This is an archived article that was published on in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Summer is a blissful season — a time when it's possible to sit back on a warm evening with a cool drink (lemonade or something more "medicinal") and enjoy a baseball game or a soccer match.

Enjoy it now, sports fans, because once the World Series is done and MLS Cup is handed out, there will be a long drought for professional sports.

The National Football League's team owners began a lockout of its players in March, after negotiations over a collective bargaining agreement fell apart amid acrimony and legal battles. On June 24, the National Basketball Association's owners did the same thing with its players.

Barring a sudden outbreak of sanity — or, even less likely, an effort on the part of the billionaire owners to not kill the goose by squeezing out an extra golden egg — the fall and winter will be devoid of spectators' and TV viewers' most popular pro sports.

For people in Utah, of course, that means six months of not being able to watch, dissect and grouse about the actions of the Utah Jazz — or see whether former Brigham Young University star Jimmer Fredette can show his pro colors for the Sacramento Kings. For businesses that rely on Jazz games for revenue, from restaurants to team-merchandise vendors, the economic damage could be considerable.

So, what are sports fans going to do with all that free time? Here are some suggestions:

• Spend your NFL-free Sunday afternoons cleaning out the garage, painting the back porch, mowing the lawn or attending to those items on your "honey-do" list that you've never had time to do.

• Catch up on those episodes of "Breaking Bad" you TiVo'd. Doritos optional.

• Try to solve the 16-by-16 Super Sudoku puzzle printed in The Tribune's Sunday paper. (I firmly believe that no human being has ever actually solved one of these.)

• Go out for a walk, or a jog. Exercising during the three hours you usually spend watching a football game, and not mainlining Doritos, could save your life.

• Watch the National Hockey League. (OK, just kidding on that one. We know that will never happen. But if it does, pick a really obscure team to follow, like the Ottawa Senators.)

• Watch more college football. After all, it's almost the same as the NFL — just without an equitable method for choosing a national champion or fairly compensating their players. But the smug condescension of NCAA officials every time they use the words "student athletes" instead of "unpaid labor," as bowl officials spend millions on junkets while players get suspended for selling a jersey, more than makes up for it.

• Contemplate the folly of investing so much emotional capital in the athletic exploits of a 23-year-old man you have never met and are unlikely to meet — but whose name and team number you wear on your back (on that replica jersey you paid $89.99 for at the Fanzz store) and whose stats are more familiar to you than your children's birthdays. All this fan love until the moment he gets traded to Orlando, after which you never think of him again.

• Practice your 3-point shot. If the NBA comes looking for replacement players, you want to be ready.

• See those other people who occupy your house? That's your family. Talk to them. Go do things with them.

Sean P. Means writes The Cricket in daily blog form, at Follow him on Twitter, @moviecricket, or on Facebook: