By Gregg Hayim
I am not exactly sure what it is. Perhaps itâ€™s the timing of when I began writing for this site. Smack down in the midst of a playoff run with enough thrill to evoke a rise from a slice of Passover matzah. Or possibly, it is the circumstances surrounding my own life; that genuine excitement I feel from having just recently left my job to begin my pursuit of a career in sports journalism. Whatever the reasons may be, the bitter pill that is â€˜life without footballâ€™ seems tougher to swallow this time around and I am not exactly sure of what to do or how to handle it. That is of course, besides complainâ€¦
I know what you all are thinking, and youâ€™re right. If I, as I so desperately do, want the world of sports to become a vocation then I cannot afford to feel this way. After all, basketball and hockey are in full swing. NASCAR is back in action and baseballâ€™s opening day is right around the corner. Surely, there must be something worthy of my interest. I understand all of this, but even the most introspective of approaches has done little to subdue my autumn hangover.
Finding excitement these past few weeks has been no easy task. The highlight thus far has been my successful discovery of who Notre Dame Head Coach Charlie Weis resembles. The answer that has eluded me for the better part of a year finally emerged in the form of Roger Podactor from Ace Ventura! Please, someoneÂ tell me I am wrong on this one.)Yup, itâ€™s this type of inconsequential nonsense that has somehow found a way to excite me. Now, if I can only pinpoint the whereabouts of Jimmy Hoffa and solve the mystery of where Cameron Diazâ€™s rack from The Mask has been hiding for the past decade, the off-season may turn into a success after all!
Being as I doubt I am alone in this pursuit of athletic stimulation, I have decided to detail a few of my most recent attempts and see if I can lean on you folks for some ideas moving forward. Perfect, these attempts certainly are not. Desperate and amusing are probably more accurate terms. But hell, itâ€™s February and we could all use a laugh or two.
Here I am, slightly over a week into the â€œoff-seasonâ€? and I am already struggling to find my Monday night replacement. To fill the void I decided it would be best to settle on something intellectual and scholarly; something that really forces me to scratch my head and think. In other words, I went with the obvious choice, professional wrestling.
Yes, thatâ€™s right; I have mentally reverted back to 7th grade, and Iâ€™m loving every second of it. It amazes me that I have actually found a way to convince myself that the site of a 75 year old Ric Flair taking a steel chair to his sagging, flabby, artificially tanned back is entertaining. Wait a second. Now that I think about it, I donâ€™t know how I ever convinced myself it wasnâ€™t.
Donâ€™t get me wrong, I am not delusional enough to think this stuff is an actual sport, but anytime I have the chance to see Vince McMahon and Donald Trump square off in a match to determine who will shave their head clean bald, I will gladly pony up the $39.99.
This whole wrestling phase, while admittedly childish and ridiculous, reached itâ€™s comical tipping point this past week when my girlfriend(G-d bless her soul for putting up with me)finally reached wits end as my insistence on humming The Undertakerâ€™s theme song every time she switches off the lights became too much for her to handle. Maybe it was the humming, or perhaps it was my response of â€œparts unknownâ€? to her law colleagueâ€™s inquiry of where on Long Island Iâ€™m from. I guess Iâ€™ll never know. What I do know is that I was presented with an ultimatum. Either I give up my refusal of getting into bed before successfully being â€œtagged inâ€? or she walks.
Single life is going well so far.
Then there was this past weekend when I tried something different, the NFL combine. Miraculously I managed to convince myself that eight hours of 40 yards dashes, high jumps, and shuttle runs was in fact â€œcanâ€™t miss TV.â€? So much so that I actually Tivoâ€™d the entire first day. Wow! Thatâ€™s all I can say. I have watched bits and pieces of the combine in the past, but nothing to this extent. By days end, the most useful piece of information I deduced from the fiasco was that if television emerges with a man (or woman) who holds the ability of turning this crap into something interesting, the industry has found some real talent.
You can imagine the excitement I felt when Greg Olsen stole the show with a time of 4.45! For a second, the â€œastronomicalâ€? score he achieved without pads, defenders, or anything even remotely resembling an actual game helped me forget about my senior year at Miami where Mr. OlsenÂ defined whatever the opposite of â€œthe next great UM tight-endâ€? is. I believe the correct term is â€œbustâ€?, but I could be wrong here.
Seriously though, I do not mean to discredit the sure-fire system that is stopwatches, dumbbells and standing broad jumps. There have been plenty of times that I have witnessed a game decided by a playerâ€™s ability to run a twenty yard shuttle in under five seconds or smack a wind chime at itâ€™s highest point via a stationary vertical leap. Wait a second. No, no I havenâ€™t. But you could imagine if I hadâ€¦..
Point being, a necessary demonstration for the sport the combine may be, captivating television it most certainly is not.
I thought I had found a winner last night when my remoteâ€™s batteries died, leaving me stuck (and thus â€œbuckling my seat-beltâ€?) on a replay of the 2006 Arm-Wrestling World Championships. Forty-five testosterone filled minutes later the realization hit me; arm wrestling without the essential ingredients of Sylvester Stallone and a Van Halen soundtrack is a tremendously anti-climactic recipe. You can imagine the disappointment I felt when, rather than custody to his son and keys to an eighteen-wheeled big rig, the winner was awarded a mid-sized trophy and a yearâ€™s supply of Slim Jim. You mean to tell me that in real life contestants donâ€™t chug gasoline before competing?? (http://imdb.com/title/tt0093692)Â Unfortunately, I will have to take a pass on this one.
I am not sure where to go from here. As mid February hits and I realize just how strong a job the NFL does of holding my interest from week to week, the more dissuaded the notion of other sports has become.
College basketball makes a valiant attempt at holding my attention. Unfortunately, the collateral damage that results from the successful implementation of the greatest playoff system in all of sports has, in my mind, caused an elimination of all regular season importance. Until March, Iâ€™ll watch but I donâ€™t care.
Maybe if the NHL could produce a player capable of handling a press-conference without an interpreter or if the Knicks found a head coach whose most impressive qualities (aside from his Brooks Brothers collection) werenâ€™t mistakenly left behind in the eighties I may muster up some interest. But until then, all I can do is change the channels and hope to come across something worthy of killing time.
I know, I know. Things arenâ€™t that bad.Â Pitchers and catchers have reported.
You know what? Do me a favor and wake me when the other seven guys show upâ€¦..