Digger's Summer Survival Guide

"Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac... It's in the hole! It's in the hole! It's in the hole! " -Carl Spackler

Are you going through Rangers hockey withdrawal yet? No, not quite yet huh? Being able to watch the Stanley Cup Finals is helping you get your hockey fix. And it helps to speculate and fantasize about the upcoming draft and the free agent market. But just how long will that last? What happens after two teams left standing becomes one and the holy grail of our sport is hoisted into the air by bearded men who are no longer just men, but champions. What happens after we watch the Canucks or the Bruins pass the cup from teammate to teammate as their respective fanbase and city go absolutely batshit crazy? I’ll tell you what happens. You will get hungry for Rangers hockey and you will long for the day the Rangers laugh and smile through their playoff beards as champions.

I don’t know when that glorious day will come, but I do know that there will be hockey in the fall. So how do we endure the late spring/summer drought? Join me for your summer survival guide after the jump…

Other "Sports" Strategy. Believe it or not there are other professional sports that occur when hockey isn’t being played. I tend to believe that all other sports are just one gigantic hoax cooked up by the government but that may very well be a product of all of the airplane glue I was exposed to as a child. Major League Baseball, MLS, golf, tennis, and beer pong are among some of the more popular summer sports. None of them are quite as exciting as hockey (though I do hear that some of the ladies who play tennis wear some rather provocative outfits) but they all have a charm of their own. Baseball is a great if you like math, chewing tobacco, and men fondling themselves on a mound of dirt. Soccer is great if you like being confused by silly rules and wondering why everyone acts as if they’ve been shot whenever they are grazed by another player. Golf is… well golf is golf. If you like sporadic grunting and women wearing short white dresses, tennis is the sport for you. Beer Pong is a lot like tennis but often the grunting part happens afterwards.

Fake Hockey Strategy. Whether it be you playing as the virtual New York Rangers all summer long on your Xbox 360 or PS3 or meticulously researching and preparing yourself for fantasy hockey you can escape into the world of fake hockey until the season starts. There is no shame in playing video game hockey. At least as the video game Rangers you can get the team a powerplay goal (one-timer motherfuckers). Fantasy hockey is plenty of fun, and you have to start planning on who you are going to draft and who might be the sleeper picks. The best part about starting to strategize for your fantasy hockey draft early is that all of the work you do now will almost certainly be obsolete when players switch teams and/or retire during the offseason. Then you get to enjoy doing it all over again! Another way to pass the time with "fake hockey" is to book a flight to the jungle and capture as many monkeys as you can. Smuggle them back stateside and have your wife/girlfriend help you knit tiny little Rangers jerseys for them. Spend the summer teaching them how to skate and shoot a puck, rewarding them with monkey treats. If you can’t find enough monkeys children will do just fine too (they also enjoy monkey treats). Also works well with bears (especially in the Soviet Union).

Offseason Psychosis Strategy. Drive yourself (and others) crazy by researching the free agent market and prospects in the upcoming draft and telling everyone everywhere who you think the Rangers should sign/draft and why. If you really want to drive everyone crazy just ignore the difference between an RFA and an UFA. Better yet, suggest how the Rangers can acquire players who have almost no chance of being traded like Rick Nash or Anze Kopitar. If you do this enough you will almost ensure the abuse of alcohol in at least George and Digger (George is a lot more fun when he drinks… Digger just sleeps).There is no shame in playing GM a little bit, we all do it. Just remember kids, suggesting next year's roster and how to put it together is a lot like alcohol... it should be enjoyed responsibly, in moderation, in appropriate company, and not while driving.

Girardi Blackout Strategy. There is a game you can play this offseason called "The Dan Girardi Blackout". What you do is print a picture of Dan Girardi and tape it to a wall. Stare into Girardi’s eyes for as long as you can. Don’t blink. After a certain point everything will go black and you will wake up months (possibly years) later covered in sweat, curled up in the fetal position, shivering and whimpering. By then the season will have probably started, just make sure to hook up an IV to your arm before the process and wear an adult diaper.

Hibernation Strategy. Similar to the Girardi Blackout Strategy, the concept here is to grab all the bottles of water (and beer), bags of chips, beef jerky, canned foods, DVDS, and reading material you can find, and a bucket (for human waste), and retreat into a basement or a cave until the fall. This strategy is made convenient because of things like the internet, TV dinners, Xbox 360, and Netflix which enable a person to not come into contact with other human beings for weeks on end. If you are an anti-social creature or burn easily in the sun this may very well be the offseason survival strategy for you. There are risks that come with this strategy however; a blackout, food shortage, full shit bucket, or crappy internet service could force you out of your fortress of solitude and back into the cruel, fast-paced, unforgiving social world where they frown at people who haven’t bathed in weeks and are carrying an overflowing bucket of their own excrement. Be sure your cave/basement/remote island has reliable internet and plenty of electrical outlets. Also be sure to check any caves for bears. I hear those guys can be real assholes (when they aren’t playing hockey in the Soviet Union).

Functioning Adult Strategy. Of course, you could spend your summer enjoying some time with your family, catching up on some reading, going to the beach whenever you can, barbecuing, and having a few adult drinks with friends and family. And no offseason would be complete and/or tolerable without staying informed with the latest Rangers news and discussion here at Blueshirt Banter.

Personally I will be using almost all of these strategies (I have looked into Dan Girardi's eyes one too many times and will certainly be trapped in a dark, terrible place if I stare into them again) to get through the summer. We all have our ways of getting through hockey withdrawal. When you start scratching at your veins and screaming into the cool, quiet summer nights, "Bugs! Under my skin! Bugs everywhere!" you know you have it bad. Hopefully this summer won't feel quite as long and drawn out as the others in terms of hockey withdrawal. But I do hope that you all have a long, happy, safe, healthy, and fun summer. Be sure to drop by often, the season never ends at Blueshirt Banter.

So how will you be spending the summer and avoiding hockey withdrawal?

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