I love sports.
I love playing, talking about, reading about, and watching sports.
I love the competition, art, science, thrill of victory, and agony of defeat that come with the wonderful wide world of sports.
So it was with extraordinary joy that I hustled home the other night to watch the Golden State Warriors with my suddenly rabid-about-the-NBA six-year old son.
We settled in on the couch and high-fived as Stephen Curry, the transcendent star of basketball’s best team since Jordan’s Bulls, made miraculous play after miraculous play.
It was awesome.
Until the commercial break.
That’s when my son got up, grabbed the iPad, and went to YouTube to watch vintage NBA highlights.
As the commercial break ended:
“Hey, pal. Steph Curry is back on.”
[Looking at iPad.] “I know, Daddy.”
“Let’s watch, buddy.”
[Looking at iPad.] “I can watch the highlights tomorrow, Daddy.”
“But, little man, we can watch highlights during the commercials and watch the game together.”
[Looking at iPad.] “I know, Daddy. But I can watch the old highlights now and see the new highlights tomorrow.”
Most 6-year old boys have the attention span of a gnat on speed. This one happens to be able to focus pretty well. And he was locked in.
While Steph Curry, the magical, mystical once-in-a-generation star who has become the favorite player for nearly every basketball fan under 13 worked his wizardry, my son watched Magic Johnson and Larry Bird highlights from my childhood.
On the TV in his hand.
Should I have taken the iPad away and forced him to watch the game with me? Maybe. But I chose to turn off the television and watch the clips with him on the tablet, sharing a different kind of moment than my father shared with me.
Live events are a cornerstone of video programming (no matter the screen) and will be for some time to come. That said, it’s a different world for smartphone natives. Families are adapting faster than business models. The businesses can’t catch up fast enough.