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Nat Parker leans back in his easy chair at his own college sports central in the living room of his Decatur home. With the aid of seven televisions, cable and satellite service, Parker makes every game count on college football Saturdays. His wife, Patsy, is obviously building a strong case for sainthood.
Daily photo by Brennen Smith
Nat Parker leans back in his easy chair at his own college sports central in the living room of his Decatur home. With the aid of seven televisions, cable and satellite service, Parker makes every game count on college football Saturdays. His wife, Patsy, is obviously building a strong case for sainthood.

7 televisions for
1 sports fan

Decatur man converts living room
into college football central

By Paul Huggins
phuggins@decaturdaily.com 340-2395

Saturday is not only the seventh day of the week — it's Seventh Heaven in the Parker home.

That's because Nat Parker can watch seven college football games at once on the seven televisions stacked in the living room.

It's most certainly an understatement when Parker explains the reason:

"I love football."

That's the college game, specifically, which he follows religiously from the first kickoff at 11 a.m. till the final tick of a West Coast game more than 12 hours later.

Last week he started his day with Illinois and Penn State on the Big 10 Network, Mississippi State and South Carolina on the Lincoln Financial network, LSU and Tulane on ESPN2, Villanova and James Madison on College Sports South, North Carolina and Virginia Tech on Raycom, Baylor and Texas A&M on VERSUS and Purdue and Notre Dame on ESPN.

He could have been watching two or three more games at that time if he had more screens for ESPNU and two other Big 10 games.

To get all the games, Parker, a Decatur Realtor, subscribes to local cable (five TVs) and Direct TV satellite (two TVs). Base cost about $90. He also pays Direct TV another $108 for the ESPN Gameplan package.

This entitled him to 10 overlapping games last week with kickoffs at 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.

The setup is much better than just flipping back and forth with the remote control, he said, as his eyes move back and forth and up and down.

Parker said he always has been good at multi-tasking and thinks his Army training to study terrain and maps taught him how to scan properly.

Parker's wife of 42 years, Patsy, said her husband can talk on the phone and work on a computer at the same time. He regularly carries on two phone conversations at once. She explained this while reading in the dining room, about as far from the TVs as she can get, unless she wants to put up a lawn chair in the garage.

She's an Auburn graduate and will watch the Tigers, but otherwise she simply tolerates how her living room — also filled with collectible glassware — mimics the production booth for "Monday Night Football."

"This is his deal, not mine," she said.

Parker adds, "She's offered to let me get one of those big screens, but she says I'll have to get rid of all these others."

The seven screens are a collection of sets he has acquired over the years. One of them he bought for $5 at a garage sale. The biggest is 27 inches, the smallest 13. During games, he turns up the volume only on one set, but during commercials he's quick with the seven corresponding remotes to switch the audio.

Parker, a lifelong Alabama fan, is usually alone in his enjoyment with the setup. Occasionally, a friend or family member will drop by but they rarely return, he said.

"People come out here and they're just bumfuzzled," Parker said.

This reporter didn't find it too tricky, though. It's easy to concentrate on the game that corresponds with the volume.

Between plays, when the teams are in the huddle, you scan in a circle until you find a play just starting. Only big plays will divert attention from the primary game.

During the night session, we saw Troy and UCLA — separate games on adjacent TVs — score impressive touchdowns on successive plays while Auburn and Florida were in huddles.

The slower pace of baseball makes it easier to follow that game, Parker said, and he typically watches three games at a time during the season. He pays $130 for a satellite baseball package that brings him about 10 games nightly.

Parker also pays $94 for a NASCAR package that gives him five channels, some of which follow certain drivers in their race cars.

Parker can watch his favorite driver, Jeff Gordon, for the entire race from the perspective of sitting in the back seat and hear him talk with his crew chief.

As for other sports, Parker spurns basketball during the winter, which allows him and Patsy to go antique shopping as far as Ohio to add to her glassware collection.

Asked if he duplicates his Saturdays by watching multiple NFL games on Sundays, Parker said he's not interested.

"Sunday is a day of rest from Saturday football," he said.

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