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Locked out

Andrew Gastelum | Thursday, August 25, 2011

You know that old motivational speech where the coach tells you not to let your opponent come into your house and steal your momma’s television? Well, what happens when you can’t get into the house because you lost the keys?

Just ask the NFL, the NBA, Spain’s La Liga or Italy’s Serie A.

Or maybe you just shouldn’t, because coaches aren’t allowed to talk to players during a lockout.

It is such a bewildering state of circumstances that four of some of the world’s grandest leagues turned over the chairs and shut off the lights at some point this summer. Even more bewildering is the thought of what we would be doing if seasons were/are actually cancelled.

Where would our country be if the NFL went into a lockout? Probably a depression. A battle of billionaires vs. millionaires took over a hundred days to get resolved but no one was really worried — a $9 billion-per-year industry isn’t just going to fold with that kind of money on the line.

But what if it did? Would we walk out of Mass at the Basilica on a Sunday morning and go straight to the Stadium to watch the Michigan State game? College football undoubtedly would have benefitted from the “unfortunate” loss of their weekend brethren, probably enough to churn out a few extra prayers from athletic directors across the country.

Speaking of prayers, one can only imagine what Turkish and Chinese basketball team directors are doing right now. All we know is that the Turkish league all-star game is going to be pretty wild this year with Deron Williams, Kobe Bryant and Sasha Vujacic (does Maria even like Turkey?).

But if you think the situation would have been bad here, think about Spain and Italy’s current predicament: Their beloved soccer leagues drenched in history (and surely lots of garlic) are on strike over wages.

The likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are certainly outside of team headquarters — this instant — in the cold and rain chanting and picketing with signs over the mere millions that they are barely getting by on.

If you think it would have been bad here if the NFL season was in true jeopardy, how do you think the Spaniards and Italians are feeling, where soccer is their first, second and third favorite sport to watch (and a close tie for fourth with Formula One racing and basketball)? That’s true desperation over there, where they can’t even change the channel to watch their favorite sons and NBA stars Ricky Rubio and Danilo Gallinari play ironically because of — say it with me — a lockout.

And what are we supposed to do if basketball season makes like a tree? Obviously the answer is watch more football, but after football season is over and the dreary winter months pick up, the only alternatives are to watch more hockey or study more.

Looks like our GPA’s will be going up.


The views expressed in this Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Andrew Gastelum can be reached at agastel1@nd.edu