I fought it as long as I could. But even I must admit, there is a void in my life. A vast wasteland of nothingness that is as gray and desolate as the surface of the moon (minus the dazzling view of Earth). Yes, I'm speaking of that annual three-fortnight span known as sports purgatory.
It's a term I first introduced you to in 2009, referring to the space between the end of football season and the beginning of March Madness. You may recall that in past years to try and fill the void, I resorted to things like becoming an avid curling fan and leading the Chicago Bulls to the 1992 NBA title.
This year, for the first couple of weeks, I actually thought I might sneak through without those familiar feelings of despondency and hollowness returning. Oh, foolhearted self!
At first, it was going OK. But eventually, the euphoric afterglow of another Bama national championship began to fade a bit. I mean, there's only so many times you can re-watch a game. (Currently, I'm at five.) And so, I found myself back where I always knew I'd be -- grasping at straws to once again try and fill the empty spaces.
How bad has it gotten? Well, I'm glad you asked.
This week was Alabama's pro day. For those of you who don't live-eat-sleep-and-breathe college football 366 days a year (it's a leap year), that is the day when players hoping to be drafted work out for NFL scouts and coaches. They're measured for things like vertical jump and 40-yard dash time.
So after reading every article I could find about how all the players did, I went out and ran a 5.3 40. I was pretty proud of my time, although the people at work were looking at me kinda funny when I was sprinting across the parking lot.
In other God-help-me-I-need-some-sports-in-my-life news:
I watched two NBA games. All the way through. And not even playoffs. Regular season games. How many games do they play anyway, like sixty?!?! And they're calling this a short season???
The other night I was bored, so I started shooting free throws on my Nerf goal. I sank 23 out of 25. It was probably my best sporting accomplishment in several years. (Actually, I can't blame this one on sports purgatory, as I'm apt to do this at any time throughout the year. And yes, I have a Nerf goal. In my living room. How old am I? Why do you ask?)
I've also gotten into The Voice. Me! I detest reality shows. Oh, and I'm pretty sure I've developed an unhealthy man-crush on Adam Levine. Like I want us to be friends and hang out. Just me and him though, no one else. I'd get jealous.
Tonight, I watched part of the Louisville-Cincinnati basketball game. Did I enjoy it? Not really. It's more of an IV drip just to keep me alive until March Madness, which cannot get here fast enough.
I couldn't wait. I filled out a bracket today. I don't even know who's playing yet. The brackets don't come out until Sunday evening. You think that's easy? This is what comes from living under purgatorial conditions. Besides, I figure I've probably picked North Carolina to make the Final Four seventeen out of the last twenty years, might as well go ahead and pick them again.
When assessing the effects this year's sports purgatory has had on my behavior, however, perhaps no single thing is more telling than this: I've actually gone out and done stuff a couple of times this week. With people!
I don't even know who I am anymore.
"If you're going through hell, keep on going. Don't slow down. If you're scared, don't show it. You might get out 'fore the devil even knows you're there..."