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Planes, Trains, and Automobiles- On The Road Watching Purdue

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One man’s story of travelling while watching his team.

NCAA Basketball: Minnesota at Purdue Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

This past Sunday my wife and I were scheduled to come back from a two week Christmas trip that included stops in Indy, Lafayette, West Lafayette, DeMotte, Chicago, and around Tampa, Florida. We went to a Purdue game in Mackey, we saw Hamilton in Chicago, went to the beach in Florida, attended a friend’s wedding, and generally enjoyed all the trappings of the holidays. The plan was for my dad to take us to the airport on Sunday, but then the Purdue game time was announced for 4:30 so there’s no way my dad, a season-ticket holder, would be able to drop me off and go to the game. As a big fan myself I didn’t begrudge him one bit. As I looked into transporting myself, my wife, our bags, and our 14 pound dog I reached out to the fellows at Hammer and Rails and our very own Casey was good enough to offer a ride. After a nice bit of company on the drive my next task was to figure out how I could watch the game.

First stop after security was the “Sports” bar near our gate at the airport. They were playing only football but since the Colts game was over I thought I’d be able to get them to change one of the TVs to BTN. Unfortunately, the bar doesn’t get BTN. There is another “Sports” bar further away from my gate so my wife jotted off to find out if they had it while I spoke with the folks at this first bar. Neither of us had any luck so it came down to connecting to the free Wifi and watching the game on BTN2Go. This means a couple things, first it means I’ll be behind everyone watching live and so using Twitter is a real bear during the game. Second, it means that I’m going to have to deal with random bits of sped up action and the occasional freeze. Well worth it though if I could watch my Boilers.

After fighting with the Indianapolis airport free Wifi I was able to get BTN2Go connected, logged in, and expected to see Purdue already up. Unfortunately what I saw was Purdue down something like 17-4. Purdue did rip off a 7-0 once I started watching though at which point I was told not to get on that plane (that was scheduled to leave at 6:15). Our flight was subsequently delayed until 6:55 due to inclement weather in Atlanta.

Purdue fought their way back to a respectable score at halftime and I sprinted into action to the other terminal in order to get some food from 96th Street Steakburgers. Turns out they were closed, and maybe closed permanently, so instead I had to settle for other mediocre airport food. Once arriving back at my seat it was my wife’s turn to get food which meant I was watching the game, eating food, watching our bags, and doing my best to prevent our dog from chasing after my wife and/or eating my food. As Purdue clawed back into the game and even took the lead on a number of occasions my enthusiasm became rather audible. I threw fists in the air during made threes, audibly sighed and questioned bad calls, and might have even pulled a surrender cobra. All the while I could see a few people give me odd stares out of the corner of their eyes.

With my wife back from getting food and Purdue keeping it close I was on the edge of my seat watching this game. After my wife finished eating she decided to go back out of the airport to take our dog out to the bathroom. At this point our flight was delayed indefinitely and we were awaiting another announcement. As she was off to the outdoors I was glued to the iPad watching Purdue turn the ball over, take poor shots, and watching Minnesota hit ridiculous shot after ridiculous shot. As they announced boarding of our flight (despite no announcement prior about actual takeoff time) I called my wife who had to run through the airport Home Alone style to make it on time. As this was going on Biggie hit his shot to tie the game and Minnesota missed their chance to win in regulation. With that, my viewing experience was over. The Wifi was gone, the tablet headed to airplane mode, and I was boarding a plane. Not until my wife boarded behind me and got a text from her mom did I know that Purdue had faltered in overtime.

It was a whirlwind day that didn’t work out how I wanted in regards to watching the game or my trip, but it’s good to remember that watching the Purdue game on a tablet would have not even been possible just five years ago. As a fan it can be frustrating to not see your team when you’re on the road but technology continues to close the gaps. Oh, and I did board the plane so it was my fault Purdue lost. Sorry.