ANOTHER FOOTBALL strike is upon us, confronting serious fans with the dread specter of a succession of Sunday afternoons spent watching the leaves turn red and gold against an azure sky or -- only slightly less distasteful -- watching a hastily assembled cast of substitute athletes play out a parody of the National Football League schedule. There are other choices, however. By drawing on the many recreational and cultural resources of this metropolitan area, fans may pass those stricken afternoons in wholesome, broadening group activities that will keep their spirits high and their interest intact for the duration. Here are a few examples:
Bird-watching: Take a hundred or so friends from your section of RFK Stadium and set out in pursuit of the prothonotary warbler. The first person to sight one should sound his air horn to alert the others. Don't forget the beer and chips; someone should also bring a pair of binoculars if he thinks of it.
Model building. Use cocktail toothpicks to construct a scale model of a domed stadium containing 75,000 tiny seats and 125 air-conditioned luxury skyboxes complete with wet bars and large-screen stereo TV sets. Use 25,000 toy cars to create a traffic jam outside, and finance the project with $200 million in play money.
Nostalgia games. Join with friends in rededicating yourself to memorizing all of the lyrics of "Hail to the Redskins." (You still probably mumble in embarrassment and forget what comes next when you reach the part that says something like "we will take-um heap big score.") Try to remember where you might have seen the strike-replacement players before. (Isn't that middle linebacker the guy who threw you out of a bar on Wisconsin Avenue last week?)
Historical research. If all else fails to cheer you up, recall that although the last strike lasted 57 days, once it was over the Redskins went on to win that year's Super Bowl.