Los Angeles, CA
America will never have a revolution in the autumn. Why? It's football season.
If there's ever a huge uprising it will happen in the summer... right after the NBA Finals and before the MLB All-Star game. The doldrums of summer. It's humid and hot as fuck and tempers usually flare up when it's hot as balls outside. Ask any ER nurse or a cop about a full moon during a heat wave in August. That's when the crazies come out to play and the hotheads implode.
The summer is the deadest sports run in America (save for the few 1-percenters who actually watch Wimbledon), but even baseball has lost its luster as America's pasttime. Sure, there's millions of fans... but I wonder what the percentages of true die-hard fans rooting for one team versus stat-geeks and fantasy nerds keeping an eye on every game? Football is still king in small towns in America. No one really gives a flying fuck about the Rangers if you live in West Texas if you had to put them up against a Friday night high school football game.
With the death of newspapers came the death of flipping through the boxscores. In the virtual era, I only check up on my favorite team. The last time I did fantasy baseball (2004) was the last time I actively sought out boxscores for multiple teams via ESPN.com. This summer I stayed in a random hotel which provided free copies of USA Today. I thumbed through the flimsy sports section while I dropped a deuce. Even then the baseball boxscores felt generic and vanilla. Boxscores helped tell the story about the outcome of the game. Sure, it wasn't perfect and there was some imagination left to the reader, which is why I loved looking at each one. Every boxscore told its own story. Day after day. All summer long. Newspapers are dead and so are boxscores in black ink on grey industrial paper.
I'm viewing baseball through a nostalgic lens. Hard not too treat it like a Ken Burns documentary, complete with voiceovers from Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston. Sometimes I treat baseball like I'm looking back in time as a 10-year old in the early 80s and thumbing through the NY Daily News scouring the sports pages in the back of the paper. I'd scan the Yankees boxscore twice and sometimes three times, before looking through every game, unless it was a late west coast game and they did not include the info, so you essentially got the late boxscore from two nights earlier. Information is instant today. Back then I had to wait another day. It's laughable today.
The summer months are devoted to baseball, but it's not a populous, working class sport like football is. That's why summer months are most prime for a potential revolution. Males are usually wondering what the fuck to do with themselves. But then the Man breathes a sigh of relief is they can make it to Labor Day. Males get hooked back into the distraction machine around the end of the summer, when football chatter picks up and baseball is running down its season and making a push toward the playoffs. And once they're in... they're sucked in until the NBA Finals. Before the process repeats itself.
I got sucked in hard last autumn. I vowed that I'd ease off the gas this year. I was consumed with pro football for four-five months. It was fun and a welcomed distraction to help keep me somewhat distracted from the reality of living in Los Angeles again. But the hours were brutal. Sometimes it was 100+ hours a week. Every week. As the saying goes, "It's a hard way to make an easy living."
This season, I don't have the time to dive into the deep end. I have other shit going on. Besides, I don't trust bookies to pay me, plus I have a hearty work schedule and a couple of side trips on the schedule. I'm trying to find a happy middle ground where I can enough myself on Sundays instead of tearing out what little hair I have left. Betting on fewer games reduces the stress levels immensely, but it's easy to forget it is football season in SoCal, especially because I live in a city without a pro football team (USC doesn't count).
Then there's the burden of rooting for shitty hometown team as a demented Jets fan. I almost gave up on them at the end of last year. It'd be much harder to scale back the football immersion if the Jets' QB was Peyton Manning. Alas, we're stuck with man-child Mark Sanchize and rookie Geno Smith. Yeah Geno looked like a rube at times, but he had flashes of competence in the first game, yet my faith was not restored in just one week. The Jets suck so it's easy to scale back the intensity of the season.
But some things stay the same. On Sunday I woke up at 6am... only four hours before the first kickoff. By the end of the Sunday night game I was exhausted after a full day of sweating games and watching line moves and keeping an eye on Twitter and fielding a hundred and one questions from friends/colleagues throughout the day. By the time I crashed at Midnight, I had been up for 18 hours and at least 16 of those had my mind stuck in the game and focused on the next week's slate of games. At least I could sleep in on Monday. Last year at this time I couldn't and I was back at tje grind at 6am the next day.