Florida’s season ended on January 2nd. If you haven’t noticed, I haven’t written a whole lot since then because I’ve been going through withdrawals. Like real hardcore withdrawals–vomiting, cold sweats, insomnia, lack of appetite, the chills, the willies, the heebie-jeebies, the feeling of a million tiny ewoks crawling on my skin, you name it. It’s been rough. Now, a lot of that is because I quit using heroine (clean and sober for the first time since I was eleven), but a portion of that is because there isn’t any Florida football for me to watch. I’ve learned this year that bad Florida football is still better than no Florida football. So how does one cope with the long offseason? Well, I’m here to help by offering some ideas to pass the time until spring practice starts and then again through the long, boring summer months.
Spring practice begins in March and ends with the spring game on April 7th, so in the meantime, enjoy some basketball. Unfortunately the NBA is still in their lockout, but that’s OK because I prefer college basketball anyway…I’m being told the NBA lockout ended and they began the season on Christmas. Well, good for them! Anyway, Florida’s basketball team is doing pretty well so far and they are quite the fun team to watch. Patric Young looks like a football player, so I usually find myself imagining him catching passes as a tight end or better yet, breaking E.J. Manuel’s back on a blitz. Try it. You’ll like it. Try it. You’ll like it. (GET OUT OF MY HEAD YO GABBA GABBA!) Moving on.
So basketball has carried you through February to spring practice. You find a small respite in the few weeks of spring ball. Then the final seconds tick off the clock of the spring game, you’re now looking at nearly four months of boredom and despair, a desolate sadscape, devoid of any giant men violently colliding with each other head-on. Well, have I got a sport for you that will keep you entertained for hours! And I do mean hours. It’s called baseball. Now, I’ve heard a lot of people say, “baseball is boring.” My response to that is–shut your stupid whore mouth! Baseball has given back so much to me. From hundreds of great memories playing Little League through high school to some of the greatest naps I’ve ever taken while watching the sport on weekend afternoons.
Fortunately for Gator fans, we’re blessed with a fantastic baseball team and this year’s team might be the best in school history. And let’s not forget about Florida’s outstanding softball team. In fact, I never used to watch softball on account of the fact that I thought it was illegal for women to participate in athletic competition, but one day last year I was flipping through the channels hoping to find The Ya-Ya Sisterhood playing somewhere when I came across a game. This team is so good that I became hooked!
OK, so now you’ve made it through basketball season and the college baseball/softball seasons ended in June (assuming both teams made another deep run in the postseason), you’ve still got all of July to get through. You could watch Major League Baseball, but if you’re a fan of the Cubs, Pirates, Royals, Astros, Nationals, Orioles, or Mariners, your season ended in January. What do you do now? July is the absolute worst month for a college football fan. Football season is so close you can taste it. The anticipation is building. All of the annual college football publications are on newsstands. We purchase them because we need our fix and they give us reason to be optimistic (or pessimistic) about the coming season. But standing in your way between reading Athlon’s season preview and the first crack of pads in fall camp in August is 31 days of nothing. July is a black hole on the calendar. It feels like time stands still during that month. Sure, the 4th of July is fun, but you can only blow off so many fingers before it gets boring. What does one do to alleviate the boredom and anxiety that piles up in July?
Here’s what you do. Buy an old, cheap Winnebago. Pack lightly–clothes, a little bit of cash, snacks, a pack of gum, and a box of LSD. Yeah, I said a box. Drive out to any desert in Arizona and burn the Winnebago. Then take all of the LSD. Once it takes effect, the ground will begin to rumble. You’ll start to run, but your legs will begin to feel like anchors. With each step you take your feet will plummet further into the ground. The Earth will open up and you’ll descend down into the dark chasm. The fall will seem like an eternity. You will leave your body and witness yourself falling. Upon landing at the bottom, you will feel no pain, in fact, it will be a most comfortable landing, as if landing gently on a mound of pillows. You will find yourself in an all-white room. At the far end of the room there will be a duck chained to a furnace. The duck will speak Mandarin. Remember the pack of gum you brought with you? Give it to the duck. It’s all he wants. Once you’ve handed the duck the gum, he will let you pass. The four walls of the room will collapse to reveal that you have now entered Hell.
The heat will be so intense that it will melt the flesh and muscle from your bones. You will have to continue your journey as a skeleton. You spot a spiral staircase leading down into a dimly lit chamber. You cautiously proceed down when the stairs abruptly disappear and the staircase now becomes a slide. It spits you out into the chamber. You feel this dark, ominous presence in the room with you. From the shadows steps a shirtless Matthew McConaughey. Congratulations, you’re now face-to-face with Satan. Do not gaze upon his six-pack abs. That is exactly what he wants, for if you do so, he owns your soul for eternity. Instead, you stand there paralyzed with fear. His mouth opens and his tongue unfurls. It slowly wraps around you, squeezing every drop of life out of you. You accept your fate and give up. He swallows you whole and you find darkness, but are strangely at peace with everything.
It’s August 1st. You open your eyes to find yourself naked in an alley behind a Bed, Bath, & Beyond in Salt Lake City, Utah. You’re groggy, but no longer hallucinating. There’s a duffel bag beside you. It contains a change of clothes, $300 cash, and a plane ticket back to Florida. Get dressed, put the cash and ticket in your pocket and throw the bag in the dumpster in the alley. Then get to the airport and board the plane back to Florida because IT’S FOOTBALL SEASON MOTHERFUCKER! YOU MADE IT!