After the Super Bowl ends, the dead part of the year begins. Of course, those of us at Georgetown usually have something to occupy our collective sports interest. The men’s basketball team’s season this year, however, can only be described as “The reason I can’t quit smoking.” Since caring about Georgetown basketball continues to be as painful as being tortured with a cattle prod, the sports-obsessed among us most shift our attention elsewhere.

Sure, there’s the NHL and the NBA, but the teams are just going through the motions during the regular season. Yao vs. Shaq is only going to happen two more times. For real entertainment, you have to be creative. Since that’s my job, here are my five favorite things to do in the dead zone from the end of the Super Bowl to March Madness.

1. Arena Football: This is everything the XFL wasn’t. Tons of offense, bone-crunching hits and an actual, exciting game. Whoever decided to play on a 50-yard field inside a hockey rink was a genius. When a receiver gets slammed into the boards, it’s as hard a hit as anything Ray Lewis can dish out. Teams routinely score more than 50 points. Plus, their idea of clock management is not scoring too fast. The arena version of football is just fun to watch.

2. NCAA March Madness 2003 on Playstation 2: The only thing that keeps me from scratching my eyes out after basketball games is the knowledge that I can go back to my dorm and do virtually what our team couldn’t do in reality: win. I beat Duke by two on a last second shot by Tony Bethel, and I haven’t lost yet. Not allowing Drew Hall to touch the ball the entire game against Pitt allowed me to work out my anger over his horrible foul at the end of the real game. UCLA didn’t even give me a game (and Sweetney put up 35). If Esherick were half the coach I am, Georgetown would be beginning its second run of multiple Final Fours. If only reality were so kind.

3. The PGA Tour: Tiger’s coming back next week, and he’s got something to prove. Phil Mickelson’s comment that Tiger won “despite” his Nike equipment was a huge mistake. Gee, Tiger almost won the Grand Slam last year. `He’s the most dominant golf player ever. Besides golf, his endorsement contracts are the most important thing to him (well, maybe Elin Nordgren is also more important).’ So ickelson just insults his biggest sponsor’s golf clubs. Sounds like a good idea to me; Phil Mickelson isn’t even Tiger’s biggest competitor anymore. No matter what he says, he won’t be until he wins a Major. Right now, Ernie Els, the man with the sweetest swing in the world and the owner of the only major title that Tiger doesn’t have, is taking his title shot. Tiger vs. Ernie in the Buick Open – this weekend. I’ll be watching.

4. Spring Training: All right, this doesn’t actually start until March, but the pitchers and catchers have started reporting, which is close enough in my book. Will the Twins go all the way this year? Have the Yankees spent enough in the off-season to buy another title? Is it finally the year for the Cubs? Or the Red Sox? Will Barry Bonds have more walks than hits this year? Will the rebuilt Phillies be able to compete in the NL East? Can Anaheim repeat as World Series Champions? Will the Rally Monkey join all the fans that used Thunder Stix in Sports Fan Hell? How will baseball screw itself over this year? Let the speculation begin!

5. Have you ever wondered which of Georgetown’s Final Four teams was better? You can find that out here (the 1983-84 Hoyas and the 1984-85 Hoyas split a 1,000-game simulation 500-500). This Web site takes any rosters and simulates the games. Not only can you create dream matchups, but you can also put together dream teams and compete with them in fantasy leagues. In the two short weeks since I discovered this site, I’ve already formed five teams and spent countless hours managing them. This website may single-handedly cause me to fail out of Georgetown.

Just because the Super Bowl is over does not mean there is nothing to do in the sporting world. Even if you can’t bring yourself to cheer for the Hoyas, the dead zone isn’t quite as dead as you may think.

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