Pick Me, Choose Me…
Tonight, Roger Goodell will walk to the podium at Radio City Music Hall and read Andrew Luck’s name as the 1st pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, and thus will begin a night of making 32 lifelong dreams come true. There is so much I love about the NFL draft that partially it’s hard for me to contain my excitement. I eat, sleep, and breathe these 3 days because to me there’s just nothing like it. In my opinion, no other major league sport does their amateur draft quite like the NFL. And thinking about all of this led to thinking about the various sporting events (whether competitive or administrative) that are my favorites throughout the year. Everyone has their favorites, and no one list is right or wrong. Nevertheless, I present to you my top 5, in no particular order. Who doesn’t love a list, right?!
- NFL Draft. Let’s start with the one I’ve already mentioned. Every year when I watch the draft, I get terribly sentimental. When those men hear their names called and they come out of the green room holding the jersey and hat of their new teams, some with tears streaming down their faces, I can’t help but see the 8-year-old little boy inside each of them who dreamed about playing football in the NFL while tossing the football around in the backyard. Years went by, obligations and responsibilities changed, and for some of them, being drafted means being able to provide for their families in ways they never imagined, but still inside every one of them is a little boy who dreamed big.
- Super Bowl Sunday. I’m calling it Super Bowl Sunday, but truthfully, I love everything about the time between the conference championship games and Super Bowl Sunday. I love the speculation from the minute the two teams are set about who will win, what each team’s strengths and weaknesses are, and which players are going to have to come up big for their team in order for them to win. Flash forward to arguably one of the weirdest days in sports: Super Bowl Media Day on the Tuesday before the game. If you want a press pass and have even the smallest connection to a news outlet, they’ll give you access. Women walk around in wedding dresses asking the various players to marry them. Players are asked to sing songs. And if you can believe it, the questions asked are even crazier than that. By the time we get to Super Bowl Sunday, we know virtually everything there is to know about every player from possible injuries to their great grandmother’s name. Roll all of that into a 60 minute football game with commercial breaks costing well into the millions and you have an event that is surely not to be missed.
- March Madness. I’m not talking about just the first two days when 32 games are played within a 36 hour period. I start with Selection Sunday. No other time in the entire year do I hang on every word that Greg Gumbel says. And then to have live look ins for various schools waiting to hear their fate in seeding and location, just that one hour period is thrilling to watch. Those kids get so excited to hear their school called, which takes me back to the sentimentality I feel during the NFL draft. Then you move forward to the play in games, which, yes, I watch, then the 32 games on Thursday and Friday that I believe should be a national holiday, and it’s like we took off out of the starting gate and never looked back. Some people grow tired by the time we get to the final weekend with the Final Four and the subsequent Championship game, but when you’re someone like me, you just can’t get enough. One of my favorite sounds in the entire world is the squeaking of the shoes on the court. I love the sound of the ball sliding through the net…that whoosh sound. Heck, I even love the sound of the horn for substitutions, shot clock violations, time outs, and the end of each half. And then there’s the upsets, the Cinderellas, who seemingly do the impossible who make you stop and say, “they don’t call it March Madness for nothing.”
- College Football Bowl Season. Sure the names of the bowls have gotten a little out of hand, and people’s anger towards the BCS in general has diminished how much fun it is, but I still love that, in late December, I can turn on my TV every night of the week and watch a college football game…a real college football game…not those silly ones during the season that happen on random Tuesdays between two teams no one’s ever heard of except their respective alumni. And I’m not embarrassed to admit that I’ve watched my fair share of FCS (Division 1-AA) playoff/championship games, too. Now those kids…whew…those kids can play! I remember several years ago when ESPN was promoting Bowl Season, they had a commercial with the holiday song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” playing in the background. I couldn’t have agreed more.
- College World Series. So this is where it gets a little strange if you don’t know me. I love college baseball…I LOVE COLLEGE BASEBALL! Every single solitary thing about it, except maybe the new bats that don’t make the same sound the old aluminum bats did. Sure it’s still a NCAA sport with all of its commercialism and exploitation of student athletes, but to me, it’s still the pure game before they get to MLB and money gets in the way. I keep up with a few teams throughout the season, but when post season play begins, you can find me on my couch searching my on-screen guide for those games. Once the 8 team field is set for the College World Series and all those seasons have finally led their way to Omaha, NE, I soak it up like a sponge. Here’s the weird part. When I watch the College World Series games on TV, sometimes I think I can smell the grass. (Stop laughing.) I blame Field of Dreams. The thrill of the grass, et al.
Alright, so that’s my top 5. Do you have a top 5?