The thrill of gambling usually culminates with a monetary result. But there is so much more to the act that occurs before its finality. The fiscal aspect is just a way of keeping score - the real pleasure is watching the action unfold.
I envy those mechanical sociopaths who can simply research their action, pull the trigger on a handful of wagers and then go to bed. They wake up the next morning with breakfast and a newspaper only to patiently leaf through it until they reach the sports section and check their scores like lottery numbers.
I cant do that.
When I make my plays I want to watch my predictions reward me. I can’t sleep until every game is over and my fate is decided. Unfortunately, my basic cable bundle rarely offers me the games I have spent the day researching. I salivate when I realize the Elon college basketball team has to take three buses and a ferry to play the Charlestown Cougars, but what are the chances I’m going to be able to watch the game on TV?
It’s angles and edges like these which lead me to the best friend this gambler can find: the gametracker.
Basketball on the gametracker is a decent fix for a sick gambler in the dark. A basketball game that’s high paced and scoring is frequent; when you’re down 10 points, you’re still alive.
I stare at the screen and hope for the best. If my team misses the shot, the next best thing is to watch gametracker tell me about the offensive rebound. I hang on every word it electronically spits out.
They have even gone as far as to add a pilon representing the player that shoots the ball and I can actually see the ball go in the hoop or clank off the rim. It’s like Atari for sick, depraved degenerates.
In football, I get to see the field and when the quarterback throws a big pass I get a bright yellow line highlighting its forward progress. It’s these momentary bursts of positive yardage that light me up like a firework in between extended periods of absolute nothingness that keep me going. At times I find myself refreshing the gametracker even though it says it automatically refreshes just to see if it’s experiencing some type of glitch.
It’s only when you take the time to acknowledge all the commercials, whistles, instant replays and all around stoppages of play throughout an afternoon of football that you can appreciate the torture and insanity of relying solely on the gametracker.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m sure a normal, well adjusted human being with all the trappings of a sane existence can use the gametracker in moderation, but I can’t.
If I had a dog to walk or an errand to run, the gametracker would be a great tool to help me check up on my action occasionally. But I don’t have any of those things. I get horizontal and place the laptop on my chest until it melts the skin while only getting up to use the bathroom and pay the pizza delivery boy when the doorbell rings.
But it only gets worse from here. Because basketball and football is like watching doubles ping pong compared to baseball and hockey on the gametracker.
Hockey is the worst. NHL.com knows it too. They are so starved for things to update, they have incorporated body checks into the mix. I can’t bet on body checks. There’s nothing like settling down with a $300 dollar wager on the New Jersey Devils only to lose 1-0. Your only company for those hours were the occasional update of a shot on net and hooking penalty.
Baseball is a bore to watch live. Think about how much fun it is on the gametracker when you got $500 on the Yankees. At least mlb.com is aware of this. They’ve added a feature where you can see the pitch come down the pipe with a colorful line.
I thought I hit the bottom of the barrel with hockey, but I recently found out that MLS soccer on the gametracker is the Guantanamo Bay of sporting information. I found myself getting excited for yellow and red cards.
No goals. A few shots. Four hours later, my bet is pushed. Good times
This week, the sickness continues: IIHF world hockey.
This gametracker offers me a new and exciting type of waterboarding. They don’t even have graphics - strictly text. I bet Finland over Latvia the other day - a normal person could just wake up whenever and check the score periodically. Not me.
I set my alarm for this abuse. Got up early and made sure I watched every minute.
But the Gametracker is all I have sometimes. So I’ll dance with the devil i know. And even at its worst, it beats the ticker at the bottom of the screen on ESPN.