BY GRIFFIN GUINTA
‘Tis the strangest time of the year for lovers of sports. After the not-so-exhilarating Broncos romp in Super Bowl 50, the American sports world suddenly went dark. Once the postgame festivities, late night talk show interviews and endless analysis subsided, fans were forced to deal with the prospect of empty Sunday afternoons and “regular” Monday nights. I could feel the collective agony of sports aficionados across the country as I witnessed ESPN commentators spend 20 minutes discussing Redskins’ quarterback Kirk Cousins contract situation, MLS uniforms, and Rob Gronkowski’s recent cruise ship adventure. Riveting.
Why does the NFL have to be so compelling? I loathe its duality: Obsessing over petty crimes like deflating balls, while dancing around major issues like domestic violence and performance enhancing drugs. Roger Goodell makes $34 million a year, and I have to pay $68 for nosebleeds at a Bucs game. And yet I, along with countless others, are sucked under the spell. We play fantasy football, obsess over injury reports, and heavily debate how to properly dab. Once all of that magic, for lack of a better word, is over, we scratch our heads and ask: now what?
To be fair, we aren’t completely devoid of sports action just because football has ended and baseball has yet to arrive. Our very own Lightning are in the thick of a tight Eastern Conference race, and the NBA is coming off a successful All-Star Weekend filled with dunking, Kobe being memorialized and Drake trying to be one of the cool kids. Not to mention March Madness is just around the corner, so get your brackets out. Still, there is something odd about this lull. Perhaps it’s more indicative of the month of February than anything else. I reminisce back to a time in October when the MLB playoffs, college football, the NFL, MLS, NBA preseason and Mayweather vs. Pacquiao were all going on at the same time. Of course, our greatest elation can only be measured in contrast to something else. Without these dull, languid periods, we wouldn’t appreciate the most invigorating moments of life.
The other point this conjures up in my mind is that Americans are really selfish. We call winners of major sporting events “World Champions,” even though the closest thing we have to an international opponent are the handful of Canadian teams that play in our leagues. Moreover, the top soccer leagues in the world are at full strength right now, including a champions league that recently featured powerhouses Barcelona and Arsenal. Point is, despite the bitterness I feel when I’m greeted with the Professional Bowling Association on a Sunday afternoon, I must remember to hold on to the collection of memories from a fantastic year in sports. From seeing the Cubs nearly break their curse to Carli Lloyd midfield goals in the Women’s World Cup, it’s been a heck of a ride.