The draft came and went, as did the summer league(s) and it doesn’t look like the Thunder’s going to do anything in free agency. And there’s over three months until the season starts. So what am I supposed to do with myself? Watch the WNBA? Yeah and after that I’ll stare at the sun for two hours. Don’t fret, I’ve got ideas to get you through the actual offseason.
Watch baseball. It’s not everybody’s thing, but I dig it. It’s more than enough to keep me occupied for now, especially because there’s a game every day and I have a favorite team. And if you hate baseball, I guess watch soccer or something. Or go live in Europe because obviously you hate America. Why don’t you kick a baby and curse the name of Stephen Colbert on your way out too.
Read every college football preview on the planet. As much as we all love the Thunder, this is still a college football state. And it probably will always be unless John Blake comes back for Round 2. There’s something like 2 billion college football preview magazines and they’re all saying basically the exact same thing. So do yourself a favor and read every single one of them. I know you’re dying to know what Phil Steele has to say about the TCU secondary. Don’t pretend like you’re not.
Likewise, complain about the BCS. I actually am a fan of it, but evidently to hold your college football fan card, you must spend at least 15 minutes of your day whining about it and talking about how perfect and wonderful a playoff would be. The more you gripe to your roommate about it, the faster it will get fixed. I think we’re using the same approach for the economy.
Try out for the Thunder girls. What’s that? Only girls are allowed to try out? Sexist pigs. Oh well, their loss. I have some awesome moves and look excellent in a cutoff jean shorts and an open plaid blouse. The finals are tonight at Toby Keith’s so if you’re weird and creepy, be sure to go there and “watch.”
Work on your post game. With OKC’s best option on the block being either Nick Collison or Shaun Livingston (yes, seriously, Shaun Livingston), you never know. Especially if you’re freakishly tall. You could wind up with a roster spot. Hey, it worked for Robert Swift.
Worry about what Brett Favre will do. It’s a story that has gripped the nation for the last, what, 10 years? So fulfill your duty as an American sports fan and watch ESPN all day waiting for an update from Ed Werder or Chris Mortensen letting us know what Favre’s decision is. Brett ran sprints with high schoolers in Mississippi? Now he’s eating lunch with former Viking great Kailee Wong? He read a story about Leif Ericson yesterday? I need to know these things. They could hint what Favre’s doing one way or the other. I couldn’t sleep last night I was thinking about it so much.
Go to a Redhawks game. Minor league baseball is kind of like a decent movie on AMC on a Saturday afternoon. It makes for good background noise while you have a conversation with another person. It’s an easy date, but also something different than going to see yet another movie about a comic book or old school toy. I can’t honestly name you one player player on the team (is Bobby Jones still the coach?), but it’s not like it matters. It’s about being outside, having a hot dog, watching a ball game and the sunburn you’ll assuredly get.
Get inexplicably hooked to some lame reality show. They’re like tobacco. You think it’s harmless channel surfing and you don’t consider for a second you’ll be coming back after the show you’re watching is off commercials, but there you are four hours later having just watched eight episodes of Daisy of Love. It’s the worst television programming in the history of everything, but it hooked you and you don’t have a clue why. So when you’re 10 episodes in to some Real World challenge show, just know, you’re only wasting time until the season starts. That’s all. It’s actually a good thing.
Drive up and down I-35 and get stuck in traffic for two hours for no effing reason. Oh, you’ll do this anyway. Seriously, can someone, anyone, explain why there has to be road construction on this wonderful stretch of highway for the rest of eternity? Didn’t they JUST fix it like three months ago. What gives? Did they hold a monster truck rally on it or something?
Argue with Jim Traber about everything, without calling in. I’ve never called in to the Sports Animal, just because I don’t think I forgive myself for actually falling so low to argue with Traber on the radio. Plus, I’ve always talked a big game about taking him to school about various things but I’m scared that as soon as he drops a “You’re an absolute FOOL!” on me and goes straight into I’m-yelling-over-you-so-that-you-can’t-ever-make-your-point mode, that I’d wilt like Tom Watson at Turnberry. So instead, I gripe at my radio as I sit alone in my truck in I-35 traffic.
Read a book. What book you ask? Well, how about David Halberstam’s The Breaks of the Game or one that I hold dear to my heart, the dictionary. Or you could read a wonderful book written by frequent commenter J.G. It’s better than most of his posts, so that’s saying something.
Read every post game recap I wrote last year. Some will blow your mind. Some will make you cry. Some will make you stand and cheer. (This sounds like the voice-over to a crappy sports movie.) All they wanted was a chance to play. And they got it in the most improbable way possible. It’s a story about heartbreak, joy and celebration. But mostly heartbreak. Royce Young’s, The Thunder Years.
Go on a hunger strike until opening night. Ok, so that’s roughly only 100 days and think of how good you’ll look for opening night. Plus that sort of dedication is not to be overlooked. I’m sure Buffalo Wild Wings will hook you up with some boneless Caribbean Jerk wings before the first game anyway.
Prep for your fantasy football draft. I don’t play, but my older brother does and let me tell you, he’s been preparing and studying since April. He may be the only person on earth that not only knows who Glenn Martinez is, but also how many yards per catch he averaged last year. I don’t even think Glenn’s parents know that.
Start scouting prospects for the 2018 NBA draft. Hey, with how things are going now, it’s not that crazy. Well it is crazy, but people are doing it anyway. There are rankings for this sort of thing, which disturbs me more than “Half Man, Half Tree” on TLC. How could anyone possibly evaluate a 10-year-old kid? I wonder what my scouting report was. Really short, like 5’1″ short. Extremely skinny. Forgets that he’s playing basketball sometimes. More focused on his post game “suicide” than the actual game. Shot looks like he’s heaving a bag of cement onto a rooftop. Can dribble it three times consecutively, max. Doesn’t even know he has a left hand. Averages 10-15 turnovers a game. Complains about teammate Andy being a ballhog. But yet, there are actual scouting and recruiting services ranking these kids. Sigh.
Anyway, the season will get here sooner than you think. Just hang in there. Before you know it, it’ll be October 29th and you’ll forget all about having to read that book. Or if you went on the hunger strike, you can eat.
Also, some key dates to keep you occupied:
July 23-25: Team USA mini-camps. Oklahoma City makes up 13 percent of the roster with Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green and Kevin Durant all participating. Durant is almost a lock to make the 2012 London team, but Westbrook and Green could impress some folks.
Mid-August: 2009-10 NBA schedule comes out. It will at least give us something to talk about.
All of August: Awesome things I’ll write. Don’t worry, I’m going into the depths of my brain to come up with interesting crap to come here and read.
September 7-20: Eurobasket 2009 in Poland. So no Thundermen will be on any of the rosters, but it’s a chance to watch some basketball.
September 30: Training camp starts. It’ll be our first good look at the new and improved roster and about that time all sorts of NBA previews will begin to roll out.
October 7-25: Preseason basketball. The preseason schedule isn’t out yet, but the games will fall between these dates. We already know Oklahoma City will be playing the Spurs in Austin, but not much else.
October 28: The first game of the 2009-10 NBA season. Again, we won’t know if OKC is actually playing this night or when opening night is until the schedule is out, but this will be the night that it all starts. And then we’ll have seven months of basketball to watch. But if things go better than expected, we’ll have more.