Feb 17

219 Days and Counting: What to Do Until the Start of College Football Season

Posted By:Jason Cooper  Tags:

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The 2008-2009 college football season has come and gone.  I can actually remember getting excited for the first big game of the 2008 season last year:  Clemson versus Alabama in the Georgia Dome.  That is, until I watched the first half.  Can you believe that was last August?  Before I knew it, my Mountaineers were playing UNC in the Car Care Bowl and Pat White was gone.  What the hell happened?  It felt like I blinked and here I am in February anxiously awaiting another nail-biting, nerve-racking, alcohol-laden college football season. 

But for the hard-core college football fan, 219 days seems like an eternity.  So, what to do until then?  Here are a few alternative sports suggestions to tide you over, other than the NCAA Tournament, the NBA Finals, and the start of the MLB season (soon to be sponsored by the WWE).

1)  Watch NASCAR:  For those of you who don't think that NASCAR is a sport, by definition, it is.  The American Heritage Dictionary defines a sport in the following manner:  1a. Physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively. b. A particular form of this activity. 2. An activity involving physical exertion and skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often undertaken competitively. 3. An active pastime; recreation.  Driving a car around a track a bunch of times requires skill, needs rules, and is considered to be competitive.  I wouldn't call it "pastime," because then making ice-cream could also be considered a sport.  Nonetheless, NASCAR is a sport.  So is golf.  Deal with it. 

Back in the day, I had a roommate that was into stock-car racing.  I've never gotten into racing because I didn't think it required much of anything other than the ability to turn left a lot.  Something even a caveman could do, right? [cue the Geico dudes]  Realizing my limited exposure to NASCAR, he used to take the time to educate me on its finer points:  when and why tires needed to be changed so often, when and why a driver should pit, and what the hell drafting was.  He taught me that it wasn't just the driver who won the race; it was also up to the crew, the tires, the track, and God.  [He was from the deep South, so I interpreted "God" to be the weather or general physics]  Eventually, I came to realize that racing is much more of an intricate sport than most people realize; a very detailed activity with times down to the hundredth of a second; a game of strategy, skill, forethought, and insight.  Yeah, it may be all that, but I still watch it for the wrecks.  [insert caveman, Tim Allen noise here]       

Problem is, if you start to get into NASCAR, you won't be able to watch NFL Football on Sundays in the fall because NASCAR races coincide with the holiest time on the holiest of days: 1:00 PM on Sunday [11:00 AM on Sunday comes in as a close second - sorry, Jesus].  And the NASCAR season is really, really long.  I'm not sure, but I think each year's season lasts something like 18 months.  Eventually, you'd have to pick one or the other.  In that case, just stick with the NFL; they actually have more collisions.    

2)  Watch a soccer match:  I'm kidding.

Actually, I'm not.  I'm going to do this, but only for the social aspect of it.  The Charleston Battery (semi-pro soccer team in South Carolina) has a bar within its stadium called Three Lions Pub.  It's an authentic, English-style pub, complete with an original foosball table, tons of signed soccer balls and jerseys, and pint after pint of the best English and Irish ales the world has to offer.  Seriously, the collection of soccer memorabilia alone at this place is amazing!  Autographed soccer stuff by David Beckham, Pele, and even Rod Stewart (yes, Rod Stewart the singer and apparent soccer player/aficionado) fill glass cases all around the room.  It might be comparable to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown…only with soccer balls. 

Anyway, my goal in the near future is to watch a match, drink a couple of pints, put on my best wide-lined, blue/white rugby shirt, and watch various bald-headed, scarf-wearing, hooligans cheer on their respective football teams…and hopefully, beat the hell out of each other!  Problem is, I have no idea which regular match or Cup thingy would result in scarves, hooligans, and fisticuffs.  I think it has to be some sort of English/Irish game, though.  From my Civics class in high school, I remember that those two countries went to war with each other sometime in history.  Not sure if that still translates to the soccer field, though.  I wouldn't see why not.  It should. 

However, if you don't have access to a semi-pro or pro soccer stadium complete with an English-style pub in it, then, yes…I'm totally kidding.  Stay home and watch a rerun of the 1988 Orange bowl on ESPN Classic.  Whoa Nellie!

3)  Play kickball:  Remember this game?  I think it was a mandatory activity for children of the era that "went out and played."  Recently, I was reintroduced to kickball through a local co-ed sports league, and introduced for the first time to the World Adult Kickball Association (WAKA).  WAKA leagues and their teams are serious about kickball.  Case and point:  I actually bruised a couple of ribs after being tripped by a girl as I was trying to cross home plate for a score.  As I was lying on the ground, clutching my side and writhing in pain, I swear I heard her tell one of her teammates, "I don't care if he is hurt."  I later found out that she was a pediatric physician.  Heaven help any of her patients that get sick on her watch. 

I have since retired from kickball permanently because kickball is too violent of a sport, especially if chicks are involved.  On second thought, don't play kickball unless you have good health insurance and aren't afraid of girls.

4)  Call your mother.  Seriously.  Sometime between now and the start of college football season, call your mother.  She misses you.

5)  Hockey anyone?:  Here's the basic premise for hockey.  A bunch of white guys, mostly Canadian, on ice skates with big sticks, trying to put a 3-inch piece of rubber in a net, while constantly slamming into each other at high speeds.  Oh, and here's the kicker.  Fighting is legal until someone hits the ground.  Sign me up.  Actually, it sounds more like something a woman pediatric physician might enjoy. 

To be completely honest, I gave up on professional hockey for good after the NHL cancelled the entire 2005 season over contract disputes.  Actually, I can't even go that far with such a statement because I wasn't that invested before the 2005 season.  Before 2005, I used to at least watch the Stanley Cup playoffs, but after that, I forgot and didn't care who Stanley was anymore.  And I was fine with that. 

Actually, if you're from the South, it's harder to get into hockey because when you walk outside of the arena, it's 80 freakin' degrees.  Now,  playing a hockey game outdoors is a great idea because the weather patterns match, inside and outside.  The NHL actually schedule two games this year outside:  Buffalo and Chicago.  I would have liked to have seen those games.  You definitely couldn't do that in South Carolina, though.  It would just be a bunch of guys committing battery in a pool.

Ok, so maybe there aren't many alternative sports ideas that will take the place of college football until it rolls around again.  My suggestion, then, would be cryogenics. 
Find yourself a nice 7-8 foot metal pod, fill it with liquid nitrogen, and get a good deep freeze going.  Have your secretary (or wife) hold all your calls, set the timer for September 5, 2009, and just skip all the nonsense in between. 

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