Sunday, March 23, 2014

It's Only Entertainment

*Royal Wave*

Thank you for visiting my blog Overseas With A Carry On! I am happy to deliver another detailed look into the life of an athlete living in kilometers - or miles 'por mi americanos' - away from home.  Before we dive into things I would like to congratulate every team, player, and university that has continued on to play in the post season.  Not only March Madness but on every level, not limited to the NIT, CBI, NCAA Division II, III, and all the others.  A special shout-out to the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs who advanced past UGA in the 2nd round of the NIT tournament and big pat on the back to the Oregon Ducks who unfortunately fell to Wisconsin last night. 'Twas a great run!

In 2014, our generation is fascinated with technology, speed and selfies. We've become so impatient as a society that we even have a notification through iMessage (solely for iPhone users of course) that tells you that your recipient in is the middle of typing a response. Postal mail? Fax machines? Yeah right! You're better off scanning and E-mailing that document.  We've become fiends for instantaneous communication on all levels.  Let's take a look at what a typical player had to go through playing overseas before the WIFI era.

The pioneers who came to chase their dreams across the waters didn't have the luxuries of video chats and mobile devices like we do today.  They most likely had to deal with home telephones, calling cards and airmail. When's the last time you used a home phone? Better yet, how often do you see your home phone ring and you neglect to pick it up because, "That's not for me. If it was urgent, they would just call my cell phone."  I can remember my mother using calling cards to make long distance calls over the speakerphone when I was younger.  She would have to dial the access number, followed by the PIN code then an automated voice would tell her how much credit remained on the card.  Then she'd have to enter the phone number of the person she was calling and again the automated voice would tell her approximately how many minutes she had to make the call. All that for ONE phone call! Like Jay-Z said, "Aint nobody got time for that."

Writing letters has become a thing of the past. Ancient. Prehistoric even!  For my generation Y folks, the only time we wrote letters was back in grade school! Those paper notes passed through class were the first footsteps of todays' Facebook inbox messages or Twitter DMs. The majority of the ones I passed out were to girls in my class that read: Do you like me? Check: Yes. No. Maybe.  Needless to say, I had a 86.9% clearance rate of boxes checked "Yes".

On the side of entertainment, in the foreign countries I have visited, there were always a few channels in english. Usually something along the lines of international news coverage or the Disney Channel or something to that extent. Technology today allows some of the more mainstream channels to add sub titles to certain programs or even switch the voice-overs to english.  This is not available with every channel but progress is being made.  But to be honest with you, I never turn on my television, whether at home or in a hotel.  Thanks to wifi capabilities, all you need is your handy dandy laptop, tablet or even just your smartphone.  We can download the latest episode of Scandal or play levels upon levels of Candy Crush during road trips; our forefathers were stuck reading paperback books, listening to Walkmans or better yet, Discmans on their treks.

Last but not least, the pioneers didn't have live streaming March Madness games to watch. We're lucky to be able to view these games as if we were back home. I just watched fellow AAU teammate of mine, Dwight Powell at Stanford advance to the Sweet 16 and I'm currently watching another AAU teammate Kadeem Coleby at Wichita St. attempt to knock off Kentucky.  There have been a lot of upsets but that's no surprise if you're an avid college hoops fan. For all of those who filled out a bracket, better luck next year!  I'm terrible at brackets so I avoid the disappointment and just enjoy each game and usually cheer for teams based on their jersey/shoe colour combinations. . . Seriously.

Who will come out atop the 2014 NCAA Division I champion? Who knows, it'll be a team who's resilient, mentally tough and gets a little lucky in the end. Whenever it happens, with the right smartphone app, you'll get a bunch of notifications giving you every detailed stat of the game. Welcome to the fast life. Is it the life we chose, or rather the life that chose us?


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