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Column: With newspaper, read stories when you want

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Some people complain that professional basketball players don’t go all in until the playoffs. Perhaps.

Rather than fight for the top seed in the Eastern Conference, the reigning champion Miami Heat rested their players in the regular season’s final game and settled for the second-best record, behind the Indiana Pacers.

The NBA season might start around Halloween, but as a fan my adrenaline doesn’t kick in until around Easter, when the second season begins for playoff-bound teams.

Long season? When you flip the pages on nine calendar months, it’s just too much for most of us to follow day in and day out.

Truth be told, I didn’t watch a single Pacers game until the opening series with Atlanta. But even with the blowouts that have occurred in the Atlanta and Washington games, I have kept an eye glued to the tube.

Thanks to technology, that is.

Everyday life, from work to at-home demands, doesn’t make it easy to fit the Indiana Pacers into your schedule. Not for me, anyway.

Fortunately, we have a DVR.

Record the games, start them when you can. Get interrupted, hit the pause button. Ready again, hit play.

Pretty simple.

Almost as easy as antenna TV used to be, before technology began changing our media-consumption habits.

DVRs have changed the way we look at sporting events and other television programming. When the game starts at 7 p.m., and you don’t get home until 7:30, there’s no need to fret. You don’t have to miss a play. As long as you record the game, it will be there waiting for you from beginning to end.

End of recording time, that is.

There’s an unpredictable nature to sports. Starting times are pretty solid. Ending times, not so much. One recent Pacers playoff game took 20 minutes to play the final two minutes.

When hitting the record button for sports programming you plan to watch later, choose the option to extend recording time by 30 minutes, 60 minutes ... whatever you’re comfortable with.

We have missed a couple of Pacers-game endings because the recording ended before the game actually did.

Assuming you catch the entire game, another benefit of recording it is you can fast-forward through the commercials. That means the overall time needed to take in an entire game is reduced.

As I think about the concept, the benefits of having a DVR are not that different than the way most of us read the daily newspaper.

You don’t have to start reading when the paper is delivered at 3, 4 or 5 a.m. When you’re ready, it’ll be there for you.

Need to get up and grab a cup of coffee, no problem. Take your time. Just hit the pause button (put the newspaper down) until you’re back in your comfortable seat, then hit play (pick the paper back up) again.

Doesn’t sound so high-fallutin’, does it?

Not enough time to read all of the sports recaps (Pacers or any other team) before leaving for work or school? Tuck the paper under your arm and read it when life allows you to, during a break or over lunch. Still not done, you can read the rest after you get home in the evening.

And if there is developing news that you have an interest in following, go online to and check it out. It’s not that different than television’s on-demand services, except that newspapers have been doing this longer.

Life is just too busy to work my interests into someone else’s schedule.

So while I enjoy following the Pacers in the playoffs — most days, anyway — I need the flexibility to do it how I want to and when I want to, just like the way I read the newspaper. And that, sports fans, gives me home-court advantage.

Tom Jekel is editor of The Republic. His column appears each Sunday. You may reach him by phone at 379-5665 or by email at

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