In the fall, college football Saturday means a 14 hour marathon of sitting and watching all the games, where everything else is shunned. At the end you are tired, but you have all week to recover before you do it all over again the next weekend, so the disruption to your life is minimal, except for perhaps a bit of guilt that on a beautiful 75 degree sunny day you didn't go outside one single time. Pretty simple to handle, and because the NFL is so boring, you have all day Sunday to do stuff outside, run errands, or attempt to make up your Saturday behavior to your significant other. No big deal.
A great day to sit inside and watch football all day.
College basketball can be a bit more difficult. You may be that guy, or at least you know him. The one who, every March, takes off work the Thursday and Friday of the opening weekend of the NCAA tournament and spends 4 consecutive days watching basketball pretty much non-stop at a sportsbar that is showing all of the games on different satellite feeds. I am that guy. In fact, I have never in my adult life worked the first two days of March Madness. I used to post up at Frankie's in ATL from noon to midnight for 4 days straight; now it is Bayside on Union Street from 9 a.m to 9 p.m. By Sunday evening several things have occurred without fail:
1) What little ass I have to begin with is straight up numb from sitting in a chair for 50 hours in an 80 hour span
2) I am on a first name basis with every waitress at the sportsbar, as well as the bartenders, the manager, and the assistant manager who is in charge of the remote controls.
3) I have eaten damn near everything on the menu of said establishment. Twice.
4) I invariably make a new friend or new friends over the course of the 4 days just from chatting about college hoops with other that guys who are as omnipresent as myself.
5) I become so absolutely sick and tired of seeing the same 5 commercials 28,000 times that I am tempted to reach for my fork and gouge out my eyeballs. Instead I develop a deep resentment and distate for Cingular for making such shitty commercials that I have to watch over and over and over and over and over.
6) By Sunday, I am flat out exhausted
I am waaaay too familiar with this place.
It is all worthwhile, and I love it, but make no mistake - I love the fact that after the completion of the second round on Sunday, there are no more games until the Sweet 16 starts back up on Thursday afternoon/evening. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are a great buffer- a time to rejuventate and get your life back in order, then come back fresh and strong for the 2nd weekend, which is at the same time much more interesting and much, much easier to watch than that first weekend.
Which brings me to this World Cup. No less than 19 consecutive days of soccer to start the tournament before today, with each day having 2, 3, or even 4 matches going on. For me it means getting up at the buttcrack of dawn, which as a non-morning person is always tres difficile. Add to this my desire to write about the tournament, and now I am getting up before 6 a.m. and staying up late in to the night writing, never the smartest or healthiest combination. Running to the pub at lunch to watch the noon match. Watching on the Slingbox at my desk. Going home after work to watch the coverage on Fox Sports World, then writing a post that I think will take an hour and always manages to take 4. Rinse and repeat. NINETEEN TIMES.
Calgon take me away.
It is relentless and unmerciful; I was exhausted and drained after day 5, and I still had two straight weeks to go. My apartment achieved a level of disaster area-ness never before seen, Laundry Mountain rose to an unprecedented elevation of 4.5 feet, sleep was coming in the form of 2 to 5 hour naps, and excercise - what is that? - has ceased altogher. Most all other free-time and weekend activities took a back seat or were neglected altogether. I fell way behind on life, which became unorganized and chaotic. Don't get me wrong, I am absolutely loving it - enjoying the footy, making new friends, both virtual and real, etc. But saying that it has been a grind is a massive understatement.
56 matches in 19 days will leave you needing one of these.
I realized about 6 days in that this makes the first weekend of March Madness seem like watching a Mike Tyson fight. I am so relieved to have made it, and I couldn't be happier that there is no soccer today or tomorrow and that I can catch up on life a little bit. Got some laundry done last night and might even go for a bike ride tomorrow, although after 3 weeks off the Marin Headlands will be more pain than fun.
And after surviving that grueling marathon, it's all downhill from here. Two days off, two days on, two days off, two days on, then 3 days off before the final. Cake.