When I was a teenager in the early 70’s, long-play records were state-of-the-art and the radio played an important role in the lives of every North American teenager.
A fixture in our living room back then was a large console stereo with a built-in radio and a turntable that could play LP, 45 and 78 records. It also had a built-in radio. We thought it had great sound, and for the time, it probably did.
One of my most vivid memories of that stereo was listening to live sporting events. In those days, such events would be broadcast live on the radio and I vividly remember coverage of the Muhammad Ali fights.
My mother was a huge Ali fan, and we never missed the chance to listen to his fights. I remember sitting in the living room with my family, looking out the picture window at our darkened street while somewhere across the world, Ali battled his arch-rival, Joe Frazier. Our imaginations and the fevered voice of the announcer transported us to that crowded stadium…and having the fight play out in our minds’-eye only increased the tension and excitement.
Things have certainly changed, and fights of that magnitude would now be cable pay-for-view at $75 a pop, and they’d be lost among the other 200 high-definition channels bounced around the world by satellite.
However, the other night I was transported back to those days of Ali and the radio…but in a distinctly lower-scale high-tech way. I’m a fan of our university women’s basketball team – my wife played for them when she was a Laurentian U. student – and we watch as many home games as possible. With most games drawing 1000-2000 fans, Ontario university games aren’t at the level of the NCAA. but the competitions are exciting and the fans lively and loyal.
Last Wednesday, the team was playing a Wednesday night playoff game in Toronto – about five hours away. We couldn’t attend in person, but we learned that we could listen to live coverage provided by our opponent’s student radio station.
So listen we did, to play-by-play accessible via the internet simply by clicking a computer link to their website. It was transmitted by cables to my home’s computer router, where the signal was directed through the air, walls and a floor to a laptop sitting on a living room table.
It really was quite amazing.
We lost by two points in a back-and-forth game. But the experience was reminiscent of the old Ali fights – with the game playing out in my mind and the tension almost as great as if we were sitting at courtside.
And it was all provided courtesy of the internet and new technology. Ten years ago, we never would have experienced this game- the technology wasn’t developed yet. It’s a far cry from LP’s and 8-track tapes, and I can hardly wait to see what the next 10 years will bring.
Dick Moss, Editor,
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[tags]sports,Muhammad Ali,Joe Frazier,boxing,radio,fans