SAY GOODBYE to domestic productivity and hello again -- after one long timeout -- to the seasonally adjusted world of professional football and all the rites attached thereto. Who "won" the strike? Who cares? That's why the smart oddsmaker doesn't have point spreads for a strike; besides, how many fans could follow the action over the last 57 days anyway?
Technically, of course, the complete game plan still depends on how many players run through the lines of their tentative agreement and come up smiling for the necessary ratification. That is their business, and as fans are learning only too well, business comes before pleasure in today's megabuck sports world.
What's left is a glorified exhibition season. Players in something less than peak condition are regrouping in a hurry (and, in some camps, in a huff) to do battle against each other instead of against the owners. If there is joy beyond the family rooms and bars of this land, it has to be among those whose livelihoods include some support role in these doings -- those legions whose names do not appear in the programs or on the screens, but who hawk those programs, or cut the grass, or park the cars.
And, no, we'll refrain from sexist generalities about Sunday and Monday-night routines. Those who used to care may not anymore, and so be it. We suspect, however, that many who will say so today will be busy, thank you, come Sunday afternoon--and their field of endeavor may well be 100 yards long.