Wide Right: The First Weekend Without Football
by Jeff Cockey, 1/26/04

What are we to do? Itís like being in the stands after your team has just intercepted the ball and the momentum is strong in your favor but that stupid ref in the red jacket decides to step onto the field to signify a six-month TV timeout. Your team gets cold, fat, lazy, and depressed and when he finally starts the clock (for a new season), the stadium is empty and everyoneís hooked on, of all things, baseball.

I guess, however, that weíll have many things to look forward to this off-season: The Super Bowl, which is extra exciting because the Pats are involved. The draft is coming up and we (VT) are projected to have three guys go in the first round, even though two of them should still be wearing a Hokie uniform next year (the price of good recruiting and exceptional athletes). Roddick and Agassi are cruising through the Bloominí Onion Open. Yes, I watch tennis Ė have you seen the next batch of Anna Kournikovaís? March Madness is right around the corner and like the rest of the world, I canít wait until Gonzaga is seeded lower than they should be, so that they can be my big money winner again. Maybe Iíll give Coach Neuheisel a call and see if he wants in on the action this year. We have the entire summer to project unrealistic goals upon Coach Joe "Nascar" Gibbs. So that when the Redskins win the Super bowl but fail to capture Osama Bin Ladan or colonize Mars by the last weekend in January we, the fans, can still feel slighted.

Ah yes, while the sports landscape isnít exactly bleak right now, I feel sad in saying that we are quickly approaching level red on Ridgeís Homeland Sports scale. We wonít even have conference re-alignment to talk about this off-season. So we have to think of something to keep us occupied during the commercial break that is February Ė August. Here are a few suggestions for passing the time. I hope that some whet the palette of Hokie fans everywhere:

  1. Gather game tapes of every Hokie football game from 1993 to present and convert them all to DVD format. My guess is you will amass a small fortune selling them. And yes, of course I would be happy to write a little something for the DVD jacket after receiving and viewing my very own free copy.

  2. Figure out how to get an actual VT game ball. You know, the one with the VT logo stamped into the leather. I can find official NFL game balls in every sporting goods store from Boston to the moon, but try to get an official Virginia Tech college game ball and itís like wanting to change the channel on your television when the remote is nowhere to be found. Itís amazing how we rationalize watching a Trading Spaces marathon because we canít reach the remote.
  3. Reminds me of a time in college when Rossly accidentally broke the TV remote at my friend's Pheasant Run town home. So Bog and Dan made him sit on a stool next to their TV and manually change the channel every time they said up or down. Ah, friendship.

    It is a New Yearís resolution of mine to acquire two official VT game balls Ė one for actual use and one for enshrining. If anyone can help me out with this I would be eternally grateful, or at least grateful for a little while.

  4. Make fun of my draft column. It is about that time of year again and, like always (and by "always" I mean last year), I will be writing a column about the upcoming NFL draft. So prepare your witty remarks and condescending comments about how I must have been dropped on my head as an infant, child, adolescent, and adult, to think that Lee Suggs should have been taken higher in the draft than Larry Johnson. Yeah, well he should have been. Is it too soon for me to say "I told you so?" OK, Iíll wait for Suggs to have a few more 150+ yard rushing games with multiple touchdowns before I speak to that topic. Bitterness is such an ugly trait, I am sorry you had to witness that. My therapist said I need to let things go. Iím working on it. Itís a process. Thanks for understanding.

  5. Watch movies. I can understand having trouble with the Bottle Rocket movie trivia quote, but many of you actually missed the Top Gun quote from the last column. This is inexcusable. I mean, Top Gun? Come on. One of the top five greatest movies ever made (if not for that volleyball scene). You remember when you first saw it? How wide-eyed you were when the bullets were flying past the underbelly of Maverickís F-14. And how you found yourself actually talking out loud to the movie screen, "Jeez Ice. Take the shot or get out of his way." People in the theater would have looked at you funny except that they were in total agreement. How many people wanted to punch Sundown when he kept giving Maverick crap about not firing? Heíll fire when heís gosh darn good and ready Mr. Walker Texas Ranger sidekick guy. The funniest thing about that movie was how everyone instantly fell in love with Kelly "for some reason everyone thinks I am hot" McGillis. Call sign Charlie is easily a role for Charlize Theron or maybe even Keira Knightley (Pirates of the Caribbean), but Kelly?

  6. Write a letter to Beamer. Let him know that you are behind him. Give a little constructive criticism if youíd like. The more mail someone receives Ė good or bad, the more that person will realize what a difference he makes in peopleís lives. And the better you will feel about the Hokies since you either got something off your chest or boosted the spirit of a guy who actually feels worse than any of us do about what has happened to our program. Wow, enough of this after school special Ė heart felt Ė pass the Kleenex crap.

  7. Inundate Will. Throw him ideas about columns you would like to see him write. Ask him to break down and analyze the statistics of every game for the last three years so that we can pinpoint exactly what went wrong. Then have him do the same for the previous eight years so he can decipher what went right. He can end with a side-by-side analytical, statistics-filled, several-part comparison column. Come on folks, letís not only think of ourselves in a time like this. What about poor Will? We canít just let him sit around watching reruns of Charles in Charge, he needs something to do too.

  8. We can discuss how enjoyable and refreshing it will be next year to play a complete football season without stepping foot on astro-turf. And by that I mean, how great it will be to not have to deal with ultra-snobby, my daddy has more money than God, I canít wait until the summer so that I can garage my H2 and drop the top on my new 6-series, oh my God you actually go into the stadium on game day and donít stay at the tailgate discussing how much your trust fund has risen this year, Boston College children. Itís almost enough to make me cry tears of joy, but unfortunately I know the "silver spoons" will be back much too soon. Damn me with the bitterness thing again. Serenity now . . . Serenity now!

  9. And if all else fails, try a new Bourbon Ė only if you are of legal drinking age, of course. By no means am I advocating underage drinking, binge drinking, or any other frowned upon illegal action pertaining to alcohol that might exist. Disclaimers aside, I have found my tastes have changed quite a bit from college. Iíve moved from Captain Jack to Cousin Jim (Jim and I and the back bar at Arnolds, which to my chagrin no longer exists, really shared some great times on Wednesday Ė half-price sub Ė nights). From there it was a jump to Makers Mark where I thought I had found the one. You know, settle down and set my roots, until that fateful night when she walked through the door Ė Knob Creek. Now Makers is my "cheap" bourbon and Knob is my treat-myself-to-the-good-life elixir. Either way, I canít go wrong. The only thing is that I canít quite kick the habit of a mixer. It is a nasty crutch. I need my Coke or Ginger. It has gotten to the point where Dougie, a dear old friend of the family, buys two bourbons when I visit. Knob for the men and Jim for me and my I-need-a-mixer skirt that I canít seem to take off. I know, I know, Iím getting therapy for this as well.

Well that about does it for me. I am leaving numbers 9 and 10 up to you guys. Let me know what you come up with for passing the non-football summertime blues. As I stated earlier, the last columnís movie trivia was from Top Gun, when Goose and Maverick were getting chewed out for saving Cougar. A little too easy I think, so this week we will step it up a notch and go with this:

"Mike, whatís the pool on me up to right now? Whatís it up to?"

Please continue to inundate me with your comments, questions, and insults . . . [email protected]

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