Professional football: Those two words are enough to get the attention of millions of people, avidly and unashamedly addicted — for better or worse — to watching the sport. Some people (and I count myself among them) become centered around the television screen (or actually go to the games) every Sunday (and Monday and the occasional odd off-day) of the professional football four-week preseason, the 17-week season, the three-week playoff series, and, of course, the Super Bowl. But there exists a chasm, a disconnect, a meaningless void to be suffered between the last playoff game and the biggest game of the year. There is a weekend where there is no professional football, leaving those millions of people directionless and at sea…
Nonsense. What in the world did all these people do between the Super Bowl and preseason football? They didn’t just mindlessly go off to work five days a week, come home a vegetate. Certainly their time wasn’t filled partially by watching Arena football, so they had to be doing something. Of course, if they’re avid sports fans, they some of the intervening time with college basketball, hockey, professional basketball, baseball, tennis, golf, and NASCAR events. But, if not, there must have been other activities to occupy their times other than an “I Love Lucy” marathon on TVLand.
Here’s an extremely abbreviated list of things the diehard football fan can while away some of the hours of the endless weekend that only stokes the overriding need that is football addiction. If they must…
Concerts. Find a concert in your town. What the heck — find two. There’s nothing like live music to get your blood flowing. If you have children, see if you can find a venue that you find acceptable to them as well.
Theatre. Take the family to the movies. Now, depending on the size of the family, this can be a pretty expensive outing. But you can cut your costs by eating before you go (I know, I know, but nothing tastes as good as movie popcorn), by going to a matinee, by not buying drinks (this saves missing vital minutes of the movie as well when you have to run to the restroom), and by finding an discount theatre in your area.
Dinner Theatre. (I seem to be stuck on theatre.) Taking the entire family on an outing to a dinner theatre can be a great experience. Some dinner theatres have an audience participation production. Not only do you get to go out to eat but you get live entertainment as well. Depending on the level of acting abilities of the troop and the quality of the production, this can be a lot of fun for everyone.
Home Theatre. (I am stuck on theatre.) Rent a bunch of movies that you haven’t seen and spend some family time catching up on what everybody else has been talking about for months. Pop your own popcorn. Buy a case of drinks that will last through several movies (and possibly days) and feel great that the case of drinks cost less than one small drink at the theatre down the street. Be considerate and don’t get all football movies, although this writer suggests “We Are Marshall” or “The Gridiron Gang” for those who cannot help themselves.
Go To A Comedy Club. This may only apply to adults, considering that most clubs will not allow minors into the clubs. Still, it gives the adults something fun to do and gives the children a night away from their football-infatuated, television controlling parent(s). If you plan it right, you can drop off the children at a theatre (there’s the theatre again) and see the comedic performance as well – a win-win.
Live Sporting Events. There are plenty of sporting events to attend, both local and national level, both amateur and professional. And the thrill of competition sports may be just what is needed to forget there’s no football this weekend.
Road Trip. Just jump in the family vehicle and head out. Go exploring. Grab a map and pick a blue highway (secondary roads) and see what’s around the bend. You might end up finding you live relatively near something or some place fascinating.
Board Games. You can kill a lot of time with board games, especially games like Scrabble, Pictionary, and Monopoly. You can get the entire family involved. If you have a large family, have tournaments. Watch out for the player that buys everything they land on the first couple trips around the board. Also, if you have a dartboard or billiards table, time can be consumed shooting these games as well.
Throw A “No Football Weekend” Party. Parties are a great way to knock off a weekend. Preparing and hosting a party can be time-consuming and a lot of fun. You can involve the entire family (or not). Make sure you get plenty of drinks and munchies, though. And if things get a little slow, move everybody into the living room to watch NFL highlights and your private stash of old Super Bowl VHS tapes.
Take A Mini-Vacation. Probably more expensive than many of the other activities, a vacation might be just what the doctor ordered for the football addict to forget about the absence of a football game. A flight to the beach, a trip to see a long lost friend or relative, a jaunt to check out an historic or national landmark is a great way to fill a couple of days. Hanging out at a dude ranch or renting a lake cottage to go fishing or canoeing are also excellent ideas.
These are just ten suggestions for football addicts. And these all presented themselves to this writer in a matter of minutes. There are surely hundreds, if not thousands more. All it takes is a little imagination and a willingness to make the effort.
So how will this writer get through the weekend? Reading a good book, writing a few articles like this one, watching college basketball, watching a couple movies, and keeping up with the political campaigns. Maybe not as exciting as any of the suggestions above, but they’ll get this writer through.