There is no greater time for a sports fan than the time between Labor Day and mid-February.
You have the MLB pennant races, playoffs and World Series. You have the College and Professional football seasons, bowl games and Superbowl. The NBA and NHL begin their seasons while NASCAR, golf and tennis finish theirs. It is almost a sports overload but most avid sporting fans will call it the best time of the year.
However we are entering the time of year some have dubbed “The Sports Dead Zone”. That time runs from the conclusion of the Superbowl/Daytona 500 until Opening Day of Baseball. There is no football talk other than free agent signings and pre-draft. Baseball is in spring training and the newness of that wears off pretty quickly. Hockey and Basketball are in their “mid-seasons” and doesn’t get exciting again until the playoff brackets start forming in late-March/early-April. The most excitement we have at this time is College basketball conference tournaments and March Madness.
But if you are the casual sports fan the College BBall Tourney only matters if you are in a pool. If your pool gets whacked and/or your alma mater bites the dust most people write March Madness off. The best ratings for the NCAA Tourney are the opening weekend (people tune in hoping for #13 thru #16 upsets) and the Final 4. Not too mention if you aren’t much of a gambler and don’t follow college sports you really don’t care period.
I am here to offer up a sort of “Survival Guide” for the sports fan that has to endure “The Dead Zone”. Here are a few of my suggestions.
#1 Quality TV. Lost, 24, Nip/Tuck, The Closer, Life on Mars, Heroes, Survivor, American Idol and Burn Notice have begun or are beginning new seasons (some in mid-season). I watch a few of these and a couple of other shows. If you haven’t checked out some of these shows do so. It will help pass the time.
#2 DVD Time. There are plenty of movies and TVseries that have come out and are coming out that you should check out. Dark Knight, Step Brothers, The House Bunny, Hancock, Kung Fu Panda, Get Smart, Indiana Jones, Ironman, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Deception and Harold and Kumar 2 are all worth renting. Whether it is stupid comedy, drama or action there are a lot of choices out there right now. Grab some popcorn, plop in the couch and enjoy.
#3 Nights Out. Now guys you didn’t think women wouldn’t notice this down time. Of course they notice and they are going to be on you like a fat kid on a cupcake. The best thing to do is take them out for good food and entertainment. However, don’t get suckered into the sushi, wine bar and art film black hole. If you fall into this your friends may take your man card. It depends where you live obviously but in KC how about some prime rib or baby back at Jack Stack, a few drinks over at the Power and Light Station and finish off with some smooth Jazz at Jardines. Chicago guys! How about taking the lady for some steak and seafood at Smith and Wollensky followed by some drinks at the Redhead Piano Bar. Tampa Bay guys should grab the lady and hit an early dinner at Aquaknox followed by some bar hopping in Ybor City. Some recommendations there might be taking the woman for some drinks and good music at Caribe, walk to one of the many cigar shops in Ybor, get a smooth Dominican and finish it off with a martini at Lit Cigar Lounge. And, if your night continues to go well, head over to the Redington Beaches for a sunset stroll and “Grunion Run”. Gentlemen there are plenty of ways to show our ladies we care this time of year. Trust me, put forth the effort now and it you’ll be good to go well into baseball season. 😉
#4 Family Time. Now if you’re lucky like me most of the birthdays and other events like anniversaries fall in this time period. Let’s face it. Nothing is worse than the lady making plans for the both of you to go to your niece’s 4th birthday the same day the Yankees and Red Sox open a 3 game set in Fenway. Bite the bullet now guys. Spend as much time with your woman and her family for the next 10 weeks. Go out to dinners, offer to have them over and bestow upon them gifts. Now some days you will never get out of like Mother’s Day, Easter and significant birthdays, but with proper planning you can lessen the committment you would otherwise have to make during our sports “In-Season”. Offer to get married on Valentines Day. You will appear to be the romantic but you are at the height of “The Dead Zone”. Having an anniversary the same weekend as the NFL Draft, an important baseball series or the beginning of the NFL season can put undo stress on the marriage. Another helpful hint is when the woman wants to start a family hem and haw until June/July and then start having mad, crazy sex with her. This will guarantee a Feb/March birth, thus keeping you free around “Sports Time”. WARNING: Do not engage in careless sex during “The Dead Zone” period. You run the risk of an Oct/Nov birth thus conflicting with events like the World Series and Thanksgiving football. Don’t be silly, wrap your willy.
#5 Vacation Time. It is very tempting for your significant other to encourage summer vacations because the kids are out of school. I do not recommend this course of action. Do you really want to be stuck on some beach when the White Sox play the Cubs? Do you really want to be playing with your kids in a pool during the final round of the British Open? Of course not. You have two options here guys. You have a very small window during Christmas break when the sports world is relatively idol. It is usually week 17 of the NFL so if you know your teams have their spot sewn up you can make it a holiday vacation for the family. However, most playoff spots were up for grabs going into the last week. If this is the case and your teams will be battling into the final week use your best judgement and wait until “Dead Zone” time. Most kids spring breaks are during this time so things should work out. Most government checks/rebates etc. come back to us around this time too (for early filers) so what a perfect time to wisk the wife and kids away somewhere nice. Florida is nice this time of year as is Arizona. Do you get where I am going with this? That’s right, Spring Training. Like an Alzheimer’s patient you will forget that the Boston Red Sox play ball in Fort Myers during this time. Ooooops, is that the Cleveland Indians bus outside their Winter Haven facility? You are in! Do the family stuff and then say, “Honey, you chill out by the pool and I’ll take little Billy to a ball game.” Bonus sports is never a bad thing if you plan it out just right.
In conclusion, this is our time to shine to the most important people in our lives. Be smart about it and use your time wisely. “The Dead Zone” only lasts about 10 weeks so take advantage, rest up, catch up and prepare for the seasons ahead.