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When I was 13, I discovered Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

Knights of the Old Republic, or KOTOR for short, was a 2003 video game for the Xbox that immersed the player into the world of “Star Wars” as either a Jedi Knight or Sith Lord, your choice. As a kid who had a Darth Vader backpack that made the breathing sound when you pressed a red button, this was a dream come true.

I played KOTOR so much, it was a convenient excuse to give my parents when they asked why I wasn’t doing better in math (the real reason was I’m not good at math). It was a life changing experience.

One night, I couldn’t sleep. This was common for me at the time as a child with ADD, but this night, I came to what I thought was a brilliant idea at the time: I could play KOTOR.

So KOTOR I played. I played on, and on, and on. I played so much that I barely noticed when the sun began to rise outside my window early in the morning. I played so much, I didn’t realize I’d stayed up all night playing KOTOR for eight straight hours. I played so much, I was too busy thinking about how I was going to slay Darth Malak and find the Star Forge to realize that my history teacher was asking me a question in class. “Upgrading my party with duel wielding ability” was not the answer he was looking for to the question “who facilitated the Louisiana Purchase.”

I was tired y’all. Really tired. As much as I wanted to go home after school and explore the farthest reaches of Tatooine, I needed some Z’s. So, I decided to take an afternoon nap around 4:30 p.m..

When I woke up, the sun appeared to be setting and the clock said 5:30. I figured I should go to the kitchen and get ready for dinner.

Except the sun wasn’t setting. It was rising. It wasn’t 5:30 p.m., it was 5:30 a.m.. People of Fairbanks, I’d slept 13 hours straight, missed dinner, didn’t get to any of my homework, and worst of all I didn’t get to help the fallen Jedi Knight Juhani avenge her ravished home world of Taris.

I was aghast y’all. I couldn’t believe I’d slept that long. I decided from that moment on, I’d never stay up past midnight doing fun stuff at the sacrifice of my sleep.

Then Knights of the Old Republic 2 came out and you can imagine that all changed.

That takes us to this week’s Hart of the Matter: I’ll be staying up past midnight tonight. So will the Everett Merchants, the Alaska Goldpanners, and the untold number of fans who will be out at Growden Park Monday night.

After two long years, one of the greatest traditions in sports will make its triumphant return Monday as the Midnight Sun Game once again takes place. The ‘Panners will host the Merchants for a game starting at 10 p.m. with the gates opening at 8 p.m.. One of the greatest games in baseball is finally back everyone.

It’s not the only baseball game going on this week, however. The Goldpanners will host the Merchants again on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Tuesday thru Thursday’s games will begin at 5:30 p.m. while Friday’s game is set for 6:30 p.m.. Box scores for all games can be found at http://alaska goldpanners.wttbaseball.pointstreak.com/schedule.html?leagueid=702.

It’s a huge week for racing as well. Mitchell Raceway will host their fourth week of racing this week with a double dose of races. The Alaska Dirt Shootout Race is this week with races starting Friday night at 7 p.m. and continuing Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at Mitchell Raceway. Mitchell is located at 4075 Peger Road. There will be signs directing traffic where to go.

Lastly, there’s the Fairbanks Soccer Club. The second games of the season for the men’s and women’s teams will take place this Saturday in Anchorage. The men’s game will begin at 1:30 p.m. while the Women’s game will begin at 4 p.m.. The game will be live streamed from the FSC Facebook page (@FairbanksSC).

Unless there’s something someone didn’t tell me, that’s it. Thanks for getting to the Hart of the Matter with me. If I forgot to mention something, please forgive me. I haven’t slept since I found out there’s an online KOTOR game.

Contact sports reporter Hart Pisani at 459-7530 or follow him at twitter.com/FDNMSports.