Football fodder can help ease those back-to-school blues

Summer is over.

OK, not officially, at least according to the traditional seasonal calendar. But for all intents and purposes, the part of summer we all know and love has packed its bags and caught the last shrimp boat for the Southern Hemisphere.

Of course, no one is more affected ” or more traumatized ” by this annual reality check than students. Especially college students.

Summer vacation is supposed to be the period when the skull muscle is rested and then ultimately rejuvenated just in time each fall for another clash with the books.

But as is often the case ” just try to think back to when you were in college ” time seems to get away from you when you’re immersed in important endeavors like working on your tan or catching up on your sleep. Oh, and just when you think you’ve got the yips worked out of your putting game, it’s time to trade in the flat stick for a thinking cap.

Don’t be so melancholy. There are ways to soothe the shock and awe of another school year.

Remember, football season is upon us. Knew that would perk you up just a bit. Listen closely and we’ll figure this thing out together. Here is a short list of things one can do to survive the first few weeks of school without putting too much stress on the old noggin:

·         Join an NFL fantasy football league. Surely, one of your friends has been bragging the entire off-season about how he or she kicked tail last fall in fantasy football, and collected enough extra dough to pay two extra months of rent. The key with this deal is actually piecing together a team on draft day.

·         Hey, you’ve got to do your homework, know your personnel and analyze the draft board like some Wall Street broker guru dude. Of course, you don’t have to be a genius, or fantasy football wouldn’t be so popular. But this is definitely a good way to shake loose some of the cobwebs that collected over the summer.

·         Learn to play “Madden NFL 09.” Whether or not you are into Nintendo, PlayStation, Xbox or Wii, this is a way to stimulate the brain without overloading too much on actual knowledge. Pick your team, call the plays and celebrate your success ” at least that’s what the box says.

·         And because EA Sports, the maker of “Madden NFL 09,” has received thousands of complaints concerning issues with the game freezing too often in midplay, this option may also allow you to learn how to troubleshoot, which could really come in handy this semester with your laptop.

·         Read a book. Now, there’s a novel idea. Wait, wait, wait “¦ don’t get all defensive like that. We’re not talking about “War and Peace” or anything penned by Bill Shakespeare. Let’s read about, well, football. We’ve got the perfect book to gently ease you back into the scholastic world with a blend of history, nostalgia and fun. Check out the latest Whitman Publishing offering called “The University of Oklahoma Football Vault,” new to a bookstore near you.

What we have here is 144 pages of fun. There’s that word again. Not only does the reader get a sense of Sooner tradition through the descriptions of author Kenny Mossman, the pages are also filled with replicated mementos and keepsakes that make this read truly unique (and fun). This is a guaranteed page-turner. By the time you are finished, any aversion to books you previously harbored will have melted away.

So quit worrying about this school thing so much. Let the football season help ease your mind into the fall and beyond. Honestly, it’s that simple. “Jay C. Upchurch

Jay C. Upchurch

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