Commentary

Making the most of your winter break

Originally Published: January 1, 2010
By Mike Philbrick | Page 2

How are you enjoying the holidays so far? Taking any time off? Relaxing? Making a permanent mark of your butt cheeks in the couch? Good for you … but we need to ask you one question: Are you using this time to make yourself a better person?

Don't worry, we're not telling you to fire up your Kindle and download a truckload of self-help books. That's not our thing. At Page 2, our solutions to reach a higher spiritual being don't involve doing such taxing things as thinking or, for the most part, standing up.

So as we begin a new decade, there's no better time to launch the better you. Here are seven activities we've come up with that get you on the right path.

Fight Night
EA Sports 

1. Keep in touch with old friends

But how? Facebook? That's so last decade. Twitter? Sorry, no one really wants to follow you on Twitter -- time to face that reality. Now that we've given you so much unchecked anger about what your friends are thinking about you behind your back, there's only one thing left to do. And that's keep in touch with your "friends" by beating the living #$% out of them in Fight Night Round 4.

Think about it: Not only does punching real people in the face require you to leave your house, but also, if you do go that route, there are those court appearances for criminal battery (which will also force you to leave your house). So trust us, virtual beatdowns are the way to go. Stop "friending" people and start sending trash-talk-filled invites to meet you in the ring. You'll be a calmer and happier person for doing so.

Gillette
EA Sports 

2. Go back to school

The application process to get into grad school is like one big Ambien pill made of paper. Plus, it costs thousands of dollars in tuition alone. So why go through with that? For $39 on Amazon.com, you can get your EA MBA when you buy "Madden 10."

Forget your Madden IQ, the Tron-esque trainer and all your gridiron glory. Your real education starts when the playing stops in Front Office Mode. Not only do you need to deal with resigning players and hiring and firing your coaches (FYI, according to my Franchise Mode, in 2018 Wes Welker will be available to lead your team) but you also need to deal with your stadium issues. Things like, do I want a European bistro on Deck 2? What about satellite dishes? They're $31.25 million to install and $5 million to maintain every year. And sponsorships -- apparently Vandelay World Bank is offering $9 million for four years. Don't relax, it says here they expect you to get to the Super Bowl. Finally, if you're fed up with all this, go ahead and move your team. Apparently San Juan would do anything to get a franchise. Fine, sold -- but wait, you need to secure financing and get final approval.

See what I mean? You're smarter just for reading that. There was one glitch in the game. In 2018, the Lions win the NFC crown -- but that wasn't the problem. Apparently in 2018, Brett Favre is retired. We'll believe it when we see it.

[+] EnlargeNight Vision Goggles
Infinity Ward/Activision  

3. Avoid seasonal affective disorder

More commonly known as SAD, this is a form of depression in which people get the blues in the winter months. Well, as Vinny Del Negro has taught us, when life hands you lemons, deny that they even exist.

So go ahead and get a jump on your New Year's resolution of getting in shape. Play some pickup hoops. Go hit a few golf balls. Oh, right … it gets dark at 4:30 p.m. That's why you need to pick up the "Modern Warfare 2" Prestige Edition. No, not to become Soap MacTavish; you want this one for the working night-vision goggles. Yes, they work, and it's like July in Anchorage when you go outside with these bad boys.

And if the thought of physical activity is too much for you to handle right now, just go outside on trash night and stare at your neighbors. At the very least people will be scared of you. Health benefits aside, isn't that the real reason why most of us work out at all?

Beer Pong
BPONG, LLC  

4. Take a road trip

All right, get off the couch and stop playing "Modern Warfare." We said we wouldn't make you stand up much, but this is for your own good. Get in the car, because we're going to Vegas. Yes, we said we were going to make you a better person (well, in our eyes, anyway) so what better place to make this happen than Sin City. So bring your working elbows and your love of cups joined together in triangles: It's time for the World Series of Beer Pong.

First off, you better hurry up because it runs Jan. 1-5. Second, what better way to start the new decade than surrounding yourself with people who play beer pong for a $50,000 grand prize? If you're truly committed to self-improvement, these are the kinds of priorities and values you need to soak in. For the soaking, we recommend the pitcher. One more thing: If you do find yourself playing in one of the unofficial side games, don't drink anything handed to you by this guy.

Table Hockey
ITHF  

5. Become a professional athlete

So you've beaten up your friends, educated yourself, scared your neighbors into submission and gotten a taste of the high life (literally) in Vegas. Now the next logical step is to throw your amateur status out the window and declare yourself a pro athlete. And there's no better place for you than the International Table Hockey Federation.

Why the ITHF? Well, the Americans could really use your help, and … what else did you think you could do? You're the one who just spent three hours staring at your neighbors while wearing night vision goggles. Also, we've all played this game, so why not figure out a way to not be lying next time you tell someone at a party "What do I do? I'm a professional athlete." Wow, look at yourself -- you are already a giant bucket of betterness, and 2010 is only hours old. Well done.

1 vs 100
Microsoft 

6. Join a community group

Whoa, don't lose faith in us. We're not talking about anything like sitting in a room with other people. Yikes, that's so pre-Al Gore. It's 2010, it's time to live your life the way the Constitution says you can -- anonymously and with a crazy made-up name like PhunkPhactoryPhever. So lean forward (only if you're up to it) and fire up the Xbox 360 once again; it's time to join the mob.

No, not the one with cement shoes and 50 dudes names Paulie -- the mob in 1 vs 100. It's an online trivia game (a free one, by the way) and one of the few places on the planet where all your reading of Page 2 will have value. After all, we're the only ones who taught you answers to questions like "Which of these NHL stars wasn't linked to Anna Kournikova?" and "When was the last time the Detroit Lions made the playoffs?" See, we've been making you a better person all along.

[+] EnlargeJedi Game
Hammacher Schlemmer  

7. Find religion

Now that you've cleansed your mind, body and soul, it's time for you to enter the final level of our improvement plan. It's time you became a Jedi.

Yes, you can go through all the teachings of the church, but we have a fast track for you. You need to pick up the Jedi Mind Control Game to truly learn the ways of the Force. This game instrument of wisdom consists of a headset that reads your brain waves and a tube with a ball inside that you control by simply thinking about it. Short version: It teaches you to use the Force. Once you've mastered this and achieved official Jedi status, the sky is the limit. Soon you'll be saying things like "just like Beggar's Canyon back home" and be only 67 percent as dorky as you were when you said it before.

Think about the possibilities. The fridge? Don't get up and walk 15 feet … feel the beverage coming to you. Remote controls? The arduous pressing of buttons is over … think the channel. Surfing ESPN.com? Ugh, the relentless stress of clicking the mouse is now a thing of the past.

So there you have it. Seven steps to a wicked-awesome you. Are you up for the challenge? If you aren't, seriously, go see a doctor, because that is just sad. Anyway, happy new year.

Mike Philbrick is an editor for Page 2. You can contact him at michael.w.philbrick@espn3.com but never, ever on Twitter.

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Mike Philbrick | email

Grantland contributor
Mike Philbrick is an editor for Grantland.