Monday, April 7, 2008

The Key To Marital Bliss: Pink Sports Gear

From the Bowl Season to the NBA Finals, it is like a sports-hurricane. There is no time to rest or go on vacation without missing some seemingly monumental game.

First are the Bowls, which are generally overblown, annoying, corporation celebrations that include generally mediocre football since the teams haven't played in a month. But every year there is some miraculous play (or 3 if you are Boise State), upset (Boise State), or just well played, solid games, and those are what we remember in the long run anyway.

This leads directly into the NFL playoffs which are fantastic no matter who is playing. This of course brings the Super Bowl, which is always good for a party, even if the game is not up to this year's high calibre. Then there's the always amazing Pro Bowl. Just kidding.

As football's stranglehold over the American sports fans' attention gives way, the NBA decides to become interesting. The first 50 games of the NBA season are a complete waste, but the last 30 heat up as teams either start jockeying for either playoff positioning or Lottery balls. Either way, March and April are interesting for every team. Basketball is also good for dramatic story lines, like the fact that right now, the Lakers are the 3-seed and the Suns are the 6. Kobe vs. Shaq in the first round, and a rematch of the series that Kobe seemingly quit in to prove that they couldn't win without him. Nice.

Simultaneously on Versus, the NHL races heat up, but no one notices. Did you know the San Jose Sharks finished the season 18-0-2 in their last 20 games? It's not the 2007 Rockies, but that is how you go into the playoffs hot!

In the midst of the NBA and NHL stretch runs, Baseball opens its spring season and then the regular season with much fanfare (unless it happens in Japan: then no one notices). Baseball takes the driver's seat for about a week and half, just long enough for every city to get its home opener, then we all look back at hoops and hockey again.

Also overlapping with the NBA's, NHL's stretch runs, and MLB's opening is the NCAA tournament which is only the best sporting event in American sports. It doesn't involve only 8 or 16 of the 30 biggest markets in the country. Everyone is involved. Cities of less than 10,000 people see their hometown college play for it all. Games aren't just played in New York and LA (in fact, none were this year)...they're played in Spokane and Dayton. Sure, only 6-8 teams really have a chance to win it all, but in what other arena is "just being nominated" really an honor like it is for small programs who make the Dance?

The Tourney and Baseball's Opening Weekend end just in time for the NHL playoffs, which is the best sporting event in American sports that no one watches. I don't know if it is Gary Thorne's voice or just the incredible and ceaseless full speed hitting and skating, but there in nothing better than playoff hockey, when annually at least one goalie becomes superhuman and changes the sport.

The NBA playoffs are exciting too, but you get the sense that the first 3-quarters of every game are a warm-up for the fourth quarter. The series are too long, the gaps between games are too long, Bill Walton sucks, and the referees don't call the games fairly. But it is still must-see TV somehow. Damn you David Stern.

There is a little break for sports fans to go on vacation, but while on vacation, you realize that MLB is getting good, the College World Series is on, the Tour de France is on, Tennis and Golf are in Grand Slam/Major season, the Belmont Stakes may or may not mean something this year, the NFL is heading back to camp soon, and oh yeah, it's an Olympic year.

I think that Sports is a test from God to see how dedicated to staying married we all are. Fortunately, my bride has fallen in love with the Tourney and the NFL postseason, she was always a hockey fan, and I tricked her into liking baseball by buying her a pink Mets hat. Take that, God!

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