One of the terms I picked up when I was watching the Daytona 500 was “silly season.” It refers to the period between the last important race of one season and the first important race of the next season. It is the time that all the behind-the-scenes wrangling goes on. Teams are altered, coaches dumped, rookies brought in. It is a term that applies to almost every sport.
The NFL has been hibernating for some time now, but the NFL draft is mere weeks away. If you want to see a sports fan at their lowest, watch them during the first round of the NFL draft. In what would be a slave auction in 1790s Virginia(excluding the quarterbacks and the Armani suits on the players), a succession of hulking men amble up to the podium as their playing rights are selected by various teams. Of course, no slave ever signed for $20 million, so I may need to switch metaphors before I send this baby off to the presses.
A lot of women who know nothing about sports come to this column. They come to me either by word-of-mouth, by accident, or by me leaving a link in a Mom journal. Many ask me to make sense of certain sports-related things that go on at their homes. One girl just left a note about her husband, who was putting up a Babe Ruth shrine. I get these people a lot. I actually want to have their attention for a minute.
DO NOT AGREE TO LET HIM WATCH THE NFL DRAFT!
Even with the big letters, that is more of a guideline than a rule. Here is why I mention it…the first round of the NFL draft will take about a full afternoon to conduct. There are 30 or so teams, and while they are each given 15 minutes to make their selections (of which they have been thinking about for months)….I think they don’t start the clock for each pick till a guy named Mel Kiper Jr. finishes talking….and this boy can just go on and on.
Of course, you can let him watch it if you have stuff you want to do. In which case, you could be having sex with the Domino’s delivery guy on the front lawn and he wouldn’t even notice. But if your plans are less sordid, you can count on 2 hours (or 6, if your local team played well last year, earning a later spot in the first round) of free time before he even begins to wonder why you haven’t interrupted him since lunch.
I leave this to your discretion. If you are somehow trapped and forced to watch the draft, here’s a few things you should know:
- Mel Kiper Jr. is the guy who is supposed to know everything about everyone who is being drafted. Mel has no real experience in this field, and many NFL types openly scoff at his logic. Either way…when he starts talking, you may want to pick up a book.
- A “war room” is where all the football guys sit and discuss the merits of this particular giant kid against that giant kid. Football, which is a majestically violent sport, is chock full of war analogies. “Blitz,” “Bomb,” “Sack,” and so forth. Even the plays look like little battle plans… which they essentially are.
- Don’t perk up when they say “Detroit is now on the clock.” The team won’t be picking for 15 minutes. Drafting strategy involves sitting for 14 minutes waiting to see if someone comes out of nowhere with a trade offer that they simply can’t refuse.
- If you’re looking for Cuteness, watch the 300 pound kids try to look cool while the surrounding mothers/sisters/girlfriends weep and act like Price is Right winners as they are drafted to teams that will pay them millions.
The basketball universe is in a Silly Season of its’ own. The NCAA tournament is over,which means no more Dick Vitale. The playoffsfor the pros are a few weeks away. A lot of teams are mathematically eliminated, and they know it. Teams are playing rookies, starting different guys, and seeing if benchwarmers can actually play.
If you’re looking for a visual representation of the word “desolate,” go to a Toronto Raptors/Atlanta Hawks game in mid-April. Other than the possibility of seeing Skip To My Lou go after his coach, you could better waste a Saturday afternoon watching the Major League Soccer draft.
Hockey is not happening this year, and baseball has only just begun. The Boys of Summer look a little stupid out there while there’s still a chance of snow, but they are trying to squeeze every possible dollar out of the teams. Baseball players that don’t do roids take a few weeks to whip themselves into shape…. So you may see some bad baseball until May.
So…. sports watching options are limited in April. Bad hoops, worse baseball, and a 19 hour football draft…. Yikes. The sad part….they don’t put this part of the Sports Season in August, when you could at least get some outdoor time.