Schultz: The challenge of following 183 football teams

Chris Schultz

9/24/2012 9:29:07 PM

September, October and November are my mesh months.

My mesh months are those three months that CFL, NFL, CIS and NCAA football all mesh together. It is a busy time trying stay educated and aware on who is playing who, where, when, and how did everyone do in detail.

Just like a football team, if I stay disciplined and trust the process in the end I am comfortable following eight CFL teams, 32 NFL teams, 26 CIS teams and (this is the tough one) 117 Division-1 college teams. But as long as I stay disciplined and trust the process, I do manage.

Saturday and Sunday afternoons and evenings are unique in that trying to follow seven television sets is a skill within itself. At CTV/TSN we work in an area called "Studio 6", a place that everyone knows and references as the Main 6. It is an impressive place. About as big as half a football field in area, it has the best of the best in technology, audio and lighting to make our show work. And lots of TVs, all new TVs, all big TVs and one TV that is as tall and wide as a house. When you have that many TVs it's tough to miss anything that goes on.

On a Saturday we have the CFL game on three priority TVs, and six other TVs for college football - CIS and NCAA are stacked in the middle on what we call our TV trees. Three or maybe four pretty big flat screen TVs stacked upon each other side-by-side, eight feet high.

One Sundays the CFL games are priority number one and are situated closest to us with six NFL games, one upon the other, constructed in vertical delight a yard or two back constructed within the tree concept.

Years ago I would concentrate on just one game, the CFL game and delete all other distractions. But as time went on you lose your discipline and your mind wanders. Soon I found out I could actually watch two games and truly understand what was going on. My sensory acuity and anticipation was razor sharp in anticipation of breaks and therefore allowed my focus and attention to quickly switch from game A to B. I actually began to respect commercials and look at them more as opportunities than delays.

My mastery of two games was very gratifying but as my competence increased, my curiosity was activated. Could I possibly master three? To actually involve myself with three games and understand with intelligence the events unfolding in front of me. I felt like I was charting new grounds of accomplishment and my first attempt was frustrated and yes, I admit it. Intimidated. But I knew the skill was out there as I had heard of the "Mastery of the Three" from those before me. And much to my satisfaction and joy it is possible to conquer the "Three" if you stay persistent and above all, concentrate.

The elusive three games at once is now a skill I can't say I have mastered but am no longer frustrated by. I don't know if my newly-developed skill can be transferred to any other aspect in life, but in Studio 6 it works for me. The key is to have the three games you want all within eyeball-easy distance. If you have to move your head back and forth the "neck fatigue" is intense and you never complete even a half of visual "Three game football".

Every occupation teaches you skills. TV and radio have helped me in language, communication and even public speaking which I no longer fear. But I am not sure how being able to watch three football games at the same time is going to benefit me later in life. I mean it is all fast eyeball movement back and forth, which without all the TVs present would look pretty psychotic face to face.

It may be one of those skills that has no secondary use. Oh well, use it while you got it I guess.