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Canceled pro sports seasons don’t have to be

July 4, 2011
Steve Brownlee , The Mining Journal

Let's all step back a minute and take a deep breath.

This is a good day to do it, too, on the Fourth of July.

Hopefully you have no responsibilities today other than checking on your local holiday activities.

You've unwound this morning knowing you may not have to work today, or maybe tomorrow either, or possibly even the rest of this week.

So let me bring up a subject that may set you on edge.

We've now got TWO major professional sports lockouts, in the NFL and now NBA, which all but those of you living under that rock in the Geico commercial know about.

Again, let's take a deep breath. I'd like to propose another way to look at this situation - whether you call it an annoyance or a catastrophe or something in-between.

What if there was a law that said each of these sports - Major League baseball, the National Football League, National Basketball Association and National Hockey League - was REQUIRED to take off a season every 10, or 12, or maybe 15 years?

Think of it as a breather. Kind of like when you're not supposed to plant wheat in your farm field every year to let the soil regenerate - or something like that.

Rather than getting all upset, having indigestion attacks or creating gallstones wherever they're created, let's think of a canceled season as an opportunity.

Each league has already been out on strike or locked out or whatever they call it every dozen years or so anyway. This way, we wouldn't have to read or listen to 40 stories a day about labor strife between millionaires and billionaires. Instead, the leagues could quietly hammer out their labor problems away from the glare of the media.

You get tired of a job or a chore that is the same drudgery, day in and day out. Following the major sports leagues can be like a treadmill at times.

We'll use the time away - say this fall, for instance, without the NFL - reconnecting with the rest of our lives. It could be a chance to talk to our wives or our children, volunteer in the community, even run for our local city council or school board.

Fat chance of that, right? I know a canceled NFL season won't turn into a list of dozens of candidates for any political office this fall, whether it's governor or dog catcher.

Realistically, then, let's go exploring with this big chunk of time we now have on our hands.

In my case, it might mean joining a bowling league on a night I don't normally partake of my favorite non-summer activity, but it will probably come down to some "gnarly" channel surfing on the idiot box. Ya' know, going to places on my cable TV I've never really spent more than a few seconds on in the past.

Since I don't shell out any extra money to watch any of these sports leagues, I'm not going to expand my options with pay-per-view or other new cable options, no matter how tempting some of the choices may sound.

First off, I know and you know the networks will have to find something to fill in this gameless time. Lingerie football, more no-limit hold 'em poker, shows about how carefully porcupines have to be when mating, a resurrection of the XFL - something, really multiple things, will sprout up.

If that doesn't sound appetizing, what about other sports you normally don't pay much attention to? Even if it's college or Canadian football because you prefer the NFL, or the myriad of so-called "minor" sports.

Sports don't have to be the answer, either. Maybe you'll start obsessing about HGTV, the Home & Garden TV channel, and catch the home improvement bug.

If you do, give me a call - I can put you to work at my apartment.

TV certainly doesn't have to be the answer - remember, when the NFL season starts, so do college, high school and even younger kids' sports activities, as do adult participation activities.

Go out and see a Friday night high school football game for the first time in five, 10, did you say 20 years?

I'm not even mentioning the Internet, since those of you hooked on that contraption don't need me to encourage you to up your web surfing to 25 or 26 hours a day.

So many choices, and so little ... well, now, so MUCH time.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246. His email address is



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