By Rex O’Rourke

THE BRONX, N.Y. – Nobody likes a rain-out; not the players, the fans, the networks, or anyone relying on the game as the subject of a written article. Within my bubbling cauldron of ideas, my petri dish of material, there’s always something to rant about. Today we have a tutorial for the sports obsessed:

    Rex’s Guide To Staying In A News Blackout

In the DVR/TIVO era, occasionally life runs into overtime and keeps us from our appointed rounds as fanatics, face painters, tailgaters, and foam finger wearers. Thanks to our trusty recording devices, we can now attend Little Jimmy’s soccer game, drop by Grandma’s birthday brunch, or tend to a long ignored household chore, free in the knowledge that technology has “got our back.” The problem lies within the Catch 22 nature of our modern world. The very inventions that make our lives easier can also derail our ability to remain blissfully unaware of the sports story unfolding without our knowledge.

Here are a few tips to staying in a news blackout (Failure increases exponentially with each minute so try and get to the DVR/TIVO as quickly as possible):

  • Avoid bars and taverns. This is blasphemous, I know, but it’s the first place you’ll find news you don’t want to hear.
  • Turn off your cell phone. Even ID’ing the caller can reveal the number of someone who loves to call you when your squad gets scored upon, therefore giving something away.
  • Spread The Word: Make sure anyone you’re about to come in contact with is given the information that you don’t know what’s going on with the game. If they are the sadistic type that likes to spoil things for you, avoid them at all costs. Even the slightest facial expression can give something away. You could be a Giants hating Eagles fan, and with just one smile from a tormentor, you’ll know your squad is losing. Remember, the bigger the smile, the bigger the deficit.
  • When in public, never talk about sports with anyone not in on the blackout. They may know something. Stick to subjects like quilting or scrap-booking. Don’t talk about anything that could morph into a conversation about sports. Even something as innocuous as cooking could lead to a chili recipe, then football, then disaster.
  • Buckle up and make sure your car radio is off.
  • Beware the Blackberry: Anytime anyone looks at a Blackberry, or any hand held device, make sure… never mind just take the device and throw it in some water. That should do the trick.
  • Avoid eye contact with anyone in team apparel of any kind.
  • Nobody’s home: Don’t answer the door.
  • Silence Is Golden: Keep your answering machine volume off. This is a huge rookie mistake and easily remedied.
  • There. With these helpful hints you should be able to get to the TV secure in the knowledge that you know nothing of the events that just unfolded. Zip through the endless pregame and commercials and you should be “caught up” in no time. Then and only then, you can turn on your phone, fire up your answering machine, and allow human contact. After all, you don’t want anyone thinking you’re N-V-T-S nuts!

    As for the picks, I stand a 14-4, and have some lead pipe locks. I have a feeling The Patriots (-14.5) are really going to run it up on The Buccaneers in front of a rowdy British crowd. I’m going to ride the wave with The Saints (-6) over THE DOLPHINS. I love THE TEXANS (-3) over The 49ers.

    Until next week,

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