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TBT: Hooray for the internet

Nov 21, 2013, 5:12 PM PDT

(Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE)

Next time you squint your eyes and draw your face ever closer to the warm glow of the computer monitor to closely examine fantasy football stats, take a moment to think of the brilliant minds that made the internet a possibility on this day. Can you believe people used to manually tabulate stats and do actual math in order to play fantasy sports?

You don’t have to do these tedious things because on this day in 1969, some brilliant minds at Stanford, UCLA, UCSB and the University of Utah established the first ever online network connection. Many years and numerous technological advances later, the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) essentially became the internet as we know it.

If you want to get really nerdy, HowStuffWorks.com has an excellent explanation of, well, how it all worked. For our purposes it’s more fun to think of the ways the online world has changed sports as we know it.

It’s almost impossible to imagine not being able to instantly check a player’s stats to settle a debate, or to vent on Twitter, Facebook and message boards while “watching a game.” Fans can essentially watch trades unfold in real time through social media rather than waiting to check the morning newspaper or evening newscast. Every major highlight, bizarre play, or gruesome injury can instantly be seen in .GIF form at your fingertips seconds after it happens. And the cat videos… so many cute cat videos.

Think about how fun it will be to tell your grandkids that you were alive when the internet didn’t exist. They’ll look at you like some kind of mutant and feel sorry that you once had to live without twitpics from sports stars containing goats in diapers. They’ll ask us how we ever survived? How we ever got anything accomplished? How we ever lived without hashtags to organize our various interests?

You’ll roll your eyes, lean back in your rocking chair and tune it out while sending a status update with your mind. Hooray for the internet.

Other notable moments from this week in sports history:

11/21/1934 – New York Yankees buy Joe DiMaggio from San Francisco Seals.

11/20/1969 – Willie McCovey named National League Most Valuable Player.

11/18/1949 –  Jackie Robinson won his only Most Valuable Player award. He hit .342 and won the NL batting title as well.

11/17/1984 – Purvis Short scores a Golden State Warriors single-game record 59 points.

11/20/1990 – Rickey Henderson named American League Most Valuable Player.

— You can check out our Throwback Thursday archive by CLICKING HERE

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