I know it’s a day early, but in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to give thanks for the things I’m most thankful for throughout the year.
Since I’m such a thankful guy, I figured the only way to keep this list small enough to fit in this edition of the newspaper was to break things down on a month-by-month basis and go with what I’m most thankful for.
With that said ….
• January — NFL Championship Sunday
It seems like the whole world looks forward to Super Bowl Sunday, but I’m most thankful for the conference title games. More often than not they are more entertaining than the big game because the teams usually have more of a rivalry factor going on. Plus, my team rarely makes the Super Bowl anyway.
• February — The Daytona 500
To me, this symbolizes the beginning of Spring and I’m not sure that there’s a better way to celebrate a day of doing nothing than watching cars go in a circle for five hours while munching out on everything you can get your hands on.
• March — NCAA Final Four and KHSAA Sweet Sixteen
The main reason I’m thankful for the Final Four is the fact the Kentucky Wildcats have made the event seem like a rite of passage lately. Also, while the rest of the world is watching the NCAA Tournament, the greatest show in hoops is going on at Lexington’s Rupp Arena. If you’ve never taken in a KHSAA Sweet Sixteen game, you don’t know what you’re missing.
• April — MLB Opening Day and Wrestlemania
What better day is there in the sports world than baseball’s opening day? It’s the one time all season when every team is still in first place and for myself, it’s usually the last time the Cubs are in the playoff hunt. Come on, it's Wrestlemania. As my co-worker Brad Hall would say, it's the granddaddy of them all when it comes to wrestling.
• May — The Kentucky Derby
I’ve never been to the Derby, but the event creates such a stir in the sports world, who wouldn’t want to be a part of it? Sure, our state has a lot of things to boast about, but the Derby is the one thing that the whole world knows Kentucky for. Like I said, I enjoy it, but please don’t depend on me to pick a winner for you.
• June — Interleague Baseball
Why you ask? The answer is simple. It’s the only time all season I can see the Cubs play an American League team other than Spring Training. At least I’m willing to accept the fact that they will probably never play in the World Series. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t given up on the thought of the Cubs winning it all, but I am a realist and I know that if the baseball gods haven’t seen fit for it to happen after 104 years, what would ever change their minds?
• July — Wimbledon
I know, I know. A lot of you are laughing at me right now, but I really enjoy the hoopla that surrounds the event. There is nothing like seeing a young up-and-comer surprise the experts and gut out an early round win over one of the favorites.
• August — Little League World Series
I want to make it perfectly clear that to me, there is no better sporting event on the planet than the Little League World Series. To see kids that have played the sport for months and months be able to not only represent their country, but their state and even small town on a national stage is just inspiring. Little League Baseball, when done the right way, is sports in its purest form.
• September — NFL Season Opener
Once again, the day that everybody’s team is in first place with a shot to make the playoffs, but with some hard hits to boot. Let’s all face it, by the time we sit through all the boring NFL preseason games, we’re ready to see the actual players we know get out there and knock somebody’s head clean off their shoulders.
• October — MLB Game 7s
Game 7s have to be gifts from a higher power. Where else in sports do teams hang on every pitch? Personally, I haven’t experienced many of these and when I have, it hasn’t gone the way I would have liked. But when they happen, there is rarely a more exciting baseball game other than watching a no-hitter or perfect game.
• November — NCAA Basketball Season
Enough of the preseason ratings already! Let the guys who matter (the players) determine where they are ranked. I have to admit I love seeing an early season upset or to see a team ranked too high get knocked back down to size. Sure it happened to the Cats this year, but I have a feeling they’ll be fine by the time March rolls back around.
• December — Christmas
I know it’s not directly sports related, but the kid in me can’t resist. The only way I can experience most of the things I’ve previously mentioned any time I want to is thanks to video games. Sure it might be childish, but aren’t we all just kids at heart when it comes down to it? I don’t care how old you are, there’s nothing like opening that gift you’ve been hinting about for the past two months. Whether it’s NBA 2K13 or the newest installment of NASCAR Racing, it’s sure easy to be thankful when you get what you ask for.