Watching my Facebook newsfeed Sunday night after the Mavericks capped off the championship run was equally as fun as watching the roller-coaster series itself. Though I decided to troll all the “Congrats Mavericks” statuses with Youtube highlights of Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets during their mid-90s championship years, one status from my friend initially rang true.
“And now we enter a dark period of sports watching,” posted my friend and sports nut Rahul Lanka.
Whether that is true or not, the 33 comments the status spawned had a number of comical, albeit sarcastic, responses.
“You mean an era of non-sports watching,” read the first response from a friend.
Lanka quipped, “I suppose I can just watch baseball and ... NASCAR or something ... There’s just nothing to watch! And with the NFL and NBA having to decide whether they will be on next year, it could get real ugly.”
The conversation unfolded like a back-and-forth ping-pong match, the page refreshing with a new, hilarious comment every few minutes.
“Gold Cup. Women’s World Cup. US open. Open your eyes!” another friend chimed in over the span of four separate comments.
Lanka, as a Texas sports fan, said he will of course watch the College World Series, but he wouldn’t budge beyond that. At first glance, the professional American sports environment has little to offer for the rest of the summer aside from MLB baseball, the viewership of which has increased since last season but is still not as popular as it once was. The summer months are always a drag in this 162-game format.
“Just think about it then,” Lanka commented. “Baseball, then nothing, then baseball again.” He said he won’t watch until the playoffs begin. Redundancy breeds apathy in his case, and I would have to agree.
There is Major League Soccer this summer, but finding and then actually sitting through an MLS game is as rare as finding me in the library. Though die-hard fans come out in droves in each MLS city, the skill level of this league pales in comparison to its European counterparts, and therefore is not as marketable. I’ll watch the occasional game of the week on ESPN 2 out of pity, but if I had the choice between waking up early to see an English Premiere League game with players whose names I can’t pronounce and a prime-time Seattle Sounders vs. Portland Timbers game, I’m picking the former.
So what is there to watch if the MLS and MLB aren’t your cups of tea? Was Lanka’s cynicism ultimately true? Maybe a little bit, but as a fan of all competition, he will have to find a way to get through this summer and so will you. It will just take more digging to find a sport you’ve never watched or cared about and learn to love it. Here are a few suggestions.
The U.S. Open is a great start. The four-day-long golf tournament starts today, and it features the likes of U.S. Open legend Phil Mickelson, rising star Rory McIlroy and newcomer Michael Whitehead. Whitehead, a Dallas native, was called to replace Tiger Woods this weekend who dropped out due to injury. Golf is much more exciting to watch than most people think. It is a sports of extreme mental toughness and if anything, it is invigorating to watch a player so in the zone climb the leaderboard.
At the Frank Erwin Center on Friday, undefeated junior middleweight boxer Fernando Guerrero is set to return to the ring against veteran Grady Brewer. For the die-hard boxing fan, this match means the crowning of a new light middleweight champion. For people who just like to watch other people get hit in the face, it’s a night to grab a beer and watch people get hit in the face. If you’re going to stay home to watch the bout and have a 3D television, you’re in luck. The 8:00 p.m. fight will be broadcast on ESPN in such a way that it feels like you too are getting hit in the face.
As a final suggestion, I believe it is every American’s patriotic duty to follow the U.S. team in the Women’s World Cup this summer. For whatever misogynist who says women’s sports aren’t as competitive as men’s, I ask you to perhaps play a sport against a female athlete who has devoted her life to being the best .1 percent of all athletes in her respective sport. I speak from personal experience when I say that you will be taken to school numerous times, and you will likely cry like a pre-schooler for his mommy. Team America kicks off play June 28 against North Korea in a bracket they are expected to emerge from unscathed.
As for other options, it is really up to you. There will be lots of baseball to fall back on, as well as another summer of poker on ESPN and perhaps some Scripps National Spelling Bee reruns. Whatever the case may be for you, Lanka has other summer plans.
“Is it possible to get tired of watching Arrested Development,” his status read the next day. Guess he found something to watch.