It is a dark time for the Rebellion. Well, so maybe I’m not the Rebellion, but still, it is a dark time. The holiday fun times are finally in the past, leaving us with nothing but weeks and weeks of gloomy frozen winter that becomes more irksome every year. The Cincinnati Bengals’ 2010 season is official over, and other than the game the Puddinpop and I attended, it was the very definition of disappointment. I’m not getting the bad taste it left out of my mouth until baseball starts. And therein lies the problem. We’ve entered the No Man’s Land of major sports, the period when football no longer has anything compelling to offer (me) and baseball is but a promise six weeks away.
Yes, sure, there’s technically still football to be played; I’ll watch the next few weeks of playoffs listlessly and will find some tenuous reason to cheer for one of the two teams playing in the Big Game. But candidly, I’ll hate them both and all their fans because it’s not my team out there. I’m simply not a big enough man to overcome my NFL Team Envy. So, in the end, I’ll really be cheering for the commercials to win.
Luckily, they usually do.
I do realize that I’m being perhaps a wee smidgen dismissive. There are, after all, the winter sports, hockey and basketball. In fact, don’t I play hockey? Isn’t that something to which I might fasten my attention? Well, yes and no. First off, I play theoretical hockey, which is like theoretical physics in that you know what it’s supposed to be because someone told you, but in reality it doesn’t actually resemble anything you’d likely recognize. That said, yes, I would enjoy watching hockey in the winter, but for some reason NHL games are only aired on Versus on Monday and Tuesday nights, often at 7:30. Mondays and Tuesdays are the most frantic nights around here; those games are over long before I’m even thinking about my recliner.
If the NHL wants me to sign on, they’re going to have to find a way to make the weeknight games a bit more accessible.
Well, then, what about basketball, you say? Well, look, here’s the thing: nobody really likes the NBA except for celebrities who want to get caught on camera “by chance”, you know, after their agent arranges it with the network. Admittedly, though, I do live right smack in the center of some class-A college basketball geography. UK, UC, Xavier, Louisville, Indiana, Purdue, and even OSU (I never said that), are all within a few hours of where I’m sitting right now. Indeed, this is the heartland of NCAA hoops.
My problem is that I’m just not into basketball.
The thing is, everyone
plays basketball when they’re kids. It’s the most readily accessible of any sport outside of Freeze-Tag and King of the Hill. All you need is a roundish hoop and a ball that’s at least as inflated as Rush Limbaugh. So it’s obviously pretty popular, which also means that most of the kids in any given neighborhood are at least moderately skilled at it. But my skills, you see, are geared more towards finding an F3 blindly on a keyboard than sinking a jumper from the 3-point line. On top of that, I’ve always been a bit, um, stout. If that comes as a surprise to you, perhaps you might want to consider what type of person is most likely to earn the nickname “Puddin”. Between you and me, it’s probably a guy with some experience in “husky” jeans
Now, obviously, that doesn’t mean I was doomed to permanent failure at basketball. But when you have the same 2-inch vertical leap as the old guy from the Quaker Oats commercials, odds are you’re looking at a pretty significant barrier to entry. That tends to kind of color one’s view of any game.
So, here we are, with winter upon us, and I’ve got no sport in which to invest myself. I suppose that leaves only one option: I’ll just have to read my way to spring. I like books, and surely there will be plenty of great stuff to pick up between now and whenever that damned groundhog chooses to release us.
It is a dark time, a dark time indeed.