WHEN IT comes to watching TV sports, the last two weeks have been as tough as any I can remember. Between college football on Saturday, the American and National League baseball playoffs, as well as the World Series, not to mention double-header pro games on Sunday, and Monday night football, the American sports fan has been glued in his chair for days on end.
The other night I dropped over to see McCloskey to watch a football game with him. He didn't recognize me when I walked in. His eyes were red and bulging out.
"McCloskey," I cried. "It's me. Are you all right?"
Mrs. McCloskey took me by the arm, out of earshot . . . "Don't worry, he doesn't recognize me either. He just sits there for hours staring at the set."
"Uhhhhhhhhhh," McCloskey groaned, waving his hand back and forth.
Mrs. McCloskey rushed to his side. "What is it Phil? Do you want water? Is that what you want?"
"Uhhhhh," McCloskey said, nodding his head in the affirmative. Mrs. McCloskey rushed out to get him a glass of water. I sat down next to him. When the quarter was over and there was a commercial break, I said, "Well, phil, how's it going?"
He looked annoyed that I had spoken.
Mrs. McCloskey returned with the glass of water.
"Don't be upset if he pretends he doesn't hear you. He hears what he wants to."
"When did he get this way?"
"I think it was during the third Yankee-Kansas City game. He just went into a TV coma and hasn't come out of it. I called the doctor, but he wouldn't come over because he said he didn't want to miss Oklahoma playing Texas. He told me to turn off the set and give him two aspirin. I tried to turn off the set but Phil became so violent, I had no choice but to turn it on again."
"Uhhhhhhhhhhhh," McCloskey said.
"What is it Phil? What do you want?"
McCloskey put his arms around his shoulders.
"You're cold, is that it? Here's a blanket. See I'm wrapping it around you. Now isn't that better?"
McCloskey's head just drooped.
"He dozes off every once in a while," she told me. "But he never fails to wake up when something exciting is about to happen."
"This must be pretty tough on you," I said.
"The children and I take turns sitting with him. The doctor says once the World Series is over, and he'll only have football to watch he'll get better.
"Do you want me to go?" I asked.
"No, the doctor said it's good for him to be around people even if he refuses to speak to them."
"Uhhhhhhhhhh," McCloskey said.
"What's he saying?" I asked.
"He wants something to eat," Mrs. McCloskey said. "He always gets hungry when he sees a McDonald's commercial. Phil, don't go away. I'm bringing you a nice bowl of soup."
"You want potato chips, too? It's coming right up. Keep an eye on him," Mrs. McCloskey said. "If he gets out of his chair, grab him. He hasn't been on his legs in two weeks."
Suddenly McCloseky turned to me and tried to say something. "What is it, Phil? Spit it out. What is it?"
He made a gesture for me to lean over so he could whisper in my ear. The words came out slowly, almost as a grunt, but they were clear. He said, "Cosell . . .talks . . .too . . .much."
I called Mrs. McCloskey, "I think he's coming out of it!" I cried. "He just spoke to me."
Mrs. McCloskey burst into tears. "Now, if we can just get him through the World Series."