12/1/2010 1:00:00 PM
You’re awfully smug. You’re still basking in the afterglow of the WTF and looking forward to a Davis Cup final between France and Serbia that promises to be so heart-stopping that each ticket is being sold with a needle full of adrenaline to plunge into it, Pulp Fiction-style.
But then what?
That’s right. In just four days, the tennis season will be over. And then it’s nothing but a nuclear winter for the next month. What are you supposed to do now? Fear not, we can get through it together with the OFF-SEASON SURVIVAL GUIDE. Slip on a HazMat suit and take my hand, won’t you?
STEP 1. ACCEPT OUR FATE
Before we can move on with our lives, we need to face facts and grieve our loss. But it’s not easy. As Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, the GOAT of near-death studies, outlines in her 5 Stages of Grief, it can be a living hell. Individual rings of fire vary, but they look something like this:
Denial: OMG I’m totally happy the off-season is here, are you kidding me? I need a break! Besides, it’s not like there’s nothing going on. There are exhibitions, charity events. And thanks to Twitter I won’t be away from my faves for a second!
Anger: OMG it’s been a week already, WHERE IS MY TENNIS?! I’ll tell you where, at these stupid meaningless #@$% exos! If these big babies whining for a longer off-season are so damn tired, why are they on court at all?! Because they’re greedy! Greedy and liars and thank God for Twitter cuz now I can tell them I HATE YOU YOU PIGS!!!
Bargaining: OMG, what if we made the exos count for points! Why hasn’t anyone thought of that? And there are plenty of Challengers and Futures being played, right? Maybe FeVer and JJ will get bored and enter one of those! I’ll send them a tweet and beg. Hopefully they’re not blocking me anymore.
Depression: OMG, January is 1000 years away. Why even bother changing my underwear? Serena and A-Rod sound like they’re having so much fun on Twitter. They care more about Green Day and Tosh.0 than they do about me. What was it all for? What…was it for..?
Acceptance: OMG, I can’t fight it anymore. It’s the off-season. Pass me my drawers, I’m goin’ dancing.
STEP 2. GO OUTSIDE
For those unfamiliar, outside is where the TV isn’t. Now that you’ve buried and mourned tennis, it’s time to rejoin life! Family members will marvel at how healthy you look with a little more oxygen and a lot less crazy on your face. Some outdoor activities include:
Looking to join Martina on her climb?
* Hiking. It puts you in touch with nature. It’s also a great way to scout locations to bury bodies. Cuz someone’s gonna die.
* Climbing Mount Kilamanjaro. If Martina Navratilova can do it, why can’t you?
* Hitting the tennis court. Where else are you going to model that Venus can-can dress you bought “for a friend”? Bonus: When you crack your opponent in the face with your racquet during a botched swing volley, people will assume you were just really into the point and not temporarily quelling your murderous rage.
* Latch hook.
STEP 3. FOLLOW EXHIBITIONS
Okay fine, they’re meaningless, the players are barely trying and sometimes they can’t even be bothered to play an entire set. But it’s fresh tennis! Maria Sharapova and Vera Zvonareva are playing one in Monterrey this weekend. Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin are fake-throwing down on Dec 9. Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are playing two just before Christmas! You can pretend what happens on court plants psychological seeds for when they do meet up again and it actually matters. Which is a great way to drown out the voices in your head telling you to kidnap them and make them play for you in your back yard.
STEP 4. RECONNECT WITH FAMILY
You’ll need a practice run, and Jesus they’re getting on your nerves. Does chloroform really work, or is that just something from TV shows in the 80’s? Where do you even buy it? Thank God for the internet, right? Ha!
STEP 5. TAKE A HOSTAGE
If you can’t live without tennis, tennis can’t live without you. Kidding! We’re not going to hurt anyone! We just want them to perform for us like monkeys until the lambs stop screaming. If they refuse, that’s okay. Nothing makes the point that you want to jumpstart the ’11 season more than “borrowing” a player or two publicly. What’s Mario Ancic and Kaia Kanepi doing anyway? At the very least, players make great conversation pieces to help pass the time. “Hey, is that Robin Soderling tied up in the back of your ’84 Eldorado?” “It sure is.” “He’s taller in person.” “Right?”
STEP 6. RUN
Robin is crafty, he can untie a knot with his teeth. A little tip from me to you.
STEP 7. RELAX!
Oh, what fun we’ve had playing make believe. But the reality is, the off-season isn’t so scary! Embrace it, recharge your battery and come out swinging in ’11.
Alright who are we kidding, you’re going to take a life. So throw yourself into Davis Cup while you can, then pray like hell. Ajde, allez and God save us all.
Follow James at twitter.com/JamesLaRosa.