August 20, 2023

Don't Make Any Plans... At Least Until Mid-February

If you are like me, a sports fanatic, then you have to be excited for this time of year. After having survived the barren days of late spring and early summer by watching baseball or maybe football with the XFL or USFL, things are about to heat up.

Major League Baseball (MLB) is still going strong as teams jockey for playoff spots in preparation for the postseason which begins October 3. The season belongs to the boys of summer but the title is the fall classic. Let’s go Reds!

While the baseball bunch (apologies to Johnny Bench) are winding down, soccer is also headed down the home stretch. The Major League Soccer (MLS) playoffs are scheduled to begin on October 25 with essentially 18 teams vying for the League Cup. C’mon Nashville SC!

Speaking of soccer, hopping “across the pond” to jolly old England, we saw the beginning of the new English Premier League (EPL) just this last weekend on August 11. My Manchester City team, fresh off last year’s Treble, didn’t miss a beat, downing JJ Watt’s Burnley club 0-3.

A couple of weeks or so from now, American football gets started with week one of the NCAA football season beginning on August 26. Enjoy this season because, with all the recent conference realignment announcements for next year, college football is about to get turned on its head. Big Blue Nation is ready for the Wildcats to kickoff the season.
Shortly after the kickoff of college football, the big boys strap on the helmets and get down to business. Yes, I know, the NFL is already playing their preseason games but is it really the same? Seriously, do you actually enjoy watching an undrafted quarterback from Southeast Nowhere State overthrow his receiver by 15 yards just to be picked off by a defensive back that no one will ever hear about again? I don’t. But I am excited about the regular season which starts on September 7. Will Mahomes and the Chiefs repeat? Will Aaron Rodgers elevate the Jets? Can Dak get the Cowboys over the hump? We won’t have the answers until February but it should be a fun ride along the way. One final NFL question: How ‘bout them Cowboys?
That brings us to October. As the leaves fall and the weather becomes cooler (hopefully), people will Andre 3000’s question, “What’s cooler than being cool? Ice cold!” Ice cold as in ice like in a hockey rink. Yep, the puck is dropping on the NHL season on October 10. I can’t wait for the road to Lord Stanley’s Cup to begin. Let’s go Predators!!

As October makes its way toward Halloween, we see the skates of hockey giving way to the latest Nikes and puck drop being replaced by tip-off. Yep, I’m talking about the NBA season beginning on October 24. Will the Nuggets repeat or will the Suns knock them off their throne? Can the Celtics take it all or will the Heat take the crown? Can Giannis and the Bucks bounce back or will LeBron or Steph find a return to glory? It’s sort of wide open but I’m pulling for the Heat.
Every kid that plays basketball dreams of making it into the NBA, especially the kids playing college basketball. And on November 6, those aspiring players will start their run. From non-conference games, to conference play and tournaments to hoping they make the NCAA tournament, these young men will lay it all on the line. Why? Easy, they are hoping to be the last team standing while listening to One Shining Moment as they lift the trophy at center court. And maybe, just maybe, they will get to hear their name called on draft night. No pressure at all, eh? Of course I’ll be decked out in Wildcat blue screaming for my UK C-A-T-S, CATS, CATS, CATS!

As I said at the beginning, these next few months are a sports fan's dream. I’m getting chills just thinking about it. Or maybe that’s just the fan blowing on me. Meh, I’m still excited and can’t wait.

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