Freedom!

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It’s our final weekend without the NFL.

It seems so long ago that we started this little exercise, checking in with everyone and seeing how they were doing without football. At first we were happy with the freedom, then came all the work that has to be done when one is not watching football. A couple of us moved, a few of us went on big trips, one of us got married, another one of us had a baby.

All of us had endless amounts of chores to do burn through before football could start. I’m not even close to having all my “to do before the season starts” list completed, and I thought about cramming it all in this last weekend. But then I went out and had drinks with Ape while he was in town for work last night, told a friend I’d go to his poetry reading this evening and made Sunday brunch plans with an old pal who will be back in LA over the holiday weekend with his new girl. I want to have as much fun as I can with this last weekend without football. I want to sleep in and not worry about my fantasy picks at nine o’clock in the morning.

Because as of next week, everything else has to wait until after football.

Old James:

You ever stop to think that maybe it isn’t worth it? That there are other, happier, more productive things to do with your free time? Perhaps the deep, cavernous recesses of your mind — you know, those spots crammed full with suppressed rage from playoff losses or failed fantasy picks of yore — might be better served if you traded up for a different hobby? Say, reading? Photography? Hiking? Maybe just hoping in the car on Sunday afternoon, and driving until you forget what you were even leaving in the first place?

The odds aren’t good, are they football? I’ve never seen my team win a Super Bowl. I’ve also never woken up with a third testicle. I’ve also been told I’m bad at analogies. And math. But it seems to me that watching football is a fool’s errand, and I’m trying to run up a water slide with sandwich bags on my feet. Maybe it’s time to reconsider my priorities? Could a life without football be a life more fulfilled?

/Remembers trying to flip over to Runaway Bride last Sunday night on a channel he doesn’t actually get

Fuck that.

Welcome home, football. You know where I live. The key’s under the mat, and I’m gonna go slip into something a little more comfortable.

Unsilent:

I just came home to find my wife watching a college game in standard definition. She never watches college football. So yes, we are jonesing for the real thing. Having a baby is a great distraction. He’s starting to sleep through the night and eating solid foods. When he’s awake he’s all smiles and giggles. I still haven’t put him in a Redskins onesie, and I’m not sure that I ever will. Hopefully that means my wife won’t put him in Giants gear. I think I’d take that trade.

We should spend our last non-NFL weekend of the season cleaning out the house, but I’ll probably just watch a lot of soccer.

Matt Ufford:

Football season is here, and I’m not ready. I need an extension on summer.

That’s heresy, I know. To be clear: I am emotionally ready for football. I’m excited to be a fan of the defending Super Bowl champion for the first time in my life; I’m even cautiously optimistic about this year’s team. But my body and mind are in no shape for the five-month grind ahead.

My wife is a teacher, so summer is a time when the slow season of sports aligns with her not working. It’s a restful time before the rush of football season and the school year. Except this summer wasn’t restful. We moved to a new apartment. The World Cup leeched a month where I should have been unpacking boxes, and business trips stole weekends I should have been building IKEA furniture (I was, in honesty, grateful for that at the time). We visited family, family visited us, and then it was August and I was putting together fantasy rankings and stepping in front of a camera to boldly state things about Sammy Watkins that I couldn’t back up with evidence.

So it’s selfish and unrealistic, but I kinda want 10 days to lie on a beach and read unchallenging science fiction paperbacks. Fall asleep in a cabana, windows open to the sound of waves lapping at the sand. Leisurely mornings of black coffee and fresh pineapple, blissfully unaware of Ferguson and Gaza and Ukraine and ISIS and all the other shit that went to shit this summer. I want the whole fucking planet to be quiet while I soak in the sun and think about nothing.

Instead, football. It is not what I need, but as soon as it’s here it will be what I want. I’ll hold it close all autumn, revel in the grace and violence of it. And occasionally, as opponents drive against the Seahawks in CenturyLink, I’ll close my eyes, listen to the crowd noise, and pretend I have a conch shell to my ear, someplace warm and sandy.

