Let’s be honest: The college basketball offseason is decidedly not great. In the event that scheduling news, transfer updates or new uniform releases aren’t fulfilling — if these tidbits do, then by all means, keep doing you — the offseason could be a bleak time.
But the offseason doesn’t have to suck. If anything, time away from college basketball can help us fans promote self-care. For those unfamiliar with self-care, here are a few tips to clear your head space, develop healthy habits and better yourself. Who knows? You might even enjoy time away from the hardwood.
Tip 1: Reflect on the good times
Self-reflection? Extremely good. Remembering UMBC beat Virginia? Even better.
Everything is healthy in moderation; if you get too caught up in the past, then you could be reminded of old haunts.
Tip 2: Reconnect with loved ones
Surprisingly enough, the offseason has a myriad of opportunities to reconnect with old friends. Either the NBA Summer League or TBT provide non-stop basketball action in late June and early July. For the former, rosters are usually chock full of undrafted, mid-major heroes, or old friends who have returned to the states in search of cracking an NBA roster. The latter, on the other hand, has been a joyous reunion for Gonzaga, VCU and a plethora of other mid-major schools that have sent alumni teams to the million-dollar sweepstakes.
Watching this mix of new and old players we love can be a great way to reconnect with the past without getting too nostalgic.
Tip 3: Go outside
Spending weeks indoors is relatively easy for a college basketball fan — especially during the months of February and March. Lazing in a comfortable blanket in front of the TV, vegging out and then rallying to cheer for the hometown team is the stuff that (retirement) dreams are made of.
Don’t get me wrong: the indoor lifestyle can be very comforting. But as someone who spent most of his winter break in the Big West Bunker (a.k.a. a windowless room in my parents’ house with a queen bed, three (3) candles and a ton of pillows) twice a week and messed up his body clock, I can attest to the perils of becoming a hermit. It’s fun until it’s not.
Going outside and storing up on Vitamin D is incredibly easy to do in the offseason. Extreme humidity and sweltering heat aside, summers are usually the best times to go outside and be active. Speaking of being active...
Tip 4: Exercise
Benefits of exercise reach far beyond recapturing THE GLORY DAYS or fitting into a slimmer pair of pants. Science has proven that exercise is a great way to de-stress and release endorphins — so if Nevada fans are a little high-strung after their string of bonkers comebacks in the NCAA Tournament, perhaps a nice jog around Idlewild Park could help soothe your mind.
Who knows? Burning off some of those Saturday night beers, buckets of popcorn and mounds of tortilla chips might be enjoyable. If inspiration is required to get on that bicycle at 5 a.m. or finally use that gym membership, consider some of our favorite players from this season. Jock Landale slimmed down between his sophomore and junior seasons, then budded into a star for Saint Mary’s. Loyola University of Chicago’s Cameron Krutwig shed 30 pounds before turning in an impressive freshman campaign.
Besides, champions are made in the offseason. Go outside and put up some shots! (Ed. Note: Or run a half-marathon like Chris (don’t actually do this)).
Tip 5: Read
The offseason doesn’t have to be high-intensity all the time. Filling the college basketball vacuum with reading can help sharpen the mind, kill time and maybe learn something new along the way. We at Mid-Major Madness will try our best to keep the content machine running, but here are a few longer reads to help pass the time:
- And the Walls Came Tumbling Down: Kentucky, Texas Western, and the Game That Changed American Sports by Frank Fitzpatrick
- Boys Among Men: How the Prep-to-Pro Generation Redefined the NBA and Sparked a Basketball Revolution by Jonathan Abrams
- Bracketology: Science Behind the NCAA Tournament Selection Process by Eli Boettger
- The Last Amateurs by John Feinstein
- When March Went Mad: The Game that Transformed Basketball by Seth Davis
Tip 6: Don’t be afraid to talk
The stigma around seeking psychiatric help, or merely opening up about one’s feelings, is rather unnecessary. It’s 2018. Let’s change this.
Perhaps you’re a Vermont fan win need of venting about having a near-perfect season in the America East amount to a what-could-have-been scenario. Or maybe you or a loved one needs to verbalize your frustrations about Saint Mary’s questionable non-conference scheduling, Middle Tennessee’s NCAA Tournament snub or Old Dominion, New Mexico or UC Santa Barbara’s questionable absences in the postseason.
The sting of loss — whether it’s losing your leading scorer to the Power 5, your coach to UConn or another season floundering in mediocrity — is oftentimes too much to handle alone. Talking with a trusted, qualified listener can work wonders. Don’t be afraid to open up; people love you and want you to be heard.
Tip 7: Forget college basketball entirely
Breaks are good. It’s okay to log off, catch up on sleep and disconnecting from college basketball completely. Don’t let fear of missing out on the newest grad transfer scoop, multi-team tournament event or FBI development cause any unnecessary anxiety. After all, having a clear mind in time for Nov. 9 is key.