College football’s offseason is a little over three months old already, but that means there’s still five 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 other, non-college football sporting events. There’s also “this week in shame,” which you can view at the bottom of each piece.
Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale, by Stone Brewing Company in Escondido, CA (Black IPA, 8.7% ABV)
Stone’s aptly named beers — especially the IPAs — usually smack you in the mouth with rich, hoppy flavor, and this one’s no exception. Thick and floral, the Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale seems to create the perfect balance between aggressive hops and some delicious malt. Personally, I’d say the best place to give this one a whirl is at the actual brewery down in Escondido (just north of San Diego proper). But if that’s unrealistic for you, Stone beers are pretty generally available from your local distributor everywhere but West Texas, the Dakotas and Montana. In Southern California specifically, though, you have the best chance of finding it in 22-oz. bottles, four-packs or on draft (very select locations).
“Under the Tarnished Dome,” by Don Yaegar and Douglas Looney (1994)
By no means is this book a perfect examination of Notre Dame football in the 80s and 90s, but if you want a real, uncensored glimpse at how the program returned to prominence under former coach Lou Holtz, this is probably your best bet. Admittedly, there’s a lot more Holtz smearing that goes on there than anything else, but at the same time, you get to experience how his personality flaws as a coach greatly altered the foundations of the Fighting Irish. Rather than indulging in the typical Notre Dame myth-making, the book chooses to cast these notions aside in the pursuit of something sinister. With first-person accounts from over 120 former players, the claims here carry some mighty weight. If you’re an Irish fan, I’d avoid, but for others, it’s an interesting look at the program’s rarely-examined faults (some of which still apply today).
Raging Bull (1980)
I’d argue (probably to minimal resistance) that Raging Bull was Robert DeNiro’s best role, really for a variety of reasons. His character, Jake LaMotta, is a many-layered, flawed one, who takes and gives punishment to an equally-astounding extreme. For director Martin Scorsese and cinematographer Michael Chapman, the key is capturing the raw power of these moments without losing out on the complex human element — something they do to perfection in every single frame. More than just a sports movie (it would not have received its acclaim to-date if it could be boiled down to that simple a concept), it’s a movie about what drives an individual, for better or worse.
139th Kentucky Derby, Saturday, May 4 starting at 4 p.m. ET (NBC)
Are we going to see another horse pull up lame this year after wining the first two legs of the Triple Crown? The answer’s weeks away, but the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs is the first step in that quest. Last year, I could not find my way to an OTB to put money down on I’ll Have Another, so imagine my disgust when said horse one the Derby going away. Orb and Verrazano appear to be this year’s big favorites going in, but I like Palace Malice, if for no other reason than it conjures up images up Ron Artest’s ill-fated brawl in Detroit. Enjoy this one by dressing like a Derby-person… or just drink. Whichever suits you.
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.
What Would Ryan Lochte Do? or Married to Jonas (E!; On repeat all week)
Both of these shows are undeniably terrible, so let’s get that out of the way first. As you probably know, Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte is also the world’s biggest bro-douche, and as such, he has to have his own TV show. On said show, you watch him do stupid bro things and act like an idiot, with the only difference being he’s in a different city each time. This week, he’s in D.C., likely defacing parts of the our nation’s capital. On Married to Jonas, we watch what happens when a past-his-prime teen pop star marries a Jersey girl (and of course, since she’s Italian, you marry her entire family /sarcasm). Nothing new or different happens on any episode. It’s honestly just Kevin Jonas getting bitched at by his wife a lot. So if you’re into that, have at it.