Over the last few weeks, the focus of the sports world has been on college basketball but now those seasons are finished. And that focus is about to turn back to the professionals as playoffs begin for the NBA and NHL.
Before we get to the many reasons why you should be watching an NBA or NHL game every night over the next two-plus months, those are not the only professional sports in full swing now. The baseball season is underway and there are already plenty of storylines to follow and even some history being made after less than two weeks of the season.
This week marks the first major of the PGA Tour with one of the best weekends of the year for golf fans. The best in the world take to Augusta, Georgia with the tournament beginning Thursday and will give you every reason to skip your Sunday nap this week.
There is also a fairly popular sport getting ready for the final stretch of the season across Europe. The UEFA Champions League began its quarterfinals this week and is a perfect thing to watch at your desk while you pretend to do work. Or if you’re like me, you have to go home to watch because you can’t hide your screaming while at the office.
While all of those things would be enough to excite a regular sports fans, that is before looking at the schedule for the start of the basketball and hockey playoffs. The NHL gets underway Wednesday night and there is nothing like an NHL playoff atmosphere.
I have always enjoyed hockey more as a casual fan compared to the other sports because I do not make the time to watch as much of the regular season as I would like. However, when the playoffs begin (especially when the Dallas Stars are in it), I make sure to check the schedule every night and figure out which games I should be watching that day.
The best part of the NHL playoffs for neutral fans — outside of the obvious skill and talent on display — is an overtime game. If you have a rooting interest though, it quickly goes from the best part to the worst part as every trip down the ice is like a small heart attack.
And if that is not enough for you, the NBA playoffs certainly should be. If you have been watching college basketball since the beginning of the year, watching better players (and better officials) will be a welcome sight.
I know there are gripes about today’s NBA game about taking plays off and how players are out for the money. While I may disagree and I think the league is as good as it has ever been, those particular issues are certainly not a problem during the postseason.
Not only will you get to see some of the best players the game has ever seen, it will be easy to see the passion that drives them when you watch them during the playoffs. Between the life-long grudges of old teammates and the new rivalries being built during the regular season, the emotion has already been off the charts this year and will only build over the next two months.
Even though the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors are still the Warriors, both conferences are loaded with elite teams and we should be rewarded with several great series throughout the playoffs.
College sports will still reign supreme in this state but professional sports still have plenty to offer. And the best time of the year to watch begins this week.
Caleb Turrentine is the sports writer for The Observer.