I love sports. This comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me, or anyone who’s clicked around the site at all. There are however a few sporting events that take more precedence than others. Competitions that cause everything else in life to take a back seat, or at best a side car to something that at the end of it all in inconsequential to my existence. With The Masters starting tomorrow, I thought I’d lay out my top “don’t bother me, ______________ is on” sporting moments throughout the year.
There are four majors in golf (five if you count TPC), but The Masters has a special place in my sporting heart. Maybe it’s because it comes at the beginning of Spring, and all those trees and flowers in bloom and GREEN grass gives me hope that it’ll actually get that warm here. When The Masters is on I’ll have it streaming on my phone or tablet if I’m stuck at work, then carve out Saturday and Sunday afternoon watching history being made (or napping in between moments.) I’ll even picture myself hitting a tee-shot on 16, just to the right of the flag stick, letting the ball trickle down to the hole, where I three-putt for a bogey. Gotta keep it somewhat realistic, right?
Is it the history? Is it the English accents? Is it the royalty? Is it that everyone has to wear white? I can’t tell you why, but for some reason if it’s on I’m watching it, especially over the last couple of years waiting for Murray to finally bring it home. Side note: If you want to hear the toughest sport to listen to on the radio, flip on Wimbledon for three minutes and tell me you have any idea what’s going on.
For just over two weeks every two years my eyes/ears/fingers are glued to everything and anything amateur driven. Do I watch the 5K biathlon for the three years leading up to the Olympics? Nope. But will I delay taking a desperately needed shower to watch three Norwegians battle it out just to be caught by a Swede I’ve never heard of? You’d better believe it. Watching people compete at something they’ve trained their entire lives for is about at captivating as it can get. Since Rio’s up next you’ll have to excuse me while I brush up on the latest international triple jump standings.
The Super Bowl
You have to watch at least part of this. It’s written somewhere in the law of sports fandom. Even if your team’s not in it, even if they were knocked out of the running on the Conference Championship, it needs to be seen. Never mind most of them are blowouts (thankfully this year’s was the first in a long time), you will gather, you will eat, and you will enjoy making side bets on everything.
The World Cup
The rest of the world calls it football. For one month every four years so do we. The drama ramps up in qualification, there’s speculation for months leading up to the event on which groups are weak, which is the “Group of Death”, and who might hold the golden trophy at the end of it all. I’ll watch a little Premier League and some TFC matches in between, but I relish the chance to watch smaller countries make runs against proverbial powerhouses, while Canadians let their “true” heritage flags fly for a few weeks. Get ready for a lot of colorful fabric in June.
The World Juniors
In the States it’s all about College Football. In Canada, it’s all about the World Juniors. Kids who are trying to make their way to the pros get the chance to represent their country, and their countries get the chance to over analyze and unload trucks of pressure on them to succeed. Any chance to wave the flag is good, and in the post-holiday frozen grip of Winter, the Juniors is as good a chance as any.
I don’t watch much basketball. I watch even less college sports. But for the first three rounds in March I can’t turn away from the Madness. Here are teams I have no loyalty to whatsoever, so I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t pulling for the underdog in pretty much every early round game. Can a 16 please beat a 1? It follows the same feeling as the World Juniors…a bunch of kids, some who will never play on a bigger stage than this, trying to reach a common goal. Buzzer beaters, upsets, insane fans…forget the brackets, it a week of sports that needs to be seen.
The World Series
Baseball season just started. The AL East has three teams at 4-4 and two at 3-5. There at 154 games left. It won’t be done until the end of September. I’ll watch a game here or there, but come October there’s something about the crispness in the air that has me glued for four or more hours watching a game between two teams I don’t follow on the West Coast. It’s the ultimate in longevity and endurance to get to that point. That is, outside of…
The Stanley Cup Playoffs
What an amazing event this is. It goes on for two months. TWO MONTHS OF PLAYOFFS. The first round is still one of the best rounds of competition in any sport, whether it’s surprise blowouts or seven game slugfests. Playoff pools abound, overtime games are watched to the bitter post-midnight end in the middle of a work week, and after four grueling rounds and 16 wins, one team’s captain skates to centre ice, waits for the crowd to stop booing Gary Bettman, and raises the Stanley Cup over their heads. I still get chills every time I see it happen. Sadly as an Oilers fan I know I won’t get to see my team do it any time soon. Leafs fans know what I’m talking about.
Any special event/history making moment joined in progress.
A basketball player going for more than 60. A pitcher with a no-no or el perfecto through 7 innings. A rookie leading the way with a few holes to go. An underdog neck and neck with the champs with less than 5 to play. We love to see the unexpected, and be part of something special or historic. For many of us, we’re unable to get to experience those moments first hand. Watching it unfold is the next best thing.
If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a jacket to paint green and some Azaleas to buy. (Hums Masters theme in head, practices triumphant putter raise.)