If your weekends have involved watching football on TV for the last seven months, you are about to suffer some serious withdrawal.
If Friday nights, Saturdays, and Sundays have meant getting comfortable in your own living room (or the living room of an accommodating friend) or heading down the pub to enjoy the sight of muscular male bodies smashing into each other, get ready for a period of emptiness in your life.
The footy season builds up to the crescendo that is the finals series, getting more and more exciting by the week, until suddenly, about 30 minutes after the grand final is over, you suddenly realise there is no more football until next March.
But wait! Before you lurch into deep depression and start seriously contemplating watching competitive fishing... here are ten, almost-as-good-as-footy, ways to occupy your time now that the season is winding up:
1. Write the Great Australian Novel. Suggested blurb: The heart-warming tale of a charming Aussie everyman, who meets up with his mates every weekend to watch the footy. Laugh with the characters as they engage in hilarious blokey banter. Cry with them as their side misses out on the finals series, again. Ponder why you are reading about a bunch of guys sitting around in front of the television drinking beer. Are their banal larrikin 'adventures' a microcosm for life itself? Probably not.
2. Binge-watch a TV series, or several. If you haven't seen Hannibal, Sons of Anarchy, Hell on Wheels, Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire, Top of the Lake, House of Cards, The Sopranos, The Walking Dead, Homeland, The Wire or Deadwood, I suggest you start with one of those.
3. Carefully study the 'Guidelines for Rolling in Cricket' then roll a cricket pitch in your back yard. You will be the envy of friends and neighbours. Invite said friends and neighbours around to play a five-Test series over summer. (Note: you will need a steam roller for this one, but they are a cinch to get hold of).
4. Develop a healthy obsession with your favourite celebrity. The internet is a wonderful tool to facilitate this new 'hobby'. You can monitor his/her every movement via Twitter and TMZ. Send your celebrity idol hundreds of Tweets and, if you're lucky enough to be able to track down an email address, dozens of emails every day, to show how much you admire them. Write some good old-fashioned letters as well (and remember, traditional ink is boring — use your imagination!). If the police pop around for a visit, make sure the walls of your house are completely covered in pictures of the celeb, so they'll realise you're just a really, really big fan.
5. Buy a goat as a pet/companion/food source. It will provide you with gourmet, hipster milk and cheese (make sure it's a girl goat, or 'nanny') and keep the grass in your backyard cricket arena well tended. It can also field at fine leg, at a stretch. Don Burke has been good enough to provide this fact sheet that will tell you all you need to know about caring for your new friend. I haven't read it, but assume it's all pretty straight forward.
6. Buy a beer-making kit and chuckle as your mates writhe around with severe stomach cramps after sampling your home brew.
7. Create the illusion that you are an overzealous CrossFit fanatic. This will involve buying heaps of workout gear, including moisture-wicking compression shorts, specialised lifting shoes, velcro wrist wraps and lots and lots of lycra. Next you will need to pose for a myriad of pre and post workout pictures, sporting kettlebell weights and a look of steely resolve in your eyes (don't forget to drench yourself in fake sweat for the 'after' shots). Post those pictures on social media. All of them! Now post a bunch of inspirational quotes to let everyone know about your new-found moxie. After doing all this prep the thought might cross your mind to actually try some CrossFit. Forget about it. Firstly, you won't have time left in your schedule after spinning your elaborate web of lies, and secondly, have you seen how difficult that s**t is?
9. Are you at home right now? Turn to your left. Do you see someone sitting there? If not, try turning to your right. See a human form? That person may well be your significant other who you have been ignoring for the last eight months or so. This might sound a little crazy, but ask them if they would like to go for a drive somewhere, or out to dinner. Have a chat. Maybe make out for a while. Just generally acknowledge their existence. This suggestion might be too left-field for some, but why not give it a shot and see how it turns out? At least until footy season starts up again.
Image Credit: 90s Flashback