It's Valentine's Day, and love is in the air. Maybe you're going on a date with your special someone, maybe you're staying in and watching a romantic movie or cooking dinner. Whatever you're doing, I hope you're with the people most important to you, doing something you love, and having a great day.
Sports fans love people, but they also love sports. Hundreds of thousands of fans braved the snow and cold temperatures to line the streets of Boston last week, celebrating the Patriots' Super Bowl win. That's love and passion, people.
In that spirit, here's a list of my sports Valentines. Please feel free to respond with yours.
1) The Seattle Mariners: They've been my favorite team in my favorite sport since I was a kid. As a fan, this is the team I bleed, which means there hasn't been too much to celebrate since the 2001 season. They're one of two franchises to never reach a World Series, but I'm with them through thick and thin. Baseball always holds a special place in my heart in large part to the role in played in my life growing up, so I'm looking forward to the season returning.
2) March Madness: The passion of college basketball fans is unmatched, and where do you see more of that than in the NCAA Tournament? Throw in the excitement of the last few weeks leading up to the tournament, and you've got yourself a month-plus to enjoy. As a kid, I would always keep track of the then-field of 64 and mark down each winner on my own huge bracket I kept in our basement. In high school, we'd always try to convince the teachers to put the tournament on the TV during class. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. What's been really cool is getting to cover it during my time in sports media. Seeing upsets and great basketball up close on that stage is something I'll always remember.
3) The Olympics: It includes popular sports to events you may have never heard of, but the Olympics are great. Seeing athletes reach the top of their craft and putting it all on the line on the world stage is second to none. I love seeing the emotion at the Olympics, especially the face of disbelief when an athlete realizes he/she has conquered gold. I like the theme song, too.
4) Super Bowl commercials: Yes, I love the game, but it's the only sporting event I can recall where I don't want to get up to grab another beer during a commercial break. My parents, my brother and I would sit around the TV and laugh at the new ads every year, and now, when I'm not working, I find myself doing the same thing with my kids, which is pretty cool.
5) Pregame hype videos: Make sure you're in your seat 10 minutes or so before a game starts, because the hype video before the home team comes out will probably give you goosebumps, especially in a full arena or stadium. It's pretty cool to see how different songs and effects are used to get people excited for a game and showcase a team. Lights going down, music going up, and people getting loud is one of my favorite things in sports.
6) It ain't over 'til it's over: It's a quote from the great Yogi Berra that my dad introduced me to as a kid. Translation: don't leave your seat until the final out is made, the final buzzer sounds, or the final putt falls into the cup. You walk into a sporting event never knowing what you might see. History could happen right in front of you. Maybe you'll see an amazing play, a bench-clearing brawl,a no-hitter, a 25 point Super Bowl comeback, etc. Sports is unscripted, so if somebody asks you to leave so they can beat the traffic, you should politely tell them no.
I'm really curious to see what you guys love in sports, so please let me know in the comments, or on Facebook or Twitter. Have a great Valentine's Day.