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February 28, 2003

by Bill Hogan


Whew. Made it through another miserable February. I don't think it's a coincidence that February is the shortest month of the year. Somebody – a sportsfan with a lot of clout, maybe – suffering from the post-January-pre-March blues, must have decided to knock a few days off of the worst month of the year out of desperation.

Of course, that probably led to a pro-February demonstration followed by a long, drawn-out legal battle which gave way to the ultimate calendar compromise: leap year. (So next year we'll have to endure a 29th day of anguish.)


Hopefully, I shoveled the driveway for the last time; there'll be no more winter storm warnings (knock wood), no more black ice and no good reason to trek back down to Wal-Mart for more rock salt.

The doldrums that February brings make even the most outrageous sporting events seem appealing. Tonya Harding made her professional boxing debut on the under card of the Tyson-Etienne fight. Any other month, that fact would shoot straight to the top of the "who gives a hoot" list.

February can compel even the most conventional sportsfan to make unthinkable statements like "what's the next stop on the Pro Bowlers Tour?", "boy, that women's 9-ball championship was riveting" and "I can't believe FeFe the Toy Poodle didn't win the Best In Show Award".

I guess the last four weeks weren't a total loss. There was the latest Sports Illustrated Swim Suit issue to peruse. And I did stumble upon a trendy new fishing show on ESPN2 called Fish On!

A better name for the program might be Trolling for Catfish with Charlie's Angels. Three scantily dressed ladies - Deirdre, Tara and Michelle - posing as fishing "experts" cast for Marlin with Scott – the show's host who is dubbed the "Crocodile Hunter" of fishing.

The ladies spent most of the show adjusting the strings on their swimsuits while Scott did his best to keep a straight face when talking serious angling strategy with the bikini-clad trio. Usually, I'd rather watch water boil than sit through a half-hour fishing program but for some reason I was able to make it through the entire episode.

Though I'm not sure pretty women in swimsuits made from dental floss would have been enough to hold my attention had it not been February. And seeing Scott tan and shirtless only served as a grim reminder of how far I let myself go this winter. It's not a good sign when you have to unbutton your pants before you sit down to dinner.

The extra layer – or two – is helpful when the air is frigid and there's two feet of snow that needs to be removed before the kids can leave for school. But it's incredibly unsightly when sitting poolside in a Speedo.

There's no shortage of exercise equipment in my office, just a shortage of energy and motivation. (I have to thank Scott for helping provide some of the latter). I guess I could use the Ab-Buster2000 for something other than a foot rest.

And I'm sure I'd use the Stairmaster more often if I had another place to hang the family's winter jackets. The weight bench would come in handy but you gotta have some place to put wet mittens and foot warmers. Besides, the dumbbells have already been assigned door-stop duty.

I'll be coming up with excuses to slack off long after the winter-wear has been packed away. If things get too bad, I can get in on that law suit filed by eight fat kids against McDonalds. (I've had a Quarter Pounder with Cheese or two.)

I guess eating Big Mac's and super-sized fries every day has left them a little on the portly side. What a shock; it turns out a steady diet of deep-fried saturated fat may lead to obesity. These kids ever think about munching on a carrot stick once in a while?

Fat kids suing McDonalds is like me blaming Anheuser-Busch and Frito-Lay for my bulging waistline and high cholesterol.

750 words about catfish, exercise equipment and cheeseburgers – I bet you're as ready for March as I am. Still, it's better than watching Tonya Harding get her ass kicked and then whine about not being able to bring a tire iron into the ring.

Fret not sportsfans, the boys of summer are already honing their skills at a warm-weather training facility and March Madness is just around the corner.


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