October 1 might be the most glorious day in Houston. Hurricane season is essentially over, the first cool front of the year has already swept in, diminishing the God-awful summer heat, the holidays are sprawling out in front of us and professional sports are heating up.
For the sports fan in Houston, having the Texans, Rockets, Dynamo and (fingers crossed) Astros all playing simultaneously is like spring break for college kids, or summer vacation for teens. In other words, it’s magical.
Unfortunately, we’re now entering the opposite end of the year, the most boring season of them all: summer, when only Major League Baseball features games with regularity. Oh, sure, there’s NASCAR and golf and tennis, if you’re really bored. There’s also Major League Soccer, but that’s sporadic at best.
So, what’s a fan to do now that the Rockets are out of the playoffs and the NBA Finals will soon be a thing of memory? Here are some suggestions.
Speculate on what the Rockets will do in the offseason.
There are some people who live for this time of year, the amateur general managers who follow every draft maneuver, free agent rumor and offseason report with the fervor of an 8-year-old ripping through gifts on Christmas morning. If this is your thing, you are lucky. If not, maybe you should consider trying it on for size.
Take up golf…or some others sport that doesn’t require any athleticism.
Because, let’s be honest, many sports fans are themselves in no shape to play pickup basketball at the local Y. Maybe you could coax a game of corporate-sponsored softball out of that creaky frame of yours—kickball if you’re a hipster—but a safer bet is something benign like golf (with a golf cart, of course, because you aren’t walking)…or maybe chess. That’s considered a sport, by nerds.
Listen to incessant discussion about the Texans on sports radio.
This is a football town. Hell, it’s a football state. Within 48 hours of the end of the playoffs for any sports team other than the Texans, hours and hours of sports radio airtime will be dedicated, once again, to the NFL. Who will start at quarterback? How is that one guy recovering from his injury? Are the draft picks working out? Most of us enjoy football, but if you hate pretty much everything else, including your own sanity, keep your dial tuned to sports radio all summer long.
Go on vacation.
I know, I know. But, how will you keep up with free agency, the draft, trade rumors? It’s called a smartphone, genius. I personally tracked the Rockets failure to land free agent power forward Chris Bosh last summer from the comfort of a lounge chair while staring at the Gulf of Mexico from the beaches of South Padre Island. It made it easier to take the blow.
Watch the Astros.
There’s this sport called baseball and the team we have here in Houston, despite being one of the worst in the history of the sport the last four years, is actually pretty good now. It’s not as exciting as basketball or as brutal as football, but it involves a ball and quite a bit of skill. Give it a try.