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Wrestlemania blues

GRANT'S TOMB:

April 06, 2001|By CHRIS GRANT, Sports Editor

I figured coming out of the closet in this column last week would be the hard part. I was wrong.

My attempts at watching "Wrestlemania X-seven" Sunday turned out to be the truly hard part and not because I found the spectacle too garish. No, I enjoyed what I saw of it. You see, the problem was I didn't get to see enough of it, and for that I can only thank Adelphia.

I have been told on numerous occasions that our cable provider is about as popular around these parts as a Yankees fan in Boston, and I have had my own problems. Most notably was last year in the Major League Baseball playoffs.

I remember watching the San Francisco Giants taking on the New York Mets (I think) and just as Barry Bonds was coming to the plate in the latter part of the game Adelphia decided to have a test of the emergency broadcast system. Instead of getting to watch one of the most feared hitters in baseball take on Met closer Armando Benitez I got to stare at a green screen and listen to a loud beep. I felt as if it were the '70s and I was being forced to watch "Heidi." Needless to say, I was less than happy.

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Sunday's debacle proved even more annoying. I arrived home from the office about 4 in the afternoon so I could hook up the converter box I had picked up a couple days earlier at the Adelphia offices. After making sure the connections were correct (there are always a lot of cables to plug and unplug and I'm never quite sure if I've gotten it right) I grabbed a cold one and settled back on the couch, waiting for 4:30 p.m. to roll around so that I could watch the pregame show.

Well, 4:30 came rolling around just when I figured it would (about 4:31 by my clock) and lo and behold there was no Wrestlemania to be found on channel 39. Now I was tuned to channel 39 because that was the channel I had been told to tune to to watch the big event. However, on my 39 all I saw was the preview channel, rolling through a listing of programs for that hour. Every once in a while it would scroll by what was showing on channel 39, as if it were taunting me with each passing minute I became more and more frustrated. I waited and waited and still no wrestling would grace my screen.

A couple guys I had invited over for the big Wrestlemania party showed up about 5 p.m. and still there was no sign of the big show. I had been consoling myself to this point, figuring things would come on at 5, but I had been wrong. For at 5 p.m. all channel 39 was showing was that stupid preview channel.

This was when my frustration began to grow even greater. I placed a call to the 1-800 number that was on the screen. All it said was my show had been ordered and I should tune in to channel 39 to watch it or call customer service. Well, since the whole tuning into channel 39 thing wasn't working, I opted to try to place the call.

I'm not sure how many of you have tried to call the cable company, but it's not really as easy as it sounds. I tried for an hour and a half just to get my call to go through. That's right, their line was busy for an hour and a half! I was certainly irritated, but at this point I wasn't giving up.

One of my guests had departed, opting to go watch the event at his friend's house (his friend has a satellite and was having no problem viewing the show) but I still had some ribs on the grill and was hoping to see some of this thing that I had paid $40 to watch.

Finally, after an hour and a half of trying, our call to Adelphia went through. After waiting another five minutes to actually talk to someone I was told our area was having problems getting the broadcast and could either check back later or just cancel my order now. I opted for the former and after another 20 minutes the broadcast finally came through. Yes, right where it should have been all along, on channel 39.

So I did get to see the final hour of the show and what I saw certainly was entertaining. But it still did not take the sour taste of this pay-per-view debacle from my mouth. No, not even my world famous ribs and plenty of cold beer could wash away that taste.

Of course there seems to be no solution to these sorts of problems. The cable company certainly is operating as a monopoly and there is little one can do about it. I know plenty of people who have decided to go the satellite route, but they've done so at the expense of local programming.

My wife has suggested we give up TV altogether, but I'm not sure that's going to work either. I am sure I won't be ordering any more pay-per-views from these people. No, instead I will just watch whatever regular programming might happen to be on and wait for another test of the emergency broadcast system. That's usually when all the fun starts anyway.

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