“Everybody’s got to believe in something. I believe I’ll have another beer.” – W.C. Fields

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If you’ve been listening to the sports talk call-in shows, you may be getting the feeling that it’s going to be a long season for the Steelers. Also that Todd Haley couldn’t find various parts of his anatomy with both hands. And that Roethlisberger and Polamalu are about to check into assisted living facilities.

The Pirates had another great season, but let’s face it, they didn’t get as deep into the post-season as they did last year. Our Bucs were given the bum’s rush by the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner, may he lose 20 mph off his fastball, and get an angry raptor stuck in one of those satellite dish ears of his.

The Pens came out of the chute like Secretariat with a hotfoot, but it’s a long season, right? And what’s up with Pitt? They lost their last three, most recently to Virginia, and they’re about to play another Virginia team, Virginia Tech. The bad news is that of the two, this is the one that beat Ohio State in Columbus.

So now is the early autumn of your discontent. The godfather might tell you, “act like a man!” but it’ll probably be easier for you to act like an Idler. Why? Because he’s been there. The Idler feels your pain because he has rooted in vain for Steeler teams coached by Buddy Parker, 51 – 47, Mike Nixon, 2 – 12, and Bill Austin, 11 – 28.  He was there for The Pirates era of Gene Lamont, 295 – 352, and Lloyd McClendon, 336 – 436. We even remember certain mumbled curses directed at Bobby Bragan 102 – 155, probably by a grandfather, although Grandma Idler was famed for her occasional uninhibited colloquialism. Armed with this experience, and with the horrifying memory of having to sit through a chick flick called “Eat Pray Love”, the Idler herewith delivers his tips for surviving a stinko sports year:

Drink – There was some recently published research to the effect that ten percent of the population represent problem drinkers who consume about 60% of all alcohol sold. If you are among this over-achieveing contingent, this is not directed at you and you are too smashed to be reading it anyway. It’s for you ordinary tipplers who are a little despondent after a loss. Get yourself a cold one. Buy one for the dejected guy sporting the big foam rubber Number One hand. Maybe Flacco will sprain an eyebrow and miss the rematch.

Pray – This is probably easier for Catholics who have all sorts of specialty “patron” saints they can call upon to intercede for them. St. Jude is a long-time Pirate fan favorite  as the patron saint of hopeless causes. He finally came through for last year’s team, and it looks like he’s still on the job. Ask him to pencil the Steelers into his sked. For adherents of other faiths and denominations, just work your pipeline to the divine and don’t let anyone tell you the Almighty has more important things than sports to worry about. Ask Bill Mazeroski if the Great Scorer was too busy for sports back in October, 1960.

Golf – This can be a challenge, especially if, to borrow David Feherty’s immortal phrase, your swing looks like “an octopus falling out of a tree.” What you do is get a Sunday afternoon tee time, set your DVR to record the game and decide if you want to watch it afterwards. For the most recent Steelers – Browns game you could immediately erase it and instead have another beer. Think of all the creepy Viagra commercials you’ll miss.

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