(Editor’s Note: This story ran a little over a year ago, but is still very pertinent to the long layoff between minicamp and training camp today.)
“I want to play a game.”
You may know the quote, but Jigsaw, I ain’t. So we're going to play something slightly less sadistic than anything found in any of the Saw movies, from which Jigsaw hails.
But only slightly. It’s not the game that’s so awful, but the circumstances around it: we’ve reached the worst time of the football year. The next six, interminable weeks mark the gap between the end of minicamp and the beginning of training camp. For those of us who live and breathe football, the next month and a half are about as bad as it can get.
If February is the armpit of the year, then the six weeks between minicamp and training camp is the crusty eye booger.
So, let’s find a way to make it fun. We’re going to play the “Survive Until Training Camp” game. Much like Whose Line Is It Anyway?, everything is made up and the points don’t matter. But, if you do these things, you might still have a pulse when the end of July finally, mercifully arrives.
Count flowers on the wall. The Statler Brothers — and, later, Eric Heatherly — may have been on to something here. Without a doubt, Captain Kangaroo would agree. Of course, if you don’t have any flowers on your wall already, you may need to draw them first. One point for every seven flowers.
Watch a candle melt. Bonus points if you live someplace hot enough to do this without lighting it first, which is probably not possible if you actually live in Pittsburgh or points further north. Extra bonus points if, instead, you watch a skyscraper melt your car.
Insult everyone in the known universe, alphabetically. If it was good enough for Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged, it’s good enough for you. If you aren’t originally from Pittsburgh, bonus points if you can do it entirely in Pittsburghese. If, however, you were blessed to be from the Greatest Region on Earth — The ‘Burgh, of course — then bonus points if you can avoid using the word “jagoff”. If last off-season is any indication of how slowly the next six weeks will pass, insulting the entire known universe alphabetically should get you through the end of June.
Watch a Public Access Television marathon. Now we’re playing with the big boys. If you can survive more than three consecutive hours of this, you have the willpower of...um...well...of Captain Willpower. He’s a real superhero, right? Anyway, bonus points if you can sit through twenty-four hours of northern Delaware’s finest public access, the C.B. Joe Show.
Wait patiently for the pizza delivery man. This one has to happen sporadically — unless, of course, part of your quest for survival is to become a King Hippo lookalike. The catch here is that you have to do it without looking at a watch or a clock, and without looking out the window to see if the delivery dude is coming down the street. Yeah, I know, that’s just fighting dirty. But ya gotta be tough to make it through these six weeks. Believe me, someday you’ll thank me for it. No bonus points, but you’ll be docked points if you withhold tip for being late.
Watch a Cleveland Browns 1999-2015 highlights video. On second though, scratch this one. The credits would be longer than the video. You’d have to play it on a loop about four thousand times just to get through a day. Bonus points, though, if you can watch it once through without laughing.
Grow a unibrow. The facial-hair-growing competitions are a lot more fun during Beardtober and Movember, but the unibrow skill is the hardest to acquire. You either have it, or you don’t, but a man can dream. Or, more accurately, have nightmares, because the eyebrow merger isn’t exactly a hit with, well, anyone. Still, it will pass the time. Bonus points for surpassing the epic monorail of Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.
Extra bonus points to anyone who can do all of these. Not that it matters, though. The winner is whoever is still alive six weeks from now, if anyone can survive that long. I’m not feeling good about my chances.
Is it July 25th, yet?