Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Tom Jones' Two Cents
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Sports or sleep? Sleep or sports? Floridians may have to choose

So you've heard about this idea that Florida wants to move to daylight saving time all year long, right?

When most of the rest of the country turns its clocks back in the fall, we're going to be too cool for that and just leave the clocks as they are. To heck with how everyone else does it.

We're just waiting for Gov. Rick Scott to sign off and send it to Congress for approval. Then, if approved, Florida would join Hawaii and most of Arizona as the only states arrogant enough to exempt out of standard time.

They're calling it the "Sunshine Protection Act."

I call it "The Dumbest Idea Ever Act."

Okay, admittedly, I'm coming at this from a sports angle, although there are other concerns, too.

But let's start with the sports aspect. This would awful for local sports fans, particularly those who follow the Lightning.

The rest of the country will stick to standard time. So even when the Lightning is playing out of state in the east, games will be starting as late as 8 or 8:30 p.m.

The Lightning could be in Boston or Montreal or New York and instead of starting at, say, 7:30 and having the game over a little after 10, it will start here at 8:30 and be over well after 11. Overtime and shootout games could get pushed well past 11:30.

How many adults with typical daytime jobs are going to be willing to stay up to watch? And think about kids who have to get up early for school. Think they'll can stay up that late even if they're allowed to?

And this is just about games in the Eastern Time Zone.

It gets worse when the Lightning is in the Central Time Zone. Now we're talking about games in Dallas and St. Louis and Minnesota, among others, starting as late as 9:30. Games in Colorado would be starting at 10:30. And games out west in places such as Los Angeles, San Jose and Vancouver could start as ridiculously late as 11:30.

To watch those games, you have to be willing to stay up until 2 in the morning. Who is doing that?

It's bad enough that if we want to watch Jimmy Fallon or Stephen Colbert, we going to have to wait up until past 12:30 for half the year. But you're going to make us wait to watch our hockey, too?

Lightning hockey is not the only potential problem for sports fans around here.

Monday Night Football games would start at nearly 9:30 and end close to 1 a.m. The big college football game on Saturday night, assuming it isn't played in our state, would start well after 9 p.m. Other NHL games, in addition to the NBA and college basketball games are going to start later, too.

Think back to last year's thrilling College Football Playoff national championship game. Alabama won in overtime against Georgia. Even with standard time, that game ended around midnight. On a Monday.

Asking us to stay up past 1 is crossing the line.

Hey, it's one thing to call it quits in the middle of some random Lightning-Ducks regular-season game in January. But now you're asking us to choose between being a zombie and watching the college football title game?

Now, I realize there are bigger reasons than sports for wanting to go to permanent daylight saving time.

Supporters of the act believe it will help tourism, save energy, reduce crime and improve the lives of children by giving them more sunlight after school.

But there are other reasons not to like the move, like the safety of children.

As Fox 13 meteorologist Paul Dellegatto pointed out in a series of tweets last week, sunrise in January could be as late at 8:22 a.m. Will there be even one kid in the state who isn't walking to and standing at the bus stop in the dark?

If I had to guess, there are two major reasons why people want to keep daylight saving time. One is they simply don't like it getting dark earlier in the winter. And, two, they don't like losing an hour of sleep when clocks are pushed forward in the spring.

Neither feels like a good enough reason to get out of synch with the rest of the country.

Meantime, sports fans might have to make a choice in the winter.

Start taking naps or miss a whole lot of games.

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