RappBeach

David Rappoccio


David Rappoccio

So in my continuing quest to go outside before football comes back and turns me into a sedentary mess I recently took a road trip of the Oregon coast with my girlfriend. We drove down to Crescent City California, saw the Redwoods, drove through a tree like a filthy tourist, and just slowly made our way north along HW 101. We stopped as often as we could to see beaches and hike large rock formations, and to tour at least 7 lighthouses. The coast is beautiful up here and largely devoid of crowds, so if you are the explorer type who doesn’t care about swimming (the water is too cold) and would rather climb big rocks and explore sea caves than I would highly recommend it. Just do it soon before the incoming megaquake decides to wipe the whole thing out.

Trevor Risk:

In the final weeks before football, I’ve spent my time doing what I usually do (and have outlined here before): drinking, working, going to the gym, being nice to wife, watching Samantha Stevens. One thing keeps happening though, and although I’m sure it’s a coincidence, it’s worth noting here.

My city doesn’t have a large sports fan contingent, unless you count fair-weather Canucks fans (also known as “Canucks fans”), which I try to ignore. You don’t see too many jerseys or other paraphernalia around too often, unless it’s in that fresh, hip hop, “This is a Twins hat? Where do they play?” kind of fashion way. In the last two weeks, I’ve seen more NFL jerseys than I have in years. The thing is, they’re all being sported by criminals. You see, I live in the poorest neighbourhood in the country, and am privy to some interesting scenery on an almost daily basis (looking at you, guys who are constantly picking up prostitutes in Car2Gos). I’m beginning to wonder if there’s an underground, throwback, flea market on the east side somewhere that’s hidden from the rest of us hoi polloi.

First, I saw a guy in a Vikings Michael Bennett (the running back) jersey run out of a 7-11 being chased by a security guard. Looked like he was stealing chocolate or something, which is popular amongst heroin addicts. Thought to myself “Huh. I remember that guy being serviceable on a terrible Chiefs team.” Two days later, saw a guy in a Tomlinson jersey steal a bike. I remembered him breaking Priest Holmes’ single season mark, and shrugged, as is a natural Chiefs fan reaction to anything since Interview With The Vampire was big in theatres. But then later that day I saw Cardinals QB Jake Plummer smoking crack and, my favourite of all of these, Sebastian Janikowski kick over a newspaper box, and yes, with his left foot. Thought it was over but just the other day I saw a Trent Green wander into traffic.

Spilly:

I’m spending the weekend bouncing between a close family member’s wedding rehearsal/dinner and the start of college football. I know we all have DEEPLY HELD BELIEFS about fall weddings, but having a Labor Day weekend Sunday wedding is really the best of all possible worlds. It’s a 3 day weekend, so people don’t have to haul ass on Friday night driving to the site, and there’s still that crucial recuperation day afterwards. Plus, college football purists will bitch less, because the games happen on Saturday when you can sneak out of whatever preparatory activities remain and watch them on TV. I’ll personally be baking in the Heinz Field seats to watch the mighty Pittsburgh Panthers in the Elite Joe Flacco Bowl against Delaware. After that, it’s back for the ceremonies and then a Monday of quiet rehabilitation. Preferably in a dark room. Without any sudden, painful loud noises.

RobotsFightingDinosaurs:

It’s getting dire. I can’t fucking wait for the season to start. The offseason has been so long. And so terrible. And not even my normal refuge of reading college football news about my favorite team was enough to get me through it. Oh, what’s that? Our star running back is transferring? Oh, our #1 receiver is out for the year? Oh, so is one of our top defenders? Good. Hold on please while I jump into fucking Lake Michigan and wait for the toxic waste in the lake to eat away at my vital organs until I die.

But then I remember. I remember that we’re so close. So close to the start of football. Real football. Hell, I don’t even care if the Bears suck this year. Sundays have been gray and empty. The world has gone to shit since football stopped. This summer has objectively, on a global scale, sucked. There are like, 5 concurrent world crises going on at the moment. But if we can just hold on a little bit longer, just for another couple of days, we can put all of that behind us.

Is it naive to think that all the world’s problems will end because come next week, everyone will be inside watching football? Maybe. But hell, at least when the game’s on, I don’t feel bad when I don’t pay attention to them.