It’s amazing how the sports schedule works out every year. There used to be lulls between sports seasons, periods of time where nothing was going on and nobody seemed to mind. But in this day and age, with 24-hour sports cable shows and a zillion ways to follow sports on the internet, there is never a dull day.
Except for now. So, thank goodness for high school sports. Right now, that’s the only thing of real interest going on unless you’re one of those people who can’t get enough of the NFL on ESPN.
And the NFL, representing the most popular sport in the nation, is as dormant as it ever gets, with the scouting combine in Indianapolis finished and free agency and the draft yet to come. The NFL is never completely in the dark, of course, and we’ll be bombarded with talk about free agency and the college draft for the next couple of months, but it’s just that – talk. The Eagles have plenty of needs and this is a deep draft, but their first pick is the 22nd overall and talking about which player they might select that far down is just that – talk.
The NHL is cranking up again after taking a hiatus for the Winter Olympics, perhaps the last time the league will allow its schedule to be altered so drastically and its millionaire players put at such risk. Things will heat up when the Stanley Cup playoffs – the most exciting postseason of any pro sport – begin on April 16, but until then it’s just a matter of jockeying for playoff position and wondering in which round the Flyers will be eliminated.
The NBA is just past its midway point and there have been no surprises this season. The teams that were supposed to be good (Miami, Indiana, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Houston, Los Angeles Clippers, Portland) have been good and the teams that were supposed to be bad (Boston, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee, Orlando, New Orleans and, of course, Philadelphia) have been bad. For Sixers fans, it’s all about waiting for those ping-pong balls to start hopping around at the NBA draft lottery on May 20 and then waiting around even more, until the NBA draft on June 26, to see what they do with their picks. Meanwhile, what is possibly the worst team in franchise history will limp to the finish line and I challenge you to name four players on the current roster.
Major league baseball is just stretching its hamstrings at spring training and there haven’t been too many compelling stories coming out of Florida or Arizona after the media’s Jeter-is-retiring feeding frenzy was over. Phillies fans have no idea what to expect this season – their team could be pretty good or really bad and it all depends on some aging players who were once exclamation points and are now question marks. And, frankly, I’d like to ignore all of that as much as possible until opening day, when we get to see this team in games that count.
The NCAA basketball tournament is still a couple of weeks away as March Madness now stretches into April. It appears there are a dozen teams that could win the championship, but this is one event where the journey is more important than the destination. As always, there will be upsets and last-second heroes and last-second goats, all the things that make this the best sporting event on the planet. And, finally, Delaware fans could have something to look forward to as their team actually has a chance to win its first Colonial Athletic Association championship and its first NCAA berth since 1999.
And that brings us back to the high schools, which are a nice bridge to the Final Four and Opening Day in baseball and the NFL draft and the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The various high school tournaments are in full swing and, as always, the basketball playoffs draw the most attention. And what gives this tournament an interesting twist is that Salesianum has a legitimate chance to win its first basketball championship. The Sals have won more than 100 state titles over the last century or so, but they’ve never won one and this year Sallies is the No. 1 seed.
Contact Kevin Noonan at firstname.lastname@example.org.