A sad winter tale in the summer


Since I was a kid, I’ve dreamed of a college football playoff. While yesteryears’ BCS bashing and post-New Year’s Day debating about who should be named the national champion was fun, I yearned for the clarity and closure a playoff would bring. In 2014, the NCAA finally implemented a college football playoff, a four-team, single-elimination playoff format that’s not without fault, mind you, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. It’s surely better than what’s been used in the past.

So, there I was, on Jan. 12, 2015, ready to witness what I’ve been pining for for as long as I can remember. We had a pretty mild winter in Utah this past winter, but as luck would have it, one of the few snowstorms of the season rolled through the area on the same night of the inaugural playoff-determined college football national championship game.

If you’re a satellite TV subscriber, you probably know where this story is headed.

One of satellite TV’s biggest drawbacks is its sensitivity to inclement weather. Thunderstorms in the summer, and—you guessed it—snowstorms in the winter, wreak havoc on satellite transmissions. Such was the case on Jan. 12 in my neck of the woods.

With the pre-game hype and the national anthem out of the way, the game had been underway for a few minutes when Mother Nature felt I—and all of my Man Card-holding, red-blooded male compadres in the region—had seen enough. Without warning, my TV screen went from full-color football glory to the dullest of blacks in the blink of an eye, but I kept my composure.

Back in the day—and before satellite TV was even around—such a predicament would have pushed me to the radio for relief. In the 21st century, however, my smartphone kept me updated on the goings on between Ohio State and Oregon in Arlington, Texas. Good thing, because I don’t think we even own a radio in my home.

But it wasn’t the same as watching the game.

I figured Mother Nature would call off the madness by the start of the second quarter. For sure by halftime. Maybe in time for the fourth quarter? Please? By the time the snowstorm finally moved out of the area and satellite reception resumed, the game was over. I did, however, get to see the trophy presentation.

This was not the first time I’ve been burned in this fashion by satellite TV’s shortcomings; it’s done it a time or two during “The Walking Dead,” “Pardon the Interruption” and “Highly Questionable.” The gall!

I’m nearing the end of my current DISH Network contract and have started searching for the better-priced service that will meet my family’s TV-viewing “needs.” (Yep, I’m one of those customers that hop between DISH and DirecTV every two years in order to take advantage of the lower-priced introductory rates.)

In light of Mother Nature’s cruel joke on Jan. 12, I’m considering a jump to cable TV, but the only option in my area is Comcast. I’ve heard nightmarish stories about Comcast’s customer service, so I’m hesitant. I’m left wondering, though: is cable TV immune to weather-related problems?

Something tells me I’m about to become a DirecTV customer again, but I can’t help hoping someone will have some valuable advice on how to avoid the possibility of a repeat of last season’s playoff championship fiasco in time for the next championship game on Jan. 11, 2016.

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