We are now one week removed from Super Bowl XLIV. What now?
Twenty-five years ago at this time, I would be in a rut. I might be watching some NCAA College Basketball, I was REALLY into Duke back then. The NBA could hold my interest for half a game or so. If it was an Olympic year, like this year, I would catch some of that as well. I rarely watched hockey, heck, it was rarely on TV anyway. I would not be all that interested in The Daytona 500, although I would watch a few laps and try to catch the end of the race next week. Perhaps a little PGA golf would make its way onto my set. And even though the Pittsburgh Pirates were going through a downslide, I would be paying attention through my local sports page (The Altoona Mirror). There were periods when some of my friends would rent a court and we would play a little hoops, but as far as spectating, I guess my main interest at that time would have been catching AAHS boys and girls basketball games as they neared post-season play.
Post Super Bowl RUT? YES
Twenty years ago was even worse. College and NBA basketball held about the same place in my heart. There was more hockey on the tube and Mario Lemieux finally was getting some help. The winter of 1990 was a prelude to the back to back Stanley Cups the Pens would win the next two seasons and this was the first time I really paid any attention to the NHL's regular season. It would be another five years before I developed any interest in NASCAR beyond the 'catching a few laps' mode. And even though the Pirates were playoff favorites during this time, I paid little attention to the off season. Even local high school sports held little interest for me during this period.
Post Super Bowl RUT? YES
Ten years ago, I began to find sporting events that grabbed me during the winter lull. I had finally started getting into NASCAR racing and looked forward to Daytona nearly as much as the Super Bowl. I finally had the internet, so this time of the year was full of paying attention to everything that was going on in MLB leading up to Spring Training. I watched every Duke basketball game that was on the air, which led me into watching more games of many varied teams. The NHL was in its own lull for me personally, Mario nearing the end and Sydney Crosby not even on my radar yet. But, I would begin to chart the NFL draft within a week of the Super Bowl. I watched quite a bit of golf and had somehow morphed into this guy who loved watching the Winter Olympics. My kids were getting to that age, and I was spending time watching and coaching my son play basketball in addition to taking him to local games. Truly, my children filled the void for the most part.
Post Super Bowl RUT? Yeah, I guess I still had it
Now I find myself in 2010. I have absolutely no interest in the NBA at all. College basketball does not hold my interest for long either. As I age, I find the lack of discipline and teamwork to be a shameful development in the sport. I still enjoy watching high school basketball when there is no "I" in "TEAM". I am paying some attention to everything leading up to Daytona, but it does not hold a place in my life or heart that it once did. Golf has become boring if they are not playing in a Major Tournament, so this time of the year is bland. I am no longer that guy who charts the NFL draft constantly, I'll wait until a week or so before the draft.
So WHAT DOES hold a former sports junkie's attention as I face middle age?
I am VERY into The Winter Olympics. For some reason I find the winter portion of 'The Games' to be more interesting than the The Summer Games. I love watching hockey now, and not just the Pens. As I age I find this game to be refreshing, I guess it's the fact that even though there are 'superstars', no team is successful without involving the WHOLE TEAM. I am watching what is going on in baseball, every team. And yes, I am the eternal optimist, hoping and praying that this is the year the Pirates break through and win at least 82 games. And lest we forget recruiting for NCAA football!
The thing is ...... I am soon turning 46 years old. I am remarried with six children between us. I have my work, and dreams of starting my own business. I find myself starting to plan where I would like to live when all the kids are self sufficient (Myrtle Beach, here I come). My priorities have changed. I still love sports, but there is just so much more to life. It took me all of this time and one failed marriage to learn this. If it sounds pitiful or stupid that it took me so many years to get to this point, please do not judge me. I have friends, and know of many others, who are so locked into sports that it takes precedence over everything else. I look outside of my home here in Central PA and see a driveway that badly needs attention after three feet of snow has fallen while I have been at work all week. There is college and high school issues concerning the kids to deal with. And I still need find time to make sure that my wife knows that she is the most important person in my world.
2/13/2010, Post Super Bowl RUT? I love the NFL & The Super Bowl, but I know that there will be another year (God willing), and football will return. I don't even miss it. So ......
In a rut? Well, yea. Snow, snow, snow and work, work work will do that to a man. But not because of sports. Please take my advice, if you ever find yourself in a rut because your favorite sports season has just ended, open your eyes and look around. The worst 'RUT' one can ever find themselves in is the type that isolates your world .... and as great as sports are, there is so much more out there.