Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 25, 2014

The national title game couldn't hold my attention

By Travis J. Brown | Jan 13, 2012
Travis J. Brown

A few years ago, one of my co-workers encouraged me to read an article in The Atlantic titled “Is Google Making Us Stoopid?” The author, Nicholas Carr, hypothesized that computer users’ attention spans have become shorter because of the speed at which information can be found on the Internet.

“Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy,” he wrote. “I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration starts to drift after two or three pages. … I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. … What the Net seems to be doing is chipping away at my capacity for concentration and contemplation.”

I would have to agree. In fact, it took me several tries to get through Carr’s lengthy article. But it’s not just reading where our attention spans have been shortened. I don’t even think I have a long enough attention span to watch a well-played defensive football game anymore.

Monday’s BCS National Championship football game between No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama was hard to keep my eyes on. The game was one-sided and downright boring. The Crimson Tide’s defense dominated LSU, limiting the Tigers to 92 yards of total offense and just five first downs as Alabama won 21-0. In fact, LSU’s offense crossed midfield just once!

Meanwhile, Alabama kicked five field goals to lead 15-0 heading into the fourth quarter. Five field goals. With apologies to kickers everywhere, field goals aren’t typically very exciting.

Finally, with less than five minutes left in the game, Alabama running back Trent Richardson broke free for a 34-yard touchdown run. But, by that point, the game had already been decided.

I was indifferent to much of the action. Is it bad that ABC’s “Castle” was more entertaining than the national championship game? Is it bad that the only thing that drew my attention away from watching YouTube videos on my iPhone was to watch LSU’s Brad Wing, a former Australian-rules football player, boom punts from deep in his team’s own territory? Probably, but I couldn’t help it. That game was boring.

And this column would be longer, but my attention span is waning …

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