Last week, I was playing poker at the Horseshoe Hammond, near Chicago. On the walls of virtually every poker room I’ve played in, there are TVs that are always tuned to ESPN and the other sports channels. Every evening, there are multiple games being shown. Even in the middle of the morning, you get reruns of previous games or SportsCenter. If you play long enough late at night, you have to endure the same highlights over and over and over and over.
I was there on Wednesday, the first night of the World Series, but to my surprise, none of the TVs were tuned to Fox. I asked one of the floor supervisors if he could change the channel on the TV nearest the poker table where I was playing, and he responded that someone wanted to watch the Bulls game — which was now on every TV in the place.
Granted, I live in St. Louis so, even though I’m not a baseball fan, I had more interest in the Cardinals-Red Sox matchup than people in the Chicago area — for whom baseball in October long been nothing more than a pipe dream — but choosing an inconsequential NBA pre-season game over the World Series didn’t make sense. I could understand if the Bulls were in the NBA finals and I wanted to watch a Padres-Diamondbacks baseball game. But this was the World Freakin’ Series, one of our nation’s top sporting events.
I felt I had to rally some support, so I turned into Jack Nicholson in “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest,” trying to find someone else who would vote with me…
Finally, one of the other players at my table (was his name Chief?) said he had some money on the Series, so he’d like to watch it. This guy was a local, so the supervisor acquiesced and put the game on. And then the Cardinals committed error after error and blew it bigtime. I didn’t mind too much, though, because my real interest was in the poker game, in which my chip stack was growing considerably.
We all have our priorities.