Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Favorite TV Sports

Seth at SethSpeaks asked his readers to send in their lists of their favorite sports to watch so I decided to put my list below. My list only includes TV watching since that's how I take in most of my sports.

1. NCAA Basketball Tourney – I have huge expectations for the tournament every year and it never disappoints. This goes number one since I enjoy watching it even why I don’t have a local team to root for. Gambling may influence my enjoyment of the event!

As for the local teams, I was a fan of DePaul basketball before I was a fan of any other sport team. Back in the late seventies and early eighties they were probably the biggest sporting event in town. I got a early lesson in Chicago sports as DePaul lost in their first game as a number one seed back in 1981. They followed up with some gaudy regular season records and more early exits in the tourney the following years. I've only cried one time as a fan (hey I wasn't even ten) and DePaul basketball was to blame. I was a little more mature when Illinois lost to Michigan in the final four in 1989 after beating them twice in the regular season. But it still hurt!

2. Pro Football – I’ve probably watched 95% of the games played by the Bears since 1985 when I first became a Bears fan. And what a time to be a Bears fan as they dominated the NFC Central in the mid 80's. But even when they lose I watch every Sunday. But when they win, watching Bear football shoots up to my number one sport watching activity. Now, I never used to watch that many games played by other teams. But I found that gambling makes those other games enjoyable in their own right!

3. College football (regular season) – In general, I find it more enjoyable to watch college sports. The passion of both the fans and players make the games more exciting. And the rivalries are a bit more intense than those usually found in pro sports. As for the bowls, I usually don’t make a point of watching many. Normally just the Rose Bowl & Championship game if I’m not busy.

4. College Basketball (regular season) – see college football (except of course postseason is #1 on list).

5. NBA – There are just too many teams that suck. Unfortunately the Bulls are one of 'em. Back in the Bulls hey dey I’m sure this would have been higher on the list.

6. MLB – Now I love to watch White Sox baseball but I can’t in good conscience say it's my favorite sport to watch on TV. I have a hard time not wearing out the remote when I’m watching other teams play. I usually watch 10% of Sox games at the beginning of the season. That percentage will slowly increase as the season wanes depending on how well the Sox do. This year I watched just about all of their games in September. I also follow the Cubs pretty closely throughout the year (and actually attend more Cubs games).

Now just because baseball isn’t a game I watch religiously on TV doesn’t mean I’m not a huge fan. Reading about baseball over the course of the year is one of my favorite activities. A baseball season tells a story that can be followed even if you don’t see the games. You can also dig into statistics in way that’s not possible with other sports. And going to baseball games is definitely a more enjoyable (and affordable) activity than going to the other pro sporting events in town.

7. The Majors – Back when I was single I would waste entire weekends watching the Masters & US Open. It’s also nice to wake up early, grab a cup of coffee, and watch the British Open. You have to invest a lot of time watching a tournament to truly enjoy it. There are so many ups and down, great charges and great chokes, that cannot be enjoyed by the casual observer. Now that I’m married I’m lucky to get in a couple hours on Sunday. Of course, I won't be complaining as long as I get to keep my three hours of Bears football each week.

In addition to watching the majors, I attended the US Open at Olympia Fields this year and had a great time. It was my first time watching golf in person and it was awesome following all the great players from up close. I’ll definitely try and get to more golf tournaments in the future.

8. World Cup Soccer – I never played soccer in my life but found myself watching more and more the past few years. I even woke up early in the morning last year to watch the US play in Korea. It must be the great tournament atmosphere.