Wednesday, July 13, 2011 are you enjoying the lockout?

It's been a long while since my last post here, although for those that follow on Twitter (@packfansunited ... you can click the Twitter link here in the righthand column, as well ... a-hem) you know that I've been more active there of late. Most tweets (or re-tweets), but not all, are football related. The most exciting tweets of note the last several days had to do with that other kind of football -- or futbol, as called in some part of the world -- we in the U.S. call soccer. Specifically, the U.S. Women's World Cup team. They're headed to the finals after a thrilling quarterfinal game against Brazil and nearly as an exciting semifinal match against France. To be honest, I've never been a big soccer fan. But I am a sports fan. Friends know I will likely watch anything if it's competitive and interesting enough. And that's been the story on this World Cup stuff. So...yeah, I'm enjoying this level of competition. But will I watch any of the pro soccer league matches that get televised? Hmmmm...doubt it. Without a local or national connection with a team, c'mon, what's the point of watching?

Anyway, hadn't really intended to go off on this tangent about soccer. But on the other hand, it is an indicator of the general boredom football fans everywhere are experiencing as the lockout drags on and on.

Depending upon which reports you read or hear about, things are either really close to getting a deal done or are still miles apart. If there is an encouraging bit of news it seems to be that more pundits are apparently suggesting that they see the lockout over before the end of July. If so, most training camps would start close to on time, unless there was a built-in period for free agent signings before camps get underway. Some speculate that two pre-season games may be wiped out because of the timing of these things, if and when the deal does get finalized. Most players wouldn't mind that, although with teams missing perhaps the equivalent of up to two months of various workouts and organized team activities, you can figure things will be sloppy for quite a while, probably through as many as four to six games of the regular season.

The players who will be hurt most in this whole situation, of course, are the rookies. They have the most to learn and will have the least amount of time to learn it. Rookie impact players, one might expect, will be few and far between, although as the season goes on, as with the case of Packers RB James Starks last season, we will get glimpses of what might lie ahead. And the ironic thing is that, if you believe some of the reports, the area of negotiations that is currently hanging things up is regarding rookie compensation and length of contracts.

But others will also be hurt if this lockout drags on: communities and businesses that serve team training camps, wherever they might be. Lots of financial impact in these places will go bye-bye if the training camps are shortened or done away with altogether. And as the regular season gets shortened -- if it does -- the individual vendors and, in the case of Lambeau Field, charities that benefit from operating various concession stands during games will also lose out. While the league and players can't figure out how to divy up billions of dollars, it's possible many hard-working individuals who need the game-day money they make in order to help make ends meet are going to be taking it you-know-where.

So, I'm going to be optimistic and go along with the reports that a deal will get done by the end of July. Until then...I may just lock myself out of further posts. A solidarity thing, I guess you could say. Stay tuned. We'll be back. And there will be plenty of catching up to do.