DRIVING AND DRINKING IN THE GAME
For numerous members of the male species there are few more undiluted delights than driving along and listening to a ballgame on the car radio. Better by far than tuning in at home there encountering the inevitable distractions likely to diminish the pleasure, mostly in the form of pointed reminders about more productive tasks awaiting your attention. Listening in a car carries few such burdens and entails far less guilt. After all just by driving, you’re being productive. And positioned in the driver’s seat you’re also entitled, by custom and proximity, to your own programming preferences.
What is it that makes taking in a game on a car radio so thoroughly pleasurable? Surely it must have something to do with being able to concentrate and devote your full attention to the play-by-play. At home that is not always possible. There to deflect guilt you’re likely, during the course of a game, to squeeze in an occasional chore or two, like clearing the dishes, straightening up or disposing of the garbage. In the car no such evidence of domestic responsibility need be displayed. Nor are you obligated to pay much attention to or converse with anyone — your principal task is to concentrate on the road. But with driving largely automatic you’re essentially left free to soak up and revel in descriptions of the game and imaginatively enter onto the field of play and into the action.
But let’s not ignore certain problems. Who has not suffered through the intermittent interference in reception that disrupts accounts of the game? Drive through a tunnel and expect the sound virtually to disappear. Approach a stretch of overhead power lines and brace yourself for a barrage of headache-inducing static. These interruptions, if brief, may be tolerable, if prolonged can represent hateful intrusions. And expect, as countless drivers have confirmed, the sound to fracture or fail during crucial moments of a game.
Driving, you must also remember, may take you some distance from your original point of departure. And, as is well understood, radio signals will vary in strength and clarity as you tool along an ever-changing and irregular landscape. Expect therefore the sound to fade in and out and occasionally disappear. It may even, toward the end of a lengthy trip, be replaced entirely by signals from a neighboring station on the radio dial. Sad indeed is the sight of a driver attempting to decipher the occasional and barely intelligible garble of what was once clearly audible play-by-play coverage as the car passes totally out of station range. (Prompting some sport fans especially when driving alone or with other male companions to pull off the road in order to hear a critical portion of the contest before the signal totally disappears.)
Finally, and at times regrettably, the trip ends. But what of the game? If still in progress and the outcome in doubt the problem becomes one of transition, (after, that is, remaining in the car as long as possible before exiting — including sending passengers ahead with the assurance you will soon catch up with them.) The challenge is how to get from the car to your destination and quickly locate a radio or TV there so as to keep abreast of developments, most especially the outcome. But as this discussion is about cars, we need not pursue the matter beyond this point. Be assured, though, such folks will not lose sight of their priorities and will somehow see to it that they miss out on very little of the action.