PERISCOPE: Failed media blackout bums out soccer fanatic

by BOB GAETJENS | THE GATEWAY NEWS EDITOR Published:

Hello. My name is Bob Gaetjens, and I'm an unabashed soccer and World Cup fan.

For the past couple weeks or so, I've been living in soccer nirvana, watching the best in the world battle it out in Brazil.

As is the case for many, I suspect, life has been getting in the way of my World Cup viewing, and I've had to record the games each day and watch them later.

Although I really don't care who wins most games, I did care about a couple on June 26, the day the U.S. faced Germany and its surgical approach to the game and Ghana played Portugal.

I engaged in an interesting little experiment -- a self-inflicted media blackout which would, in theory, have prevented me from knowing the Germany vs. USA and Portugal vs. Ghana results that day before seeing the games at home.

I took what I thought would be reasonable measures, sending out a message to my co-workers to skip me in any instant messages about the game, which I'm assuming they respected since I didn't get any messages, and forcing myself to ignore my cell phone.

I realized in the hour before the game began that an app on my phone that gave me World Cup score updates and news would have to go, as well. Uninstalled. Sayonara.

Record-Courier Sports Editor Tom Nader thoughtfully tuned the volume down on the game on the newsroom TV so I wouldn't overhear the excitement of the crowd, and I spent a lot of time inspecting the pile of our office carpet on my occasional excursions away from my desk.

All those measures worked pretty well.

But, alas, we've reached a stage in our society when a total media blackout (at least for this newspaper guy) is apparently not feasible.

A co-worker mentioned "the goal" in a casual conversation, which I told him didn't give me confidence since the U.S. team was the underdog in that game.

While looking around for some work-related information online (I swear!), I saw a flash of a box score and quickly averted my eyes and clicked away, such evasive maneuvers that would impress the likes of Portugal's star Christiano Ronaldo with their dexterity.

But the fates were against me.

My wife sent me a text, "US Germany tied!!! Come on boyos!!!" I thought she knew me. I thought she loved me.

After those breaches of my self-imposed media blackout, I just got sloppy.

While driving I forgot to tune the radio away from news and heard the game result.

And after that -- the seal was broken at that point, right? -- I learned in same broadcast that the loss was OK, apparently. Portugal beat Ghana, which for a variety of mathematical reasons best left to NASA to unravel, meant the U.S. survived the group stage.

By the time this is published, I'll have attempted another media blackout during the US team's game against Belgium July 1.

Hopefully, that one will have gone better for me.

Email: bgaetjens@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4188

Twitter: @thegatewaynews

FB: The Gateway News/Bob Gaetjens

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