Coping with college football withdrawal

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College football season is officially over. Grounds and maintenance crews are working on empty, eerily silent stadiums. Players and coaches are taking some time off before preparing for spring training, and the world is watching anxiously to see which schools the top recruits will choose.  Fans who were left crying in their beer over last season’s losses are trying to put the past behind them and look forward to the hope that the new season will bring. The majority of Bama fans are being classy as always, rubbing the National Championship win in the faces of opposing teams’ fans, and some even go as far as to actually rub their balls on the faces of opposing teams’ fans.  (Haven’t seen that gem of a video yet?  Before you click over to YouTube, let me warn you– it’s not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach).

Now is the time when I, like many college football fans, sit around, staring at the television looking sad and confused. I’ll turn on NFL games because, hey, it’s still football.  I’ve started looking forward to baseball season so I can continue the tradition of cheering for Whoever Is Playing the Yankees, but even pitchers and catchers don’t report for another month. Some of my Twitter followers have asked, “What about basketball?”  I don’t hate on basketball at all, and I’ll definitely put some effort into my NCAA Tournament brackets, but it just doesn’t render the same excitement for me as football and all its gloriousness.

So as we sit in this time of football purgatory after the 4,203 bowl games but before spring practice and intrasquad games wondering “Now what?”, let’s take a look at the rest of the world to find some alternative sports we can enjoy until our beloved football returns.

Alternate Sport #1: Wife-Carrying

Sounds like a joke, but this is an actual sport that originated in Finland. Male competitors carry their wives upside-down on their backs through an obstacle course roughly the length of 3 football fields that can include water holes, mud pits, and crazy jumps. The man that completes the course in the best time with his wife still attached to him wins. I tried to get Jon to carry me in the required position through our house yesterday. In case you’re wondering, that didn’t go well.

Alternate Sport #2: Shin Kicking

Believe it or not, shin-kicking began in the1600s as a way to protest Puritanism, because kicking others in the legs seems like a great way to negate religion. These days, shin kicking involves two players going shin to shin to see who can knock the other one down the most times before the clock runs out. Watch out – my five year olds will be announcing their intentions to go pro in this strange sport in the coming weeks.

Alternate Sport #3: Extreme Ironing

My mom is still shaking her head in disappointment because my own ironing abilities are less than impressive. In this wacky British sport, people use portable ironing boards to get their clothes wrinkle-free while also doing something seemingly impossible, such as skiing, wake boarding, bicycling, or even hang-gliding. According to the Extreme Ironing Bureau – yep, it really exists –  this is “the latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt.” 

Um….yeah okay….sure.

Alternate Sport #4: Chess Boxing

In an attempt to prove that it is possible to be athletic and still have some brains, a Dutch artist created Chess Boxing in 1992. The motto of the sport is “Fighting is done in the ring and wars are waged on the board.”  Players alternate between rounds of mind-numbing chess and beating each other’s brains out in the boxing ring. A match between two competitors lasts up to eleven rounds, starting with a four minute chess round followed by two minutes of boxing. The first player to achieve a checkmate or a knockout is declared the winner.  Imagine that victory interview: “Well Erin, I may be bloodied and bruised with a broken nose, but I checked the HELL out of his king!”

Alternate Sport #5: Cheese Rolling

I’m pretty sure Cheese Rolling is the simplest, most self-explanatory sport ever created. Originating in England, a wheel of Double Gloucester cheese is rolled down a hill while competitors race to catch it. You’d think a grown man would be faster than cheese, right?  Well, first, the cheese is given a one second head start. But according to data, the rolling wheel can reach top speeds of 112 kilometers per hour.  While Cheese Rolling seems to be a harmless and easy activity, in 1997, the cheese veered off the designated path and actually injured a spectator. Someone should really teach the cheese wheel to follow the intended race route.

Alternate Sport #6: Ferret Legging

Having attended my share of frat parties during my time at UA, I’ve seen guys put all kinds of things in their jeans to get a laugh. I’d like to let the boys at the DKE house know that they can now put those hours of inebriated pants-stuffing practices to good use.  Popularized in Yorkshire, England (what is UP with the Brits and all their crazy sports??), male-only competitors tie their pants at the ankles and shove ferrets down their drawers. The men stand in front of judges who watch to see which competitor keeps the ferrets in his the longest. Record time? Five hours thirty minutes. The worst part of the test seems to be the rule forbidding the ferrets from having missing or filed teeth. OUCH.

While entertaining, I’m not sure that any of these sports could ever replace my love of football.  As much as I love cheese, I can’t imagine chasing it down a hill, and I’m pretty sure I’d break Jon’s back if we tried to enter the World Wife-Carrying Finals.  However, it would be nice to listen to Eli Gold’s description of ferret-legging: “The majestic ferrets are wearing coats the color of rich coffee, and on my left, your right, the competitors are lining up to begin this week’s test of endurance.”

It would also allow me to suggestively raise my eyebrows at the athletes and say, in all seriousness, “Is that a ferret in your pants, or are you just happy to see me?”

Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021.

One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines.

Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide.

Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports.

Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.