This year, February 6th marked the beginning of an annual event that doesn't get a lot of recognition. But it's there, and every guy knows what I'm talking about.
For a little over a month, this country enters the Sports Wasteland. Between the Super Bowl and the beginning of conference tournaments in March, there's absolutely no sports to watch. At all.
I'm not a passionate sports guy. I don't rearrange my schedule to watch games (usually). But if I'm not doing anything else, I kind of enjoy being able to watch a game, or highlights, or something sports-related. The problem is, February and early March are mostly devoid of good things to watch.
Pro basketball and pro hockey have almost meaningless regular seasons. Games don't really get interesting until the playoffs, which happen sometime in May or June, get near. College basketball has moments of interest - I watched a really good game between Connecticut and Villanova last night - but unless you're a fan of a bubble team, the big games start being played at tournament time.
March has The Tournament. April has the Masters and the always-interesting opening strains of baseball season. May and June have NHL and NBA playoffs, and this year June gets the World Cup as well. July is when baseball games start to become important again. And by September, football's back.
But February and early March... man.
Incidentally, Britain, blessed with Premiership soccer, doesn't have this problem, even though its soccer season is as interminable as the NHL's and NBA's. This is because there's no playoff - the winner of the regular season wins it all. There are consolation prizes - spots in Europe-wide tourneys - for the top 5. And the bottom three are kicked out of the league - incentive enough for fans of bottom dwellers to keep watching the late season games.