The winning streak is over. For 43 consecutive games, Notre Dame has always beaten Navy. Navy hasn’t won against us since the 1960s….. until today. The only thing I can be happy about is that – despite being thousands of miles away in a country where you can’t watch the game on any TV station – I was able to watch the game live and support the Fighting Irish.
It’s all thanks to a little bit of technology called the Slingbox.
I’ve talked about Bangladesh and their cell phone network before. Bangladesh has an EDGE network covering almost all of the entire country. And it’s this internet connection which allows me blog, upload photos to my flickr page, and upload episodes to my YouTube channel. But, this connection (when it isn’t be blocked due to government censorship) is also good enough that I can stream video from my Slingbox Pro back home in Canada. Slingbox is this little box that you can hook up to your cable or satellite TV and your home internet connection to stream your TV to anywhere you have a decent internet connection. The quality isn’t that bad as you can see from the screenshot above.
Being able to watch Notre Dame football isn’t just something I like to do as a fan. I was a student there before I came to Bangladesh and started this project. The players on the field aren’t just faces on a TV screen but are flesh and blood people I would see on campus all the time. I even got to know a few of them like David Bruton (#27). I was his TA for Intro the Sociology. I have to admit I became a bit nostalgic and homesick when I saw him.
What pisses me off though is that if I wanted to do the same thing in Canada – I couldn’t. Canada does have an EDGE network but it’s data rates and restrictions make heavy use like using a Slingbox economically prohibitive and practically impossible. In many respects, Bangladesh’s cell phone plans and pricing is more in line with the developed world. Canada, on the other hand, has pricing that is more in line with the third world. It’s actually cheaper to get a data plan in Rwanda (or here in Bangladesh) than it is with Rogers Wireless in Canada.
One more screenshot after the jump. Those fellow Fighting Irish fans who want to avoid further trauma may not to see the final screenshot.
Continue reading ‘Using a Slingbox from Bangladesh to Watch a Moment of History Live’
It hurts. It hurts bad. Five games – no wins.
After the first couple of loses, I casually joked to a friend and current Notre Dame student, that Notre Dame hasn’t won a single football game since I left. Did I take the Luck of the Irish with me? I was joking – okay? You guys can start winning now, please.
Who has it worse? Me or Notre Dame’s Coach Charlie Weis?
In the past few months, I’ve been harassed (and nearly detained) by airport security in the Middle East and the military police here in Bangladesh during the curfew. I’ve had to deal with flooding which brought flood water and human feces from overflowing sewers into the place I was staying. I had temporarily moved to an apartment of a relative of mine which was on higher ground. But, when I got there I found what maybe the biggest infestation of cockroaches I’ve ever seen. They were coming out of every crack and crevice in all shapes and sizes: from the ones that can fly that are over five inches long (if you’ve never seen one of these guys before check here and here) to the little babies the size of a grain of rice. When I didn’t see them I could hear them crawling through the woodwork.
Coach Charlie Weis, on the other hand, now has to deal with his team’s third straight loss this season. Not even a single offensive touchdown to show for it. There is no competition: Coach Weis has it worse. There are many things I’d rather not deal with – but I can always give thanks that I am not in Coach Weis’s shoes right now. Sheesh.
I actually learned about Notre Dame’s recent football loss from a friend in New Zealand. He was even able to watch the game live in New Zealand. I knew coming to Bangladesh would mean it would be hard to keep up-to-date on American college football. Afterall, the biggest sport is cricket and one of the popular news stations here is Al Jazeera. But it was a huge loss right? I wouldn’t have wanted to been there for that, right? Wrong.
Real fans (especially the students) stick with each game (whether in the stadium or behind a TV set) from the start of the national anthem and don’t leave until the playing of the “Notre Dame, Our Mother” (the alma mater). They stay with the game whether its raining, snowing, freezing cold, blistering hot, or so dark that not a star shines in the sky. It doesn’t matter if the team is shutting out an opponent or if, like this weekend, the team is almost shut out themselves. You don’t often see that kind of dedication in the world.
Call me crazy – but I hope one day the world can show a fraction of that kind of dedication towards issues like poverty, global health, and third world development. The game may not have been broadcast on television here, but with 120,000,000 people here earning less than $2 a day – most couldn’t afford a television. In a country of over 150,000,000 people – only 300,000 (that’s 0.2%) have the luxury of having internet access. In fact, even if this blog were translated and printed in the local language, over 85,000,000 wouldn’t be able to read this as they are illiterate.
My sadness at missing my first Notre Dame football game in two years is tempered by this fact. If any Fighting Irish fans are reading this, I hope they remember – even when we are losing, we still have so much to be thankful for both on and off the field.
“We can’t discuss this over the phone” is something I’ve been hearing a lot lately while in Bangladesh. Whether it’s openly talking about the military government, the curfew they have imposed, or the riots that instigated the curfew – people are scared to even talk. I’ve been to Bangladesh many times before – but I’ve never seen people this scared before.
There have been riots, strikes, and curfews in the country before – but there are a few things which make this time different. First, there is no longer a democratically elected government. In the past, one political party topples another (either by force or political pressure) – elections usually follow. But what happens when you topple a military government? No one is really sure.
This time is also different because journalists and foreigners are being targeted. Typically, democratic political parties would want cameras rolling – hoping that the media will sympathize with them and vilify the enemy instead. But, now even the BBC isn’t even safe from being caught by the army. Local journalists haven’t been as lucky – with many being detained and reporting beatings (source).
No one seems to be safe from the government’s eye here. The government’s have accused democratic politicians, foreigners, NGOs, or simply “evil forces” as being responsible for the riots and as justification for continued curfews.
It’s times like this that I’d rather be in South Bend. Aren’t we playing against Georgia Tech this weekend?