Gilbert: Survival guide to living without football Survival guide to living without football

By By Jon Gilbert

By Jon Gilbert

As Eli Manning took the knee that officially ended the Super Bowl, I realized that not only had I just seen one of the best games of the 2007-2008 football season, but I had also seen the last.

Panic immediately set in.

My palms began to sweat. My heart raced. Somewhere in the blur of reality that consumed me, I found a paper bag and began to breathe into it, regaining my composure.

Then, my buddy tried to console me by reminding me that baseball season was right around the corner.

Noooooooo!

I began sobbing in between breaths into the bag. Is this my only hope? Baseball? My screams to the darkened sky were heavy with curses directed at the football gods.

I have no memory of the rest of Sunday evening.

I woke up Monday morning to go to class as usual. I lifted my head from my tear-soaked pillow and rose from my bed, not sure how I had gotten there. On my way to the bathroom, I tripped over an empty bottle of bottom-shelf whiskey that I had apparently made my bedmate the previous night.

While I spooned my Honey Nut Cheerios, my swollen, red eyes welled up again as SportsCenter recapped the Giants’ shocking win.

Football is over. For the next seven months, we diehard football fans will not be complete human beings, but we must find resolve to last until next season.

After several hours of on-and-off weeping, I built a small fire in my backyard fueled by my 2007-2008 preseason football guides and allowed macabre devastation to sink in.

Somewhere along the way, I realized that the only reason the hurt is so bad is because the good is so, so good.

That’s why I have constructed a survival guide for the football off-season. We must persevere to see next year. Every fan grieves differently, so this guide is open to adaptation.

The draft

The week after the Super Bowl is reserved for restating the magnitude of New York’s win. The unsatisfying Pro Bowl will help ease the pain some. But once that week ends, the first major football drought will commence.

Circle April 26 on your calendar. That will be the next real day of meaningful football activity. Consume time in the weeks approaching the NFL Draft by scouting prospects and speculating how they would fill your team’s needs. Then, figure out how your team’s front office is going to wind up with three first-round picks by expending the backup long-snapper and a special teams standout.

Then, watch your team use the draft to “add depth” to a position completely stacked and entirely ignore every need.

Spring ball

For all you college fans, there’s not much going on. You have the next few days to celebrate or blaspheme the respective successes and failures of signing day. But after that, it’s a long and broken road.

Distract yourself with March Madness. That will get you through one month. Then April and May will bring you the heralded Spring Ball that totes with it the first fresh football highlights in more than two months!

Arena football

Beginning in March, you will occasionally channel surf your way to something that slightly resembles football. The scores will be high. The field will look rather short. The crowds will seem a tad over-enthused, and the game will utilize nets.

This mystery game is called arena football.

You should NEVER plan to watch one of these games. However, if you happen to stumble across one and have time to kill, you are permitted to watch.

Slow and steady wins the race

The biggest key to surviving until August is to pace yourself. Take it easy on the Madden-gameplay. Watch some basketball. Read a Knute Rockne biography. Don’t check for new articles about football everyday. Allow your favorite websites to accumulate a stockpile before you visit them. This will displace some disappointment.

No matter how you do it, you must survive. We all must. The only way to regain true happiness is to make it to next season. As the saying goes, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

I guess the sooner baseball season starts, the sooner football does as well.

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