Got Game?

For die-hard fans in the hinterlands, keeping up with the Cardinal is tough.

November/December 2002

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Got Game?

Peter Hoey

My years at Stanford are now far enough in the past that they can be referred to as the good old days. One reason they were the good old days is that I was able to cheer on my beloved Cardinal, in person, in a wide variety of athletic contests. Now that I live a couple thousand miles away, it is a significant chore just to keep track of our teams. Like many who left the Farm for other places around the world, I have learned that the major networks assume only people on the West Coast could possibly be interested in watching a game involving the Pac-10’s smallest school, regardless of how well its team is doing.

Most of the time, we end up just listening to radio broadcasts on the web. If we want to actually watch Stanford play, a sports bar may be the only option. But even games that are being broadcast on the West Coast may not be available on the satellite system of any given bar. We usually do not discover this until we go to the sports bar and check. And even when a bar can find the Stanford game, the environment has its disadvantages. (Imagine watching March Madness surrounded by Jayhawks fans.) As a nondrinker, I’ve struggled to overcome my natural aversion to bars. Now, I spend so much time sipping diet soda at a place called The Colosseum that the staff recognize me and start to look for “the Stanford game”—be it football, baseball, or men’s or women’s basketball—before I even ask.

Every once in a while, we Midwestern alums get the chance to cheer for our team in person. On rare occasions, usually in the postseason, a Stanford team plays here in the hinterlands. With a little creative modification of the work schedule, a call to the Stanford ticket office, a few hundred miles in the car and a bit of luck, sometimes we can get to the game. (Be aware, though, that if you ever attend a game in the Midwest, you will spend a good deal of your time answering inquiries from very polite persons who will say, “I hate to bother you, but what is the deal with the Tree? Is that the Tree where the Cardinal has his nest? And what’s up with that Band?”)

Our luck on such journeys has not always held, however. When Stanford was one win away from the final game of the 1999 College World Series championship, my wife, Marivern (Slaveck), ’86, agreed to put our three children into the car for a 750-mile round trip to Omaha. Halfway there, just before a quick rest stop, we caught a scratchy radio broadcast from an Omaha station declaring that Stanford was three outs from winning the semifinal game. After loading back into the car for the rest of the trip, we could no longer tune in the radio station. About 100 miles later, just as we entered Nebraska, we finally found a station, which reported, “After one of the most amazing College World Series games ever, Florida State beat Stanford in extra innings.”

We turned around and went home.

If you were smart enough to stay on the West Coast after your days on the Farm, you have spared yourself these troubles. The next time you are watching our beloved Cardinal, though, keep in mind that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of us in points across the globe are huddled around computer speakers, peering through the smoke in sports bars or speeding through the dark of night, fiddling with a radio dial. Make some extra noise for us!

Steve Easton, JD ’83, is an associate professor in the School of Law at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

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