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Commentary, Justin Feil At first there are the cold sweats... Then the confusion and restlessness...Followed by the dry mouth... These are the signs of withdrawal for the sports junkie. Fearsome and terrible, like Jim Carroll's heroine withdrawal symptoms portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in The Basketball Diaries, they spring upon us. Carroll lived to tell about them, and sports junkies will recover, too. It's only, six...Omigosh, almost 10 weeks away! The onset of such symptoms began just days ago with the sounding of the final horn in Chicago's United Center. Statistics scream that there are more instances of spousal abuse on the day of the Super Bowl than any other day of the year, but I can't imagine that they truly are counting that day in mid-June when all the "good" sports come to a sudden and definite halt. Maybe the numbers are too staggering. But maybe it's because not everyone seizes the bitterness of the moment at the same time. (In no way, do I or The Summer Pennsylvanian condone spousal abuse.) If you aren't paying attention, it might take a day or two to realize: "Hey, there's nothing on TV anymore." And it stays that way until the NFL season begins in late August. Let's be honest. Who watches the NFL preseason for more than a quarter of any game? Furthermore, it's these odd years that cause the most distress. There isn't an Olympics, or even a World Cup, to fill up the evening hours for any true-blue sports fan. Now, I know what everyone is saying. The obvious -- "What about baseball?" What about baseball? Even before the strike, it didn't quite take a front seat to a trip to Baskin Robbins. The strike only gave everyone time to sit back and realize that things aren't that much different without those 60 mid-season games. Besides, I'm a Phillies fan -- enough said. Golf? Even if Tiger did win every time, he would have to add a lot more Happy Gilmore-esque pranks to prompt any sort of television time investment in that snail-paced sport. Soccer? It's one of the many sports that is so much better to play than to watch. Tennis? Same idea. Swimming? Ditto. WNBA? Basketball is fun to watch, but not that fun. What we are left with, then, is a hodgepodge of "lesser" sports or, in many cases, the newest activity to be named a sport. Mostly, this means that ESPN pushes up their 1 a.m. programming into the prime time block. Thus, dear channel seven begins this week to load its evening lineup with such heavy hitters as billiards, equestrian shows and extreme sports. Unless they bring in Bill Walton for color commentary -- "Make a shot! Minnesota Fats hasn't run the table in two straight matches" -- there's no way anyone seeking any entertaining sport will tune in. What could be moved up, however, is everyone's favorite -- replays of the World's Strongest Man competitions, hosted by Brent Musberger. Even so, these reruns get old after a while. To pass the ten weeks, some entertaining sport deserves the prime airtime. With no sport in sight that is entertaining enough, however, we are forced to turn our sights to entertainment that passes as sport. And nothing says "entertainment as sport" better than...professional wrestling. Most any sports junkie can see that these men, though athletic, are no more than "glorified stunt men," as Curt Schilling might say. Yet in the weeks ahead, even the most dedicated sports hounds can sniff out the parallels between their favorite sports that leave a two-month gap and pro wrestling, a 12-month circus. Pro wrestling has the continuing saga of forged partnerships and bitter feuds that make any sport's free agency dealings look tame. The victor's music played after each match reminds us of the beloved Olympic tradition. The distracting and oft-times manipulative managers are no different than the sports world's George Steinbrenners, Al Davises or Jerry Joneses. There is plenty of crossover. Who but the Nature Boy, Ric Flair, could have taught A.J. Foyt that chop he used to fell Arie Lyundyk two weeks ago? The continual ferrying into the ring of celebrity athletes -- from the football, basketball and even ultimate fighting worlds -- provides the most visible connection between the two worlds. No, Monday Nitro won't ever replace Monday Night Football, and it doesn't have to. But for now, for these next 10 weeks, while the entertaining sports world is on hold from it's most avid consumers, the WWF and the WCW may be the best kind of medicine to stave off those withdrawal symptoms.

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