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Bedtime blues for families continue

By Mike DiMauro

Publication: The Day

Published November 19. 2013 4:00AM

Many of us have been desensitized to the institutionalized extortion of the sporting public, to the point where a shrug of the shoulders has replaced any previous moral outrage.

You know:

Buy a ticket for the Sunday afternoon baseball game and learn it's been moved to Sunday night to accommodate television.

Games that begin after bedtime to accommodate television.

Ticket plans that lump feature games with bowsers: Want to see the Yankees? You also must buy a ticket for the Astros.

Personal seat licenses, otherwise known as paying money for the right to pay more money.

But enough of us cave. Hence, nothing changes.

Here's another beauty that's a little closer to our corner of the world:

Temple University decided that Saturday's kickoff for the football game against UConn would move from noon to 7 p.m. That's Temple (one win, nine losses) against UConn (zero wins, nine losses).

Any more excitement on a Saturday night and we'd all have to start breathing into brown paper bags.

Makes you wonder how many fans, with the sections of empty seats between them, might channel their inner Sam Cooke:

"Another Saturday night and I ain't got nobody;

I've got some money cause I just got paid.

How I wish I had someone to talk to;

I'm in an awful way."

The reasoning, for the record:

"This was an Athletic Department decision to move the time of the game, not dictated by TV," Temple spokesman Larry Dougherty wrote in an e-mail. "We have not played a Saturday night game at Lincoln Financial Field so we wanted to try it and this game was the first available to do that."

And now for the best part. Temple University's web site is trumpeting the following:

"The Senior Class will be honored during a pregame ceremony. After the game, fans will be able to participate in the Parent-Child Touchdown Pass promotion on the field."

At, roughly, 10:30 p.m.

Do you know any parents who toss footballs with their children outside in late November at 10:30 on a Saturday night?

Would you guess there might be a few more willing to do so at, say, 3:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon?

And the band plays on.

Now I can't blame Temple for attempts at innovation. Nobody goes to the games. But wouldn't this have been better saved for early next season when the opponent is better, weather is perhaps warmer and team isn't 1-9 yet?

I can't stand it. College football, in spite of its growing number of midweek night games, remains among the last kid-friendly sporting endeavors. Many games are played on Saturday afternoons. Kids can go. Families can go. Tickets aren't outrageous. At the risk of sounding like fodder for the Waltons, it's decent, affordable family entertainment.

This just in: We need more decent, affordable family entertainment. We're losing kids. No, really. Nobody wants to entertain anything that's fatalistic unless it's easily perceptible. Think about it: Heart disease imperils millions and millions more of us than, say, terrorism. But we take more measures to combat terrorism (get virtually naked at the airport) than we do heart disease (more daily exercise, fewer Krispy Kremes).

Now we add Temple to the list. The Parent-Child Football Toss on the lawn of the Link.

At 10:30 p.m.

This is the time of year when we ponder things for which we are thankful. Here's my contribution: That I grew up during a time when I could actually watch sports. Games actually got played during the day, back when television was either more benevolent or less greedy.

Not sure yet where I'll be on Saturday night. But it won't be in Philly watching two teams that have a win between them. Not sure I'd have been there at noon, either. But I bet many more kids and their families would have been.

And that's the point: Kids and families. The forgotten precinct of sports.

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro.

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