Talking Sports in a War Zone

The SportmeistersAnalyst IJuly 30, 2009

By Ryan of The Sportmeisters

Since creating The Sportmeisters with Derek, and expanding to include Justin and our Webmaster Josh, I have made a concerned effort to keep my personal life away from my Sportmeister life. Though my wife can tell you different (until I passed on most of my work to Josh), the whole plan was to never discuss what I do outside of my sports work.

Well, eventually, the day arrived when both came together.

I’m in the Air Force, and have recently been sent to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. This would explain why we’ve stopped our podcasts for the foreseeable future, but I couldn’t just stop dealing with sports. It’s been my whole life!

I decided I was going to make an effort, and continue to follow my sports—especially in the fall, when the baseball playoffs, as well as College Football and the NFL, get started. That truly is the greatest time of the year.

The only problem is I’m currently eight-and-a-half hours ahead of myself on the East Coast. Makes watching a 1pm New York Giants kickoff slightly difficult. However, one of the greatest things the military does is take care of the morale.

Whether it’s the Armed Forces Network (AFN), which shows live and tape-delayed broadcasts of all games (which can get confusing), or the daily Stars and Stripes newspaper, which, in an amazing feat, manages to have the previous days sports stories and news scores, I can get my sports fix.

AFN shows events from baseball games, to Sportscenter, to the WNBA, to the X Games. No sport goes unturned.

I’ve already dealt with some interesting times trying to watch the games. It’s real easy to get confused watching a game while eating lunch, looking at my watch and realizing it’s the middle of the night back home, and I’m seeing a tape delay.

It's even more confusing to sit in an airport watching the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles play while it’s light outside on the East Coast, but dark in Turkey.

Following sports has been a passion of mine for so many years, and to give it up when I’m a few hours ahead is just something I am not prepared to do. I plan on watching my favorite teams, whether it’s in the pool hall, or if I happen to have a television connection in my room (whenever I get one).

Sports has been a way for me to let my mind go, and focus on something other than the world around me. Getting lost in a football game and noticing the nuances in plays being run, or making a phone call to Derek to talk any number of fantasy sports, helps my days go by a lot faster, especially the most difficult ones.

Throughout the next few months, I plan on trying to open people’s eyes about watching sports while in a war zone.

Besides my normal blogs about events going on, whether it's my building the perfect player, my NCAA top 25, or any other top event that needs to be discussed, I’m going to let you, the reader, know what its like to be up at three in the morning to watch a game, all without beer, and surrounded by tons of people in the same situation.

We take for granted the ability to sit down at home, in a bar, at a friend’s house, or even at the stadium. Not wearing my teams colors on game day will be a difficult challenge, one I’ve dealt with only a few other times.

However, I am a sports fan, and I am a Sportmeister, and no matter where I am, what's going on around me, or what time is it, I will never let go of the teams I love and the sports I watch.