Calkins: Marching through the months, there’s one winner
Matt Calkins: Commentary
Saturday, March 3, 2012
Google is generally pretty quick to prove that any original sentence you thought you had ... wasn’t so original after all. But I’m pretty sure these words have never been put together in this order until now: “It’s February Fanaticism, baby!”
No, March Madness simply can’t be imitated.
Now that it’s almost upon us, most people will be wondering whether their sleeper team can slither its way to the end of their brackets. I, however, am pondering something else: Is March the best month in all of sports?
Well, here’s a month-by-month power ranking. Don’t think that sentence has been written before, either.
12) August. There’s a scene from “Wayne’s World” where Wayne and Garth are standing in front of a blue screen pretending to be in various American states. In New York, they take on wiseguy accents and stand in front of the Empire State Building. In Hawaii, they pretend to surf while sampling the Hawaiian vocabulary. Then, they go to Delaware and say “Uh...hi...we’re in Delaware.”
In non-Olympic years, August is basically the Delaware of sports. Aside from the PGA Championship, it’s nothing but 31 days of baseball.
“Uh...hi...we’re watching baseball.”
11) July. I’ve heard Portland described as “Seattle Light.” I’m not sure I’d agree, but when it comes to sports, I will say that August is “July light.”
Yeah, there’s Wimbledon and the British Open, but in non-Olympic years, the rest of the month is dedicated to midseason baseball and the WNBA.
July was named after Julius Caesar. And for sports, this month is Et tu Brutal.
10) February. I can hear the sound of newspapers being crumpled and windows being minimized. Yes, our calendar’s second month is home of the Super Bowl the greatest sporting spectacle since Gladiator vs. Lion night at the Colosseum. But the rest of the month is like clean-up after a New Year’s Eve party.
No more football. No baseball in sight. And basketball and hockey season are four months away from crowning a king.
Make sure you load up on as many wings as you can during The Big Game. You’ll need them to get you through
the rest of the winter.
9) April. Some people say that there is a stretch at the beginning of this month that accounts for the greatest nine days in sports. If everything falls into place, you get: Baseball’s opening day, the NCAA basketball Final Four, the NCAA hockey Frozen Four, and the Masters. But after a week or so of ooooh’s and ahhhhh’s, the rest of the month is meh’s and eh’s.
Yep those first few days are April Fool’s gold.
8) May. The NBA playoffs may be the most entertaining postseason in sports and this is the time of year when it gets interesting. However, when it comes to great sports months, the NBA playoffs in May are kind of like how LeBron James was with Cleveland: Spectacular but seriously lacking support.
You wont’ find a major championship in golf or tennis, and football can’t even be seen on a clear day.
Sure, there’s the Kentucky Derby, but overall, this month doesn’t have the horses.
7) October. If one were to drive from Los Angeles to Vegas, October would be like the second hour of the trip. When people first hop in the car, they’re screaming “Vegas!!!” But then the adrenaline subsides and they realize they’ve still got four more hours.
The whole sports world is giddy when college football and the NFL kick off in September. However, come the next month, you notice that there’s no championship game for at least three more months.
Granted, there is playoff baseball, but given that ratings are about a third of what they were 20 years ago for the World Series, is that really doing it for people?
6) November. This is the jack-of-all-trades-but-master-of-none month. There is no crowning in any major sport (settle down NASCAR fans. I said major). There is no major golf tournament, tennis event or auto race, either. But pro football, college football, the NBA and the NHL are all in the midst of their seasons, while college hoops have just begun.
For a sports fan to fall asleep mid-day in November, tryptophan is the only explanation.
5) June. NBA Finals? Check. Stanley Cup Finals? Check. World’s greatest tennis tournament in Wimbledon? Check. World’s toughest golf tournament in the U.S. Open? Check.
The 30 days between May and July may not do anything for the owner of Rice Rice Baby the three-time champion of the Les Schwab fantasy football league. But if you want a sample platter of sports prestige, June has little gloom.
4) December. See: November, then throw in a jalapeño. The ubiquity of popular sports applies just as much in the year’s final month as it does the second-to-last. Except now, playoff and bowl bids are on the line in pro and college football, while the always-entertaining Christmas Day match-ups take place in the NBA.
With regular-season drama in the present, and postseason drama on the horizon, this is just as much holiday season in the sports world as it is everywhere else.
3) September. If we’re on the holiday theme, this is the sports world’s Christmas Eve. And as we all know, anticipation is often more exhilarating than participation.
After the doldrums of August conclude, September brings forth the beginning of the NFL and NCAA football seasons quenching a thirst almost all of America has been yearning for.
Plus, fans of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal get the U.S. Open.
Hard-court tennis. Hard-core month.
2) January. The best weekend in the NFL is that of the conference championship games. The best week in college football is that of the BCS bowls followed by the National Championship game. The NBA is in full swing, the NHL in full skate, and the Australian Open in full stroke.
The Northwest streets are relatively empty this time of year. Some say everyone’s indoors because it is cold. We know the real reason.
1) March. Is there a single down of football? No. Is there a baseball game that counts? Most years, negative. Has the NBA or NHL reached the postseason? Not by any means.
But there is the NCAA college basketball tournament. And there’s just nothing like that in sports.
The first four rounds of this tournament embody everything that gravitates us toward sports: Underdog stories, gripping suspense, the emergence of stars, and of course the ability to say “I told you so!”
Competing in an NCAA Tournament pool is like the speed-dating version of fantasy football. And anyone can win.
I had a classmate my senior year of high school named Kara Barnachea who knew as much about college hoops as the “What Not to Wear” creators, but ended up getting the first two rounds completely right based on mascots and colors.
Sorry football fans, to say that any month of year beats March, well ... that’s just madness.
Matt Calkins can be contacted at 360-735-4528 or firstname.lastname@example.org.