Every single year, I do the same thing. I sit around the entire month of March, exhausted, overwhelmed and secretly waiting for college basketball season to end. It’s not that I don’t love the sport (I love it as much as anything on this planet not named “Mila Kunis”), but when you write about college football and college basketball like I do, by mid-March, you’re just burned out. You just want to be able to relax on a Saturday afternoon, go to bed early on a weeknight, or heck, maybe even just read a book. If anything, you really just want to shut your brain off for a while and do anything other talk about, think about or write about sports. I’m not complaining, because I love what I do. But by mid-March I am drained.
So secretly, I wait for college basketball to be done, half-excited to have free time, half-depressed that the season is over… and then one day, poof, it’s done. Season over. Cut down the nets. Cue ‘One Shining Moment.’ And voilà, my workload decreases exponentially. All the anxiety and exhaustion of the last few months disappears, and is instead replaced by a new reality: What the heck am I going to do until September?
As I’ve said many times, of all the sports, college football and college basketball are far and away my favorite two. Sure, I’ll watch the NBA Playoffs or MLB regular season, and even flip on tennis or golf. But I don’t follow them like I do college hoops and football. In those sports, I’m a writer, a columnist, someone who tries to have opinions on everything. In the NBA, golf and baseball? Most of my thoughts boil down to sure “Hmm, C.C. Sabathia sure looks fatter than he did last year” or “Gee, I wonder if Tiger Woods is back to hanging out with those Olive Garden waitresses again.” Again, I like those sports. I wouldn’t say I love them though.
Which is why at this time last year I decided I needed to make a change. I couldn’t be sad that college basketball was over, but instead needed to embrace my newfound free time. That’s why a week after the Final Four, I decided to write down the things I wanted to accomplish in the off-season, a “Spring Cleaning” list if you will.
Some of the goals were absurd, some unrealistic, and some actually happened, as effortlessly as an Anthony Davis blocked shot into the fifth row of the stands. The point is though, that I did have a list, and it gave me the structure I needed in the off-season.
So what’s on my off-season to-do list in 2012?
Let’s take a look.
1. Go for a walk. Seriously, fresh air won’t kill you, dude.
2. Provide consultation to Ozzie Guillen’s PR team.
3. Try out for the Florida football team. Based on the report released yesterday, it sure does seem fun to play football down there.
4. Make sure that whatever happens, your Wonderlic score isn’t released to the public.
5. Grow a unibrow. Apparently, that’s all the rage these days.
6. Grow out a flat-top. I suspect that’s the next big fashion trend.
7. Go ahead and donate your “Lin-sanity” t-shirts, headbands, socks and underwear to charity (well, maybe not the underwear). You probably won’t be getting much use out of them going forward.
8. See “American Reunion.”
9. Whatever you do, don’t see “Three Stooges.” You’ll never get that hour and a half of your life back.
10. Take a vacation. Try to return without any incurable diseases.
11. Go on a diet before the vacation. Have you looked in the mirror lately, you slob?
12. Stop taking four “cheat days” a week on your new diet.
13. Create some trendy, chic photo service. Immediately sell to Facebook for a billion dollars.
14. Call up Jimmy Buffet and ask him where to get one of those snazzy “Free Sean Payton” t-shirts.
15. Try to free Sean Payton. If you can’t, offer to let him cut your lawn to help pay the bills.
16. Whatever you do, don’t tell Gregg Williams about those two knee surgeries you had.
17. Declare for the NBA Draft. Why not? Everyone else is doing it.
18. Take advantage of free MLB TV for the next week. It won’t last, and…what, you thought I was actually going to pay to watch baseball on TV?
19. Get ready for the NBA Playoffs. Be sure to remind yourself that the Atlanta Hawks are actually a real team.
20. See if you can earn a scholarship to play basketball at Mississippi State. At this point, they might not have enough players to field a team next winter. Speaking of which…
21. Help Renardo Sidney apply for his passport. He probably can’t find Bulgaria on a map right now, but I suspect he’ll have to in two or three months.
23. Sleep-in one day. You haven’t done it in years, and well, you deserve it, ya big lug!
24. Bubba Watson, yeah… that guy’s, umm, awesome. (//Do you think they could tell that you didn’t watch the Masters??//)
25. Hit up at least one new Major League ball park before the end of the summer.
26. Discuss Bobby Knight in casual conversation. Don’t ever actually mention Bobby Knight by his first name.
27. This whole “Mad Men” thing? Yeah, maybe it’s finally time to check that out.
28. Same with “The Hunger Games.” Seriously, what is that, Rachael Ray’s new cooking show or something? I’m confused.
29. Offer my services as a back-up power forward to John Calipari. On the off-chance he misses on a few recruits, he might need some extra bodies.
30. Get a pedicure. Again, you deserve it! Besides, no one likes ugly feet.
31. Throw Warren Sapp a few bucks. The man’s gotta eat!
32. Hit up Magic Johnson for a few bucks. That guy is practically printing his own money at this point.
33. Watch this Kate Upton video. Then watch it again. And again.
What do you want from me? I’m a dude.
34. Bryce Harper. That poor boy just needs a friend.
35. Plan my trip to next year’s Final Four. After the stories I heard from New Orleans this year, there’s no way I’m missing another one.
36. Petition the NCAA to have next year’s Final Four return to New Orleans. Throw a fit like a six-year-old girl at the toy store until they change their minds.
37. Finally try the Doritos Locos Taco. I’m pretty sure you’re the only person in America without an opinion on it at this point.
38. Hit up a Mets game. Just kidding!
39. That new Batman movie coming out? Yeah, might as well start planning to see it right now.
40. “Khloe and Lamar?” This season is only STARTING to get good!
41. Speaking of which, go find Lamar Odom and give that poor man a hug.
42. DVR your new favorite TV show: “The Pauly D Project.”
43. Set up the Baylor basketball coaches with your guy at Verizon. Because obviously, whatever cell phone plan they’ve got just ain’t cutting it.
44. Vacuum and clean out your car. That thing has more fast food wrappers in it than a mall dumpster.
45. Take the dog for a walk. Considering that you’ve basically ignored him since September, the little guy deserves some attention.
46. Help Isiah Thomas update his resume.
47. When Bobby Petrino offers you a motorcycle ride, remember to always “Just say no.”
48. Never again date an ex-volleyball player. They’re all heartbreakers.
49. Get a little sun. Seriously, you look terrible dude.
50. Relax! It’s the off-season!
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