College football’s offseason is two months old already, but that means there’s still a little under six months until the 2013 season. It’s an eternity for any college football fan, and while many of us indulge in watching other sports, it just can’t compare to fall Saturdays.
With that in mind, we bring you the latest installment of our weekly feature, “Build a Better Offseason.” Every seven days or so, we’ll provide recommendations on what to do with all your free time now that you’re not all-consumed by college football, specifically focusing on beers, books, movies and sporting events. There’s also “this week in shame,” which you can view at the bottom of each piece.
He’Brew Funky Jewbelation, by Shmaltz Brewing Company in Saratoga Springs, NY (American Strong Ale, 9.8% ABV)
Pricey, and certainly not something you’d try more than a few times, He’Brew Funky Jewbelation is an interesting brew from Shmaltz. For those in the Syracuse area, it’s made just a couple hours away, but I’ve only had it here in Southern California (found both on tap and at BevMo in 22 oz. bottles). From a flavor standpoint, Funky Jewbelation is a dark pour that reeks of the rye whiskey and bourbon barrels it’s been aged in (in the best way). Warm and rich, it’s a dark pour that provides conflicting tastes of the aforementioned bourbon, along with brown sugar and some fruity notes as well. I’d recommend splitting this one with a friend, since it can feel like a meal.
“Loose Balls,” by Terry Pluto (1991)
The American Basketball Association was one of the most colorful, fascinating (and bankrupt) sports organizations to ever exist. And it’s also created much of what we love about today’s NBA game (for those of us who are avid fans, anyway). Pluto’s accounts — from what is probably a few hundred first-person sources — gives the most in-depth and fun look at the league that’s ever been written. Whether you’re a fan of one of the four surviving ABA teams (Nets, Spurs, Nuggets, Pacers) or not, after reading “Loose Balls,” you find yourself rooting for them and the league, despite the latter’s demise many years ago.
Children of Men (2006)
Regardless of your thoughts on Clive Owen, Children of Men still manages to be a powerful film that firmly examines humanity’s strengths and weaknesses, while hitting on the all the key points we’d look for in a movie about an apocalyptic not-so-distance future. From faith (religious and otherwise) to trust and our response in the face of dire circumstances, it morphs back and forth from societal commentary to psychological thriller (and then, action movie) in a way that’s both deeply thoughtful and navigable at the same time.
Championship Week on ESPN Networks (various times all week)
Once it hits March, I doubt sports fans (casual or otherwise) need to be directed to college basketball, but here we go anyway. While the big conferences will be the highlight later on this week, some of my favorite moments actually come from Championship Week’s early returns. Leagues like the Atlantic 10, Southern Conference, Horizon League and others are completely wide-open — the type of “anything can happen” madness that draws us all to college football (and college sports) to begin with, except on display for weeks on end. If you’re around a TV, my only recommendation is simply to watch (especially the small schools) and enjoy.
This Week in Shame
Like most guys in a committed relationship, I’ve unwillingly seen my fair share of horrendous reality television (usually propagated by Bravo or ABC), and every so often become interested in what goes on within the program. This is a safe space to point out those programs while providing a quick FAQ for those unacquainted already.
The Bachelor: “Finale” – Monday, March 11 at 8 p.m. ET (ABC)
Our second look into the world of the Bachelor here, and I’ll readily admit, there’s not a whole lot worth watching this week — save for the final hour when we find out if bachelor Sean is still with his girl of choice (likely not). Though the final episode isn’t nearly as awkward as the hometown dates (a random guy rolling up to dads he just met, asking to maybe marry their daughters if he doesn’t pick some other chick), it still has plenty of “interesting” moments. From the preview, it appears Sean’s mom isn’t a fan of him getting engaged and I have a feeling that, plus one of the girls just up and leaving, throws a big wrench in come decision time at the end. I’d wager thousands on him not being engaged right now.