If you’re like me, the coronavirus pandemic has shown you just how much of your free time is consumed by sports. Slowly, we as sports fans have lost an entire spring’s worth of games due to this pandemic. While there’s no question that those events should be canceled, it certainly would make being quarantined easier if they weren’t. The way I see it, there are three main routes to take to still get your sports fix: combing through the internet to stream some of the very few remaining live sports left, watching old sports events, or listening to sports radio and podcasts.
The live sports approach is becoming increasingly difficult. About a week ago, the last of the headliner spring sporting events was postponed; a couple days ago, the Olympics was postponed; and now, most postponements are for sports you didn’t even know were happening. However, the Belarusian Premier League is still going strong and, in my humble opinion, currently stands as the best soccer league in the world still playing. You also don’t have to worry about it going away anytime soon, because as Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko put it, “In the villages, the tractor will heal everyone. The fields heal everyone.” There are also still Russian leagues of tennis and 3-on-3 basketball going on, but those are going to be incredibly hard to live stream.
If you’re looking for something a little different from the plethora of live traditional sports options I’ve laid out, then esports are going to be your best option. Media outlets like ESPN and Fox Sports are giving more attention to this sport than ever. Nascar’s iRacing series drew a record number of viewers last weekend as Denny Hamlin won at a virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway. The next race will take place this Sunday at 1 p.m. at the virtual version of the Texas Motor Speedway. There’s way too many esports leagues to cover every single one; however, you can bet that any popular game you like will have an esports league that plays it.
If esports and the Belarusian Premier League aren’t for you, then rewatching some old games is a great way to still watch sports. One of the games I’ve gone back to rewatch is Super Bowl 49, where the Seahawks infamously threw the ball at the goal line and threw an interception, effectively costing them the game. Rewatching NFL games has recently become much easier, as NFL Game Pass has offered complimentary access to replays of every game from 2009-2019 through their service.
Another game I rewatched was game seven of the Stanley Cup playoffs, Carolina Hurricanes vs. the Washington Capitals, last year. It went into double overtime before the Hurricanes won and clinched a spot in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Lastly, I went back and watched game six of the 2011 World Series, where the Texas Rangers had the St. Louis Cardinals down to their final strike twice before ultimately losing the game in the 11th inning to force a game seven.
My last suggestion for sports entertainment is radio and podcasts. While it’s not the most glamourous form of media, sports radio hosts generally have different insights than what you hear on major sports outlets. While some are better than others, they generally are well researched and have pretty interesting and thoughtful discussions. I find the more interesting ones are based on old news that has been given new light through a more complete story. For example, I really enjoyed ESPN’s “30 For 30” podcast on Donald Sterling. It dove deep into his past and gave a lot of backstory, especially to the Los Angeles basketball community, which saw him as a cringeworthy racist for decades before the rest of the country. Podcasts are an especially versatile form of sports media, as the vast majority of sports journalists have at least tried them out during their careers.
While sports may not be coming back for a while, it seems that for now, there are still ways to get your entertainment from sports.