfamiliar grocery stores, is the new time zone. Shocking, I know. It hasn’t changed my sleep schedule, nor how I go about most of my days--but it’s made me realize how different it is being a sports fan out here. Now I will be the first to admit that this experience is not unique to myself. BUT. I have yet to see anyone discussing how different the NFL viewing experience is once making the change over, so here goes nothing.
Growing up in suburban Massachusetts, Sundays were a bit of a holy day when Bill and Tom took the field. No, I don’t need to use their last names because every single one of you schmucks should know who I’m talking about. As I’m sure many of you can relate, pretty much the entire day is structured around when they play and who you are going to watch with. 1:00 game? Fuck doing homework, go help in the kitchen making food and setting up coolers with drinks and snacks for when family rolls through to spend the day. 4:05 game? Maybe do a bit of homework “before” (during) the first round of games before watching your boys play. The anticipation builds as those first games wind down and make that 4:00 spot all the more exciting. Homework can be done tomorrow morning over cereal and your mom’s angry yelling.
8:200 game? Prime time?? You might have friends and family alike coming over with food, drinks, and enough energy to power a stadium. Backyard football games are inevitable when the air is the mix of a crisp, late autumn chill and the smoke from the grill. Fuck school the next morning. Those games always seem to come down to the wire, and are always better once the world around you is dark and starts to slow down. The transition is seamless; the game becomes your world, and you can feel the connections to the people in the room around you, and around the country, tuned in to every drive.
But as I’ve adjusted to living on the west coast, I’ve come to the realization that watching football is significantly different than I had considered. Games usually start at 10:00 in the morning--and too many people aren’t willing to wake up at 7 am every sunday to start pregaming. The games at 1:30 are usually the more interesting contests, and are popular for Sunday lunch entertainment. But Sunday and Monday night football being on at 4:00 and 5:00? Walking into the local gay sports bar (shoutout Madison Pub) at 7:30 just to catch the end of the game? It’s a foreign feeling after being so used to filling Sunday evenings and late Monday nights with football. Where’s the late game that lets ’em stay out at the bars until midnight? Where are my glorious mornings that I can use as the small window of getting-shit-done time before the rest of the day is passed in glorious bliss?
I guess for the people out here who grew up with these times, it’s just the norm. I have yet to meet any east coast transplant fans like myself, though I’m sure they’d share a similar sentiment. I’m curious what a west coast transplant would say about east coast game times. Tweet us @LFGsports if you have stories or opinions on the matter.
For now, I’m content in saying that even though the game times are goofy, and despite the fact I can’t fight off the sunday scaries with football late into the night like I did back east, that feeling of being connected to a roomful of people watching a game hasn’t changed. Knowing that fans just like you across all time zones, even some madlads across the pond in London, are watching and cheering just like you, is something that I don’t think will ever go away.