Note: This post is part of the "Enhanced Content" series that is currently happening all around SB Nation. These posts are focused on how technology has impacted our fan experience. It is sponsored by Samsung, and since I am a loyal Samsung cell phone owner, I figured I would kick things off.
On Fall Saturdays there is really not much else I would rather do than sit down on the couch with some craft beer, onion dip, and a bag of potato chips while watching college football. Since graduating from Washington State three years ago, that is exactly how most of my weekends have been spent.
However, while I was in college watching a sufficient amount of football on Saturdays wasn't always easy.
During my freshman year I fell in love with the student experience of college football. I realized there would not be another time in my life when I would be able to get front row seats for almost nothing, no other time that I could put my sign-making skills to the test, and no other time where I could dress and act like a complete jackass and still blend right in with others around me.
The problem was those front row seats and that wild group of fans came at a price that could not be defined by money. It was time. Five hours to be exact. Five hours before every Cougar home game, and closer to 24 hours before Apple Cups, I would be parked on the concrete next to the student gate. Add that to the time of the game and that is nine hours where I was kept away from all but one football matchup. Nine hours of score rumors from passersby and ultra-delayed updates on the Martin Stadium jumbotron (that would be the old one with pixels the size of Samsung flatscreens).
Being the rabid fan that I am, missing pretty much entire seasons of what may be the best spectator sport around was pretty difficult. Not knowing how each Saturday's top ten clashes were playing out, missing spectacular efforts by Heisman contenders, and not being able to follow along play-by-play through our rival's worst stretch in the history of their program was a sacrifice I made. But even while I was in school, there was still another option that was growing in popularity and always made me incredibly envious.
Many of my occasional score updates came from certain individuals in the crowd who were lucky enough to have access to the internet on their phones. Their phones were akin to the small tunnel that was used to drop supplies to the Chilean miners, providing small doses of the outside world in an otherwise isolated situation. While I was grateful for them, the issue was I had little choice as to when that contact came. The scores arrived as an announcement, usually from cell phone guy's buddy, and it was rare that the game they thought most important matched my own.
It was not until the summer before my student teaching internship that I finally broke down and bought an internet-capable phone for myself, a Samsung Sync. I still had my student sports pass that fall and drove over from Yakima for every Cougar game. I even continued to dress up like an idiot (as pictured above) and waited in line for ridiculous amount of times, but with my Sync everything was different.
I was finally able to keep up with scores and even catch some highlights here and there. No longer was I obvlious to the rest of college football. I was finally in control of the random score shout outs. I so fell in love with this convenience that I cannot envision myself ever going without a data plan. The phone also made a pretty big impression, as I am now on my third consecutive Samsung phone with my Captivate.
So thanks to the growing presence of the mobile web and smartphones like the Samsung Captivate, a student in my situation would no longer have to make quite as big a sacrifice to support their school. Almost any college football information they would like to find (including this lovely SB Nation site) is literally at their fingertips. I can even find live radio feeds of games using a variety of apps. So students can get some verbal play-by-play to go along with the visual live scoring
Of course, constantly checking scores and listening to the radio on their phones does cut into a lot of critical sign-making time. Let's hope our nation's commercial segues do not suffer.