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82 Days Of Summer: The Countdown To Football

I get it. You're the “sports” guy. And right now, you're suffering through a drought that started the second that the Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl. Lucky for you, the last gap or “home-stretch” between now and the return of football to stadiums and high-definition television feeds could not have come at a better time: Summer.

It is filled with distractions in the nature of great weather that becomes water sports, hikes, family gatherings, golf, day trips, week-long vacations to far away places, fireworks, camping, and of course, the All-American cookout.

And at each of those things, someone, just like clockwork, is bound by some sort of fate to bring along a football, or “pig-skin” to toss around. You won't mind of course, you will smile with each catch, each pass, each dropped pass, each pass overthrown by a mile, happy to chase after the wayward sports ball with a grin and a shake of your head.

Yet, at some point, you or one of your friends are bound to bring up the daunting question, “When is football back?”

The answer is simple: 82 days. 82 days filled with summer and all that goes with it. It sounds like a lot, but it will pass in a flurry. For those bad with numbers, 82 days will sound like an eternity, and unfortunately, from here, it probably feels that way even if you're a numbers wiz. 82 days from today, or August 31st, will mark the home openers for both the Oregon Ducks and Oregon State Beavers football teams.

Neither game is exactly a “must see” from a hype standpoint, as the Ducks play Nicholls State and the Beavers play Eastern Washington. While not a matchup of the giants, it does mark the return of football, so any game will do.

Just five days later, on September 5th, NFL football returns to action, with a much anticipated primetime rematch as the Peyton Manning led Denver Broncos host the defending Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens, led by Joe Flacco.

And just three days after that, on September 8th, the Seattle Seahawks play their first game against the Carolina Panthers, and hold their home opener on the 15th, against the defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers.
 
In the meantime, there are plenty of distractions in addition to what is listed at the top. The NBA Finals are still a minimum of three games from being decided (and hopefully will go the full five more for a seven game series), and the NBA Draft is coming up on the 27th of this month. For local baseball fans, the Seattle Mariners, while suffering through what appears to be another losing season, have 98 games remaining and even more if they turn things around and make the playoffs.
 
The Hillsboro Hops, the Portland area's newest professional baseball team, makes its debut against the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes on the 14th of this month and celebrates their home opener on the 17th against Eugene.
 
The Portland Timbers, the Rose City's prized MLS squad, is enjoying a great season as they have not lost a match since March 9th and hold a 5-1-8 record, good enough for 5th in the league. They host FC Dallas next weekend, currently the top team in MLS, which should be an outstanding match the day before Father's Day.

Wimbledon, the pinnacle of tennis tournaments, opens play on June 24th and the championship match is to be held on July 7th. If you have not held an interest in tennis in years past, you may just want to give it a go this year. It may be one of or even the last year of the “trivalry” between Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic, as Federer, the eldest of the three at 31 (soon to be 32 and five years older than his oldest rival), appears to be losing what was once an image of being unbeatable. He won five consecutive Wimbledon titles from 2003-07 and has won just two since, although his most recent was last year's title match against Andy Murray. Federer is one of the all-time greats, but appears to have lost a step, and it is simply a matter of time before he will not be able to keep up with his younger rivals who are both at the top of their game. There is a chance the trivalry will live on in to next year, but with no football to see right now, why not check it out this year?

If you need more than sports and other outdoor activities to keep you calm, movie theaters with ice cold air conditioning boast blockbuster movies opening soon such as “Man of Steel”, the highly anticipated Superman reboot and “World War Z”, a movie about the zombie apocalypse. And if you have not seen it yet, “Fast & Furious 6”, while insane at times, is still very much worth the price of admission.

Long story short, there are plenty of ways to pass the time across 82 days. Many of those days will be filled with work or leisure activities, and for the ones that are not, just do your best to pass the time (legally, of course) with who and what you have around you. And if you haven't yet, you need to get a jump on your fantasy football draft research; that homework that will prove to be invaluable over the season isn't going to do itself. You don't want to be the Andre of your league and draft retired players now, do you? And don't think they won't let you do it; there are plenty of inactive and retired players serving as landmines on the draft boards. Those who don't keep up with current rosters as well as the big-time injuries to star players are doomed to suffer.

82 more days. You'll make it. Between work, sleep, the beach, the lake, the river, the mountain, the hotspot, the golf course, and of course your family and friends, you'll be fine.

August will get here. In the meantime, here's to summer. Here's to football. Here's to you, sports guy. 

About Arran Gimba

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