We just got a taste of the desolation we all will feel if there truly is no National Football League season this fall.
When all those players spent this past week on Marco Island, the place was aflutter with just knowing they were here. We saw them doing good work for the kids via the Y, enjoying our beach and our restaurants, eating football-sized steaks and allegedly having meetings regarding the labor dispute with NFL team owners.
They hope there will be a season. We hope so to. Without it we’d have a hole in our TV viewing and make for some thumb-twiddling weekend afternoons, not to mention Sunday night football, Monday night football, Thursday night football, etc.
In the good old days of 2010 and earlier this year, we were getting our football heroes on TV seemingly non-stop. I think the only TV time with no manly games on a weekly basis was Tuesday mornings, if you don’t count Ellen or Oprah re-runs.
Life was good. Now, the gloom grows as zillionaire players and the gazillionaire owners quibble over how to divide up the fatted calf and the rainbow’s end pot-o-gold they enjoy.
We’d better start now finding things to do without the NFL, not just the games but the three-hour pre-game shows and the all-night thumb-sucking analysis on talk shows from ESPN, FOX, the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, Comcast Cable and every citizen of Green Bay.
My tentative list needs work, but maybe you can help. I’ll go first, with five things to do in lieu having NFL behemoths destroy each other for our entertainment in high definition surround sound.
• Begin organizing your outdoor Christmas lights for 2011. You’ll get a head start on your neighbors who won’t have theirs up until Columbus Day.
• Go on line immediately and find troves of videos from some great rugby matches. They’re as rough as football but with no pads or helmets. Watch them a few times and you’ll start to think of NFL players as pampered.
• Go to the Marco Movies and see “The King’s Speech.” There’s no doubt it still will be playing there. Nick Campo tells us that the longest playing movies he has ever screened at our spiffy four-theater movie/restaurant until now probably were “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Titanic” and “The Bucket List.” And who knows, if we lose NFL football, Nick may bring those movies back as well.
• Gather up three friends who also are pining over the loss of the NFL and form a barbershop quartet. Just to make it fun, perform only at barber shops. They’ll probably be open weekends anyway if there’s no football.
• Take Zumba lessons. Or just watch other people doing it. Zumba, that is. We have not done extensive research, but we suspect the only public places in Collier County where somebody, somehow is not committing Zumba on a regular basis are at the Department of Motor Vehicles and at one small storefront church, whose members believe Zumba is the work of the devil. Which might explain its popularity everywhere else.
So you see, there’s plenty to do while waiting for the boys and men of the NFL to get their shoulder pads together and thump out a deal.
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Don Farmer is a former ABC News correspondent and bureau chief and CNN news anchor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.