Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mastering the Art of Offseason Boredom Prevention

(Note: This post probably has nothing to do with sports. It’s a nice little editorial you can all enjoy.)

“And so this is offseason, and what have you done? Another year over, and the downtime has begun.”
(Disclaimer: John Lennon never said this. Yoko might have though. Ah, never mind, it’s not really that funny now.)

It’s one thing to think that we all know what athletes do in the offseason. We all think that they bum out for about a week, and then they just return to their workout regimen, start dating other celebrities, play Call of Duty or Madden online with teammates, or go to other sports-related events. However, that might not necessarily be true. Just think—all of these guys might have lost their chances of having a decent social and family life when they were student athletes back in college (or high school depending on what the situation was). Locker room/clubhouse pranks are not enough—now there’s plenty of time to actually plan the destruction and frustration of roommates, wives, misbehaving children, and teammates located miles away.

Do I really know what they do? Not really, but here are good guesses...

In the offseason, a lot of eligible bachelor athletes often room together in the main square of the city in which they play in. Sure, the dishes might not always get done, but they have someone to share rent with, right? Anyway, here’s the scoop. One roommate just landed a date with a waitress at a local steakhouse and now they’re planning on coming back to the pad to watch Jersey Shore (don’t ask why I placed this show here—just go along with it) and eat some pretzels and low-fat queso (since the waitress already thinks she’s fat—moving on). What’s the other guy supposed to do? What if he had no plans that night? Does he take the shameful offense that he’s “the other guy” in the place or does he try to make things fun for the sake of his own sanity and the hope that things won’t get any worse for him? You can finish that thought off on your own.

Prank calling has its perks: you can mask your voice, kill massive amounts of boredom on a Friday night, and you can mess with peoples’ minds in return. No, we’re not going to go down the beaten path and say that players (or coaches, better yet) call pizza places, order 12 large sausage pies with four large bottles of birch beer and just one order of onion rings (as a consolation prize for being the sucker getting all of this stuff) and give them the address to the teammate’s house. That’s so 1980’s—before all of the caller ID business. Prank calling is now more of an ancient art nowadays; since people have automatic caller ID and phone number identification, you really have to be sneaky. Pay phones are an endangered species, and it’s not exactly certain whether pressing #4 [pound key, four] before the phone number always works. Thank God for functions and mechanisms like Google chat. If players/coaches are tech savvy, heaven help the person thinking that their credit card company is confirming their account cancelation or thinking that their agent just sold his deal on Craigslist. Possibilities: endless.

Just as Bo Jackson and Michael Jordan broke barriers by playing other pro sports during their respective offseason, you would that that one would try to be different and go a different path by signing a different contract for something completely different. Unfortunately, I don’t think professional wrestling (err, sports entertainment) is the best choice of earning more money and “living the dream.” Sorry Steve “Mongo” McMichael and Dennis Rodman…you both made total fools of you. I guess in the category of pranks and killing boredom, you laid the pranks on you and the company (in both cases it was WCW) and instead of killing boredom, you probably helped in killing the company and the people that watched you due to laughing so hard. It’s been 20 years since someone’s crossed over between professional sports, and I guess with the competitiveness and the roughness of it all, it’s probably not the best idea to try and poke your head into other things you won’t be ready for. Also, it’s another thing to take up a hobby, but …”sports entertainment?” Good gravy.

When one finally comes home after a long season, sometimes adjusting may be difficult yet fun when it comes to pestering other people or starting the idea of being a “class clown” in the home. For example, when an athlete comes home to his wife, he’s going to have a lot of stories to tell her and let her know how he’s reached out and gained new interests while practicing his trade. She’ll start the conversation by saying: “So honey, did your new teammates introduce you to their friendships and ways of living?” He could reply by saying: “Sweetie, the guys are great. Their tastes in music changed me! My iPod looks so much better now!” The conversation—and possibly the relationship—ends when the man walks into the bedroom and the wife hears Michael Bolton on full blast while the man is getting his pajamas on.

One thing’s for sure if you’re married—you’ll probably have the time in your career when the babies start coming out of the woodwork. Of course, you miss them to bits and pieces and you love them so much that their school pictures are taped on the inside of your locker. That was when you were away. Now, you realize why your wife misses you so much. You’re the much needed addition to the body count that must battle the baby apocalypse. How do you attend to this problem? The kids like sitting on your knee, right? Tell ‘em a story. Start digging up the deep ones that happened all the way back in the first week of the season. You remember how the bus broke down and the bus bathroom toilet was clogged? They’ll love that—so much that they’ll pass out on you faster than a government official being struck by an assassin. Problem solved. But remember, an idle mind is the devil’s handiwork: only use this skill when the kids aren’t occupied with a fun pastime like having a catch with you or doing a puzzle or swimming in a pool. The pool one would be scary—don’t do the story trick at all there.

And this, my friends, is what can happen when your mind begins to wander during the gym or during lunch. No kidding, I really start thinking about this stuff when ESPN is on. Don't you sometimes wonder what the athletes do when they themselves are watching news about them on television? I guess I delve into things a bit too much...

Hope you enjoyed my satire.

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