Curing Those Summertime Blues

So, we're about to hit that period in college sports that the most rabid fans call 'hell,' or what normal people simply refer to as summertime. It's quite a case of either/or being fitting, isn't it?

From September to June, there's always something big going on in college sports to maintain our interest. From then (or late August) to January, there's football, from the start of fall practice to the national championship game (and hey, I'm calling it by its new actual name). After the season is over, for the recruiting buffs, there's the stretch run of the recruiting season. By signing day in early February, basketball season is in full swing, and it goes on until April. By the time March (and early-April Madness) is done, college baseball season is well underway, and conference play is a few weeks deep. With regionals, super regionals, and the College World Series, baseball occupies us until the end of June.

Apologies to hockey, softball, tennis, track, swimming, and lacrosse, but the big three, well, they're the big three for a reason. But, according to ESPN (or their programming schedule, upon which my blame is squarely placed upon, because well, because I can), college softball (oh, and Strongman, poker, and Viking obstacle course shows) are more interesting and popular to watch. True enough, it is rather amusing to see people lift 500, 600, 700 pound objects or watch nutty Japanese men battle various outlandish obstacles, I'd much rather watch Alabama State get spanked by that veritable MEAC powerhouse Bethune-Cookman on my Tuesday nights.

Enjoy college baseball, all of it. 'Cause until two-a-days start, you'll have to sustain yourselves with tapes, DVDs, and ESPN Classic airings of lots of old games. I don't know about you, but I know that there's just so much I can take of seeing the same reruns of games that I've seen 38 times before. Show that 1966 Notre Dame-Michigan State 'Game of the Century' a few more times, and I'll be able to do Bud Wilkinson's entire commentary word for word. I'd like to see some games that I have a little more interest in (2000 Independence Bowl, perhaps?).

Never fear though, I have a few suggestions, some sports-related, some non-sports related, that will help make the next few months go by just a little easier.

1) There is the MLB season to follow. And contrary to what it may seem, due to overwhelming saturation and exaggeration, there is more to baseball than just Barry Bonds, steroids, and the New York Yankees.

There's Albert Pujols and his quest to rewrite the record books (well, that's now been derailed by at least 15 days). Of course, along with his power-hitting exploits, and now his propensity for injuries, those steroid rumors are not far away. There's the Detroit Tigers and their return from the abyss to the top of the heap in the American League.

Yes, in case you've been under a rock for a few months, or if you don't have ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN360, or ESPN Deportes, the Tigers are winning (but, the Royals are still terrible, very, very terrible, and they will be for a while). There's a ton of overpaid, overhyped, underachieving players to get bitter towards. A little something for everyone.

And, if you're not much of a baseball fan, there's auto racing and the WNBA season, to name a few other sports to whet your appetite. I'm a little anxious to see that Tony Stewart-Matt Kenseth brawl when it finally goes down after Stewart spins Kenseth out again at Daytona. I'll take $20 on the pudgy Home Depot man, with little Jeff Gordon coming in and pushing Kenseth before unleashing a few knocks on Stewart himself (not in the stomach though, he won't feel a thing). While I'm at it, I'll also take a wager on Kurt Busch getting into it with the authorities at least one more time before the season's over.

Now, moving on.

2) Buy up every preview magazine, read every online preview, check, double check, and triple check the bios, high school stats, and favorite foods, musicians, and pet peeves of every player on the team, down to the third-string long snapper. Why we need so many guys to snap one ball befuddles me just a tad, but hey, our first two guys might get kicked in the hand or get their snapping hand stepped on and broken, so when we have to kick that last-second field goal to beat #1 West Virginia in October, just make sure you know the snapper's name so you can thank him. It all hinges on the snap, not the hold or the kick. If the snap flies 15 feet over the holder's head, you can rethink tearing down the goalposts.

Enough of that wishful thinking though. I had a point that I was trying to make before I hit that detour. Just get prepared, prepared, and over-prepared so that by the time the South Carolina game kicks off, your mind will be so off-kilter (aided by a few beers and some iffy barbecue) that you promptly pass out and miss all four of Mike Henig's touchdowns. Lucky for you, there's TiVo. [Just to let you know in advance, at least one of them will be rushing.]

3) Take up or get back to an old hobby. Fishing, for example. Or, since it's summer, how about rekindling your love for gardening? Or being married, maybe. 'Cause you know you'll be dead to the world during football season, so don't neglect your fishing rod. Oh, and the wife too (and for the female fans, your husbands).

And if you have a job, do it well, because your boss happens to be an Ole Miss or 'Bama fan, he will be a little more inclined to want to look at you for that promotion before the season starts. Or, if you've been a lackluster worker, perform your best and then some, just so he won't have a legitimate reason to can you when we take his team behind the woodshed, and you gloat about it on the Monday afterwards.

But, honestly, repainting your boss' car maroon is not a good idea, no matter how funny, creative, or appealing it may seem to be. But, nothing says good prank like a can of maroon paint. Okay, I don't need to be giving anyone those kinds of ideas. I'm supposed to be preventing, not aiding criminal activity.

Well, hopefully I've provided you with some helpful ideas to make your summer more bearable.

Now, if you will excuse me, I still have to get to the rest of the depth chart. I know that Jeramie Johnson likes making big INTs, that Bryson Davis is one of the best fullbacks in the SEC, and that Omarr Conner has a great pair of hands, but I'm still trying to find out what their favorite fruits are.

Oranges, anyone? [Wishing thinking, wishful thinking, I know, but we can dream, right?]

Eddie Griffin, a freelance writer who does monthly opinion columns for the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by website, can be reached at .

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