As “The ‘Land” celebrated, I was reduced to a solemn, pensive mood: the NBA season is over. As confetti rained down in Oracle Arena, metaphorical tears rained down my face. We, as a collective nation, were now confined to the Baseball Prison™.
Sure, there’s always your old friend from high school who played baseball and wouldn’t miss a Cardinals game for the world. Sure, there’s the people who couldn’t care less about sports, and, of course, the professional baseball players themselves, but for the other 90% of Americans, the middle of June through mid-August when the NFL preseason starts is a marathon of sports desolation.
My “imprisonment” usually involves hours of playing dynasty mode on NCAA Football on Xbox (Tulsa has won 3 straight national championships under my leadership, just so you know Dr. Gragg), watching basketball highlights on YouTube, and copious amounts of eating and sleeping. I try to fill my time hanging with friends and working. I’ve also taken to watching HGTV with my parents, which is surprisingly addictive. Just when I’m about to change the channel or leave the room, I decide to stick around to see how Chip and Jo finish their latest renovation project. Enjoyable as all that sounds, I still pine for football, basketball, soccer, ANYTHING to start back up.
Further mocking the sports fan is NBA free agency and the first wave of college commitments. Teasing fans with visions of their teams playing with their shiny new additions is torture when reality again hits. Writing for this site allows me to claim that watching interviews of our incoming players from some random 9th grade AAU tournament is just “research” for an article, and not some sort of crazed display of my starvation for meaningful sports to begin again.
My quest for entertainment knows no bounds. I’ve watched the Polish “Jedi” Janis Amolins win a professional arm wrestling tournament on ESPN 2. I’ve somehow not only learned that Fox Sports 2 is a channel, but also all the rules to Australian Rules Football, several of the teams, and now even have a favorite player. I’ve played soccer at midnight at Memorial High School with friends to try to pass the time, disregarding the fact that I could probably fly a space shuttle better than I can kick a soccer ball. I even tried watching a baseball game on TV once; a horror that I regretfully cannot expunge from my memory.
The Open and PGA Championship shine like lighthouses on islands that lead to the final safe harbor: football season. Their light beckons the sports fan, offering a glimpse of hope, that all is not yet lost, calling them to keep stumbling forward, as they are almost home. This promise, if not fulfilled every year previous, would almost sound too good to be true.
I dream of the forthcoming day when SportsCenter’s Top 10 isn’t simply the same diving grab by an outfielder, repeated 10 times. And until then, I’m rooting for Louis Oosthuizen, Lance Franklin, and probably soon some Russian superstar who plays a sport I haven’t even heard of yet. Stay strong, sports fan; I can already smell the pigskin.