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Sports doldrums

Justin Tardiff | Friday, February 3, 2006

I realized the other day that we’re in the first week in February, and that made me feel a little uneasy. That’s because after this Sunday’s conclusion of three hours of quality commercials, also commonly referred to as the Super Bowl, begins the worst four week stretch of sports for the entire year.

I hate this time of year, and I’ll tell you why. Check your calendar. You’re not going to find a lot to get excited about. Looking at this in a narrow context, you’ll see that February means the middle of the NBA, NHL and college basketball seasons. This means that the postseason for any of these sports is somewhere from one to two months away. That’s okay, though, because even though they’re in their off-seasons, we can look for the mainstream American sports (baseball and football) to keep us entertained, right? Well, not quite.

Baseball’s Spring Training is still a month away from becoming interesting, and with most of the off-season moves centered around the Winter Meetings in December, baseball’s hot stove has currently been reduced to ashes.

The NFL is finishing this Sunday, leaving nothing to look forward to until the draft, which isn’t until April 29 – well, that is unless you enjoy the 100 obligatory Mel Kiper Jr. appearances between now and then.

Even college football doesn’t offer us much of a release. In fact, the last noteworthy college football date until next season happened yesterday.

Okay, so the more well-known sports don’t have much going on in February. Maybe this is the perfect opportunity to catch up on some of the lesser-known sports. How about golf? Well, the first major, the Masters, isn’t until April, and honestly, who can watch any golf tournament that isn’t a major?

It’s indicative of the gravity of the situation that I’m even suggesting this, but what about tennis? Bad timing yet again. The Australian Open, which takes place in January, just finished, and the next major, the French Open, isn’t until May.

It’s worth mentioning that the Winter Olympics takes place in February this year, but with the Olympics taking place only once every four years, this February is more of an aberration than the norm. Besides, do you consider two leotard-clad Frenchmen prancing around on ice-skates a sport? Me neither.

Basically, the sports scene of post-Super Bowl February is about as enjoyable as the current … on second thought, the typical February South Bend weather. That leaves us with a couple of options. We can either get used to hearing, “In our top story, the Chicago Bulls were defeated by opponent X last night,” or we can use this reprieve to accomplish alternative objectives, perhaps the homework we avoided during the NFL playoffs. Whatever you do, try to stay sane during February because the madness of March is only a few weeks away.