MORGANTOWN — To this day, I’m still not 100 percent clear on how I missed the exit for Interstate 79 South in Washington, Pa., coming back from a Pitt-WVU men’s basketball game, at the Petersen Events Center.
But the next thing I knew, I was in toll-road heaven in the middle of nowhere, Pa.
Of course, I barely had enough change to pay the first toll, now going south on Route 43 toward Uniontown, so I took the next exit looking for an ATM.
Found one in this private club — I think it was called Charlie’s, or something to that effect — and was greeted with a puff of smoke when I opened the door.
Got my $20 bill, sucked down someone else’s tequila shot and winked at the pretty blonde in the corner — OK, the last two things never happened, but everything else is true.
Hit the road again, got to the next toll and whipped out my $20 … only to find out the bill changer at the toll station took only ones and fives.
Hit a call button — it’s now closing in on 2 a.m. — and someone who probably just got awakened answers.
“You need something?” he said.
No, I just wanted to see what you were up to, kind stranger. Want to go to Charlie’s with me some time?
He comes out of nowhere to give me change for my $20 and I finally get home around
2:30 a.m., smelling like beer and a Marlboro Light, from a game that ended four hours earlier.
It is part of my job description to get home late from games. I understand that.
Maybe I’m not the best frame of reference for this argument, but I do not understand why we, as a nation of sports fans, are trying to speed up our games.
We’ve now got pitch clocks and between-innings clocks in baseball.
Limits are being set for how many times a catcher can visit the mound in an inning.
We cry and moan every time a basketball player is fouled in the final minute of an eight-point game.
We curse 90 percent of the time the TV announcer says, “And they’re going to go to the replay monitor.”
That covers both football and basketball.
Throw in all the TV timeouts, and, yeah, I get it, games are much longer today.
I’ve never heard of anyone going to Disneyland and telling the kids, “OK, it’s a lot of fun to be here, but we’ve got to leave in
2 1/2 hours to head home.”
Why are we so obsessed that a sporting event has to end in less than three hours?
If a commitment is made to go to Pittsburgh, Baltimore or Cincinnati to catch a professional game — both during a weekday or weekend — does all the planning beforehand really only allow for a game to last
2 1/2 hours?
I get it. Especially during the week, getting home late stinks when you have to get up early the next day to get the kids off to school and go to work.
If you’re watching the game at home, sure, there are other things to do during the day, and it would surely help if every catch that is slightly bobbled would stop being reviewed.
In its truest form, sports are still our escape into a world where there is supposed to be no more political scandal, sickness or money problems.
I’ve just never understood why we are so obsessed with that world ending in 2 1/2 hours.