MOUNT DESERT — Tim Garrity has found two ways to enjoy watching sports this spring, when professional, college and school leagues are all mostly on hiatus.
The first is re-watching memorable contests of the past with a new generation who hasn’t seen them yet. The second is to start watching a whole new sport, so the games are new to you.
For Garrity, one big game that looms large is the 2013 “Snow Bowl,” a final round World Cup qualifying match between the U.S. men’s national soccer team and Costa Rica.
The Costa Rican team, obviously, was accustomed to playing in warm weather, he said. “So, when they decided to play the game in Colorado, the Americans were rewarded with a snowstorm. Throughout the game the grounds crew took every opportunity to shovel and plow the lines.”
That game has become “sort of a cultural touchstone” for fans of the U.S. men’s team, Garrity said.
He re-watched it recently with his 11-year old grandson Ben and 10-year-old granddaughter Jillian, who are in Pennsylvania. Ben is a big soccer player, and “he thought it was really wild,” Garrity said.
The athletics department at the University of Maine had the same idea about providing a way for fans to re-watch big games and introduce a new generation to great moments.
“We were hearing people were missing being able to go out to the UMaine games,” Tyson McHatten, an associate director of athletics, told the Islander. “We wanted to find ways we could bring that right to their living rooms.”
So, on April 18, the department hosted a “Re-Watch Party” of the 1993 Men’s Ice Hockey National Championship game in which the Black Bears defeated Lake Superior State University.
The game was broadcast on a couple of TV networks and also on Facebook Live, so alumni and fans outside Maine could watch, too. McHatten said Jim Montgomery, who was the captain of the 1993 team and scored a natural hat-trick in the 5-4 championship victory, was one of the people watching the rebroadcast.
The department is looking into broadcasting more throwback games, he said, including the time the UMaine women’s basketball team beat Stanford in 1999, historic football games and baseball games from the years the Black Bears went to the college World Series.
“We hope we can get more of these games out there in the coming months,” he said.
The Keblinsky family are big baseball fans; they’ve been watching the Major League Baseball network’s rebroadcasts of best all-time games.
Sam Keblinsky, a senior at Mount Desert Island High School, said his favorite re-run game is the 2014 National League Wild Card game, in which the Giants’ Brandon Crawford hit a grand slam off of the Pirates’ Francisco Liriano.
His brother Peter, a freshman at Ellsworth High School, preferred Game 7 of the 2001 World Series, Diamondbacks vs. Yankees, when the Yankees were very much still in their Dynasty Era. In that game, Luis Gonzales hits a clutch walk-off single for the Diamondbacks against all-time great closer Mariano Rivera to beat the Yankees.
The family has also been playing the “MLB: The Show” video game.
Marc Gousse, superintendent of the Mount Desert Island Regional School System, is a self-described “huge baseball fan.” He’s also that relative rarity – a Yankees fan in Maine.
In addition to watching old World Series games, he’s been revisiting his favorite baseball movies: “Fever Pitch” with Jimmie Fallon and Drew Barrymore; “61,” which is about Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle chasing for Babe Ruth’s single-season home-run record; “Pride of the Yankees;” and “The Babe.”
But watching old games falls short, for the adults who have seen them before, because they’re missing the element of surprise, Garrity said, “the tension that goes with defending a lead or trying to score.”
So he’s also tried watching some sports he doesn’t know anything about, including Irish hurling.
“It’s sort of a Calvin and Hobbes game,” he said, because it’s very physical.
“It’s a very exciting sport played with 15 to a side and every player is carrying a hurley. The action is very fast.
“I don’t follow the sport regularly so the outcome isn’t spoiled when I watch, for instance, the 2012 semi-final between Galway and Kilkenny,” he said. “The atmosphere in the stands is akin to our March Madness. Each county competes in a tournament with the finals played in Croke Park in Dublin.”
It’s a way to “live in the past” while still enjoying the suspense of not knowing how the game is going to turn out.