It’s a Tuesday in the third week of July. You’re 12-years-old. You’ve played out your baseball season, took the annual family beach trip, and watched enough reruns of Yes Dear that you find yourself quoting Mike O’Malley.
So what are you going to do now with your abundance of free time?
This fall Roanoke area NFL fans may find themselves asking a similar questions if the league and Players Union fail to reach an agreement prior to the September 8th start date.
Last week fans were encouraged by the NFL releasing its official 2011 schedule. It was short lived though, as Wednesday it was learned the two groups were no closer to a handshake following their four days of court-ordered meetings and have no plans to meet again until May.
With the league’s popularity at an all time high – over 50-percent of the 2010 top-rated television being NFL contests – plenty of folks will have more than a little free time on their hands. So how will they fill this void?
The answers from southwest Virginia NFL fans were anything but clear cut.
“I’ll probably pay more attention to hockey,” Maine-transplant Tim Coyle answered. “I mean I always pay attention to it, but when it’s football season, it’s football season.”
Turning to another sport seems to be a pretty popular option. Baseball ends in October, the NHL and NBA pick up around Halloween, and of course for the gridiron die-hards the college football season will remain intact.
“There will still be football on Sundays, just maybe not the NFL” Allen Williams stated. He may be very right as the Pac-12 has already made it clear they are ready to bleed into Sunday should the NFL leave the day open and one would like other conferences would follow.
Others think they might become a participate rather than a spectator to fill this void.
Local golf courses would be the most likely benefactor of here, as most respondents indicated mixing in 18 holes on a Sunday would be a nice filler. A smaller number of folks declared they would spend their free time in other type of physical activities – going to the gym, hiking, etc. – but there was a slight New Year’s resolution-esque ring to their statements.
So what about folks whose livelihoods are in some way dependent on the league? What will they do?
Shaun Hoy, who pens the weekly fantasy football column for The Roanoke Times, knows one thing is certain. “I’ll do a lot less writing” he immediately responded when the topic rose, highlighting the formula: No NFL = No Fantasy Football = No need for advice on benching Terrel Owens.
Shaun’s not sure what he’ll do to fill the column’s gap. He toyed with the idea of a fantasy bowling column, but upon the acknowledgment Roy Munson and Jeffery Lebowski are not “real” bowlers the idea began to lose its steam.
Though the time-filling options varied, what didn’t was the initial response to the question. Disbelief.
Not a single person actually believed the NFL would sit out the 2011 season. In fact there’s a good chance the typical first response from fans would have been about the same if I’d have been inquiring about their plans for when aliens attack.
Clearly the situation’s urgency has yet to be fully embraced despite the very real possibility of NFL-less Sundays as little as five months away.
Maybe that’s why it took some folks a minutes to ponder what they would do. Maybe that’s why some of the responses seemed a little unlikely and perhaps, a little less than honest. Surely this will change if the two sides remain at odds as the season grows nearer.
If this is the case I expect far fewer people to go with the P90X option and far more to join up with the lady who responded that she would be devistated and to fill the time would “drink…. a lot.”
So what will you do if the 2011 NFL season never comes?