You always expect the first weekend without the NFL to be difficult. But even when you're expecting it, the crippling depression of a football-less world is still even more difficult to cope with than the end of McRib season. I tried to pass my Sunday by taking my son bowling. Turns out he's actually better than I am. That wouldn't be that big of a deal except, well, he
just turned 3 years old
So how do we handle our football-less existence? Let's work through this together. Here are some suggestions of where you can find relief:
We enjoy Maryland men's basketball. OK, so, we look forward to the start of Orioles spring training.
At least the Baltimore Blast are still in first place.
Look, this post-football depression is obviously made much worse by the fact that the Terps have been something between uninteresting and bad this season. Maybe they still have a miraculous push to the NCAA Tournament in them. (They almost certainly don't, but I have this obligation to state it as a possibility until Selection Sunday -- or until their eighth straight road loss, whichever comes first.)
Typically, Orioles fans like to complain about how few spring training games are televised. Given the team's complete lack of starting pitchers, perhaps it's a blessing this year. These aren't areas that can help us handle our "football is over" blues.
2. Maybe, just maybe, we could give the NBA a look-see.
Oh who am I kidding? Watching the NBA during the regular season would be about as exciting as watching the "Fifty Shades of Grey" franchise with the sex scenes removed. There's just nothing there.
Here's an idea. Lie to your friends and tell them you're really interested in the NBA despite the fact that you obviously aren't. If they ask you any questions, respond with one of the following clichés:
- "I don't know if they can win a championship, but the Houston Rockets are a lot of fun to watch."
- "I want to believe in the Washington Wizards, but they just don't play good enough defense." (Bonus: if you're watching the NBA All-Star Game Feb. 18, you can say something like, "These guys play defense like the Wizards," and feel like you know something!)
- "The Los Angeles Lakers are going to be really good in a couple of years when they have [insert name of any NBA player at all] and [insert name of any other NBA player at all] on their roster."
- "Look, it's been a weird season and all, but wake me up when the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors are in the Finals."
Just rotate through those four. You'll be good. There's not that much else to say. You could also complain about how much attention people pay to LaVar Ball if you're in a bind and need a fifth thought. That's pretty evergreen.
3. Remember like six years ago when you decided to give NASCAR a try but couldn't stick with it because it was as exciting as watching a Marty Mornhinweg-led offense? Well, it's all basically the same except now you've never heard of any of the drivers, either. The Daytona 500 is Feb. 18.
Gone are Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Danica Patrick, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Carl Edwards. In are ... I'm not even going to pretend like I know who the drivers are now. Well, I know who Aric Almirola is. But I only know that because his crew chief is
Perry Hall, Md.'s, own John Klausmeier
. So if you're going this route, root for Almirola. You'll feel good because you're also supporting the only man in America who doesn't know how to spell "Eric."
4. There are also the Olympics. These are the Winter Olympics, you know, the ones full of sports you neither understand nor have even a passing interest in. Also, you've never heard of any of the athletes, and the games are happening in the wee hours of the morning. But other than that, enjoy your Olympiating.
I friggin' love the Summer Olympics. But like the candidates for President, the Winter Games are a massive dud every four years. Cross country skiing? Please describe to me in vivid detail the circumstances by which I'm ever going to end up cross country skiing. Bobsled and luge seem cool, I guess, but they all look like they've had the exact same run as the last slider, and I can't tell by watching TV which of them are any good. Unless they're bringing back the cast of "All That" to be the curling team, I'm just not going to watch.
5. Stop trying to find anything else and just participate in our national pastime: fantasy booking the Ravens' roster after the NFL Draft.
This year, I want free-agent receiver Jarvis Landry and draft pick Calvin Ridley from Alabama. And free-agent receiver Allen Robinson and draft pick D.J. Moore from Maryland And free-agent receiver Terrelle Pryor and draft pick Courtland Sutton from SMU. And any other receivers from anywhere on the planet that might be remotely interested in coming to Baltimore.