Sports department for the student run radio station 90.3 WRST at UW-Oshkosh
Yes, the culmination of all different sports coming together for the viewing pleasure of the United States is a beautiful thing. But did you notice what was missing from that list above? The biggest event in the NFL off season is coming up as well, in exactly one week as a matter of fact. And after the 2013 NFL Draft is over, the long, tedious, tiresome, and downright dull part of the off season begins for the NFL and it’s fans, the time between the draft and the first preseason game, the Hall of Fame game.
For the casual NFL fan, this presents no problem whatsoever. So what if there’s no action after the draft? There are more than enough sports going on right now to keep the mind occupied from work, school, or whatever else it is people like to escape from while immersing themselves into the wide world of professional sports.
For the hardcore NFL fan, however, this presents the biggest problem that one has to face year in and year out, “What am I going to do with myself for four whole months while the only coverage the NFL is getting in the mainstream media, is the occasional video from ESPN with Tim Tebow doing shirtless laps at Jets camp while the rest of the team actually practices?”
Normally fans take advantage of this time to get things ready for summer. Putting the patio furniture outside, staining the back deck, breaking out the grill, etc… This year, however, it would appear that mother nature is content on making us suffer even more, with no NFL coverage and weather outside that would make you think it’s still the middle of March.
If you follow this blog regularly, then you saw my post last week about Roger Goodell and his proposal to change the NFL off season calendar, pushing all the events back so that they are spaced out evenly throughout the off season, and we no longer have to deal with four months of non-NFL coverage. But alas, that has not happened yet, and so we are stuck with no football on television for four months pared with the lie of a Spring that Punxsutawney Phil promised us would come immediately following his non-shadow seeing return from hibernation on February 2nd.
So to those of you hardcore NFL fans who don’t know what to do with themselves when the draft is over, enjoy this next week. It will be your last of hardcore and continuous NFL coverage, so take full advantage of mock drafts and “expert” predictions alike.
As for you casual NFL fans, enjoy one of the best sporting weeks of the year. Be sure to catch the draft, but keep it in picture and picture with one of the other various sporting events going on during the NFL draft. I’ll see you on April 25th, for the best draft in all of professional sports.
WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS
Professional sports can be one of the most dividing things in the entire world. As a Chicago Bears fan in the heart of Packer country, I can tell you I experience this day in and day out. Blackhawks and Red Wings, Yankees and Red Sox, Bears and Packers, even Buckeyes and Wolverines, everyone has an enemy when it comes to the wide world of sports.
Sports are a funny thing, though. You can absolutely despise your opponent on the field, but once that final whistle blows, it’s all different. In the middle of the “W” at Camp Randall Stadium after every game, players and coaches from both teams can be seen taking a knee front and center, saying a prayer together after the game, and that’s just one example. All across the world of sports, compassion and friendship is shown each and every day.
This has never been more evident than at Yankee Stadium this week, when Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” was played throughout the PA system, and all of the fans got up and sang together. “Sweet Caroline” is considered to be sort of an anthem of the Boston Red Sox, the most hated rival of the New York Yankees. The Sox play it every single time they play at home, and if you ask any true blooded Yankee fan what song they hate most in the world, “Sweet Caroline” would probably be up towards #1.
In wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, however, the compassion and friendship seemed like it had never been stronger. Outside the stadium hung a banner that read “United We Stand,” with the logos of the two biggest rivals arguably in all of sports, sitting side by side. It was a display not only of compassion and companionship, but of brotherhood and bonding, a symbol for the entire world to see.
Last night, the Boston Bruins played the game that was originally scheduled for the night of the Boston Marathon bombings. Due to the events and the lockdown of the city, the game was postponed. And as if those reasons weren’t enough, think about this: Each and every member of the Boston Bruins lives in the city of Boston. Before last night’s game, images of the bombings were shown on the jumbo-tron at the TD Ameritrade Garden in Boston. Then someone came out for the national anthem as always, getting ready to sing. What happened after that, though, was far from normal. The man singing the anthem stopped right as it was getting going, and the crowd took over for him. In an amazing display of solidarity, fans put their arms around one another, pushed through the tears that they had, and sang the anthem for the United States of America. Together.
It doesn’t matter that the Bruins lost the game in a shootout, or that the Yankees and Sox are back to hating each other once again. What matters is that even the most bitter of rivalries, that dates back hundreds of years, or that the simplest thing that happens before each and every sporting event in the country seemed different. It helped. It may not have found the person responsible for the horrible acts committed, and it may not being back the people lost in the tragedies, but for one shining moment, it brought everyone together and proved what we already know about this great country of ours: In the face of adversity, when everything else is pushed aside and nothing else matters, we, the citizens of the United States of America, will always be there for one another. Always willing to lend a helping hand or give a shoulder to cry on. Always wanting to stick together and be there for one another. And always letting everyone else know, that in the face of adversity, we will not crumble. We will stand tall, and we will be united, even if it’s something as small as the singing of the national anthem.
Alex Crowe, Assistant Sports Director