By Drew Markol, TSN Contributor - Archive - Email
Nobody asked me, but...
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - What do you tell someone who wants to find a new sport after his/her season is over?

Kind of a weird premise, but I had a friend ask me just that the other day. This guy is a rabid men's college basketball fan and after "One Shining Moment" ended on Monday night, he was out of luck.

His hoops was over for the next six months-plus - an eternity for just about anything but pregnancy.

So what does one do in such a situation?

Being a fan of many sports, I had a hard time putting myself in his shoes, but I tried.

When you think about it, I told him, it's never been easier to be a fan of just about anything.

With the Internet, you can follow any sport, anywhere at any time of the day. And with a zillion sports packages available on your television, watching the games is easy.

Now, if you pick Australian Rules Football as your next thing to follow, it becomes very expensive to attend a game, but that's not the point.

How many millions of NFL fans have never been in an NFL stadium? Lots and lots of them. But they're still fans and can follow their team.

In other words, with a smorgasbord of sports available at your fingertips worldwide, finding a new one is a snap. Having a sports wife and a sports mistress is more than fine. In fact, you won't get in any trouble and it's fun.

With that in mind, here are options aplenty, I told him, take a pick.

* You already like basketball, so why not try the NBA. Their regular season is coming to an end and the playoffs are fun. His response? Nobody knows how to shoot and they never call traveling after a guy takes five steps. OK.

* How 'bout NASCAR? Can't do it, he said. Too many left turns and crashes I don't care to see. But, I told him, there's a lot more to it than that. Just can't was all he said.

* Ah, here's a goodie: the NHL. Their season never really ends. They only take off about two hours from the end of the Stanley Cup Finals to the start of training camp, so you'll have a new sport for 12 months. Maybe (hey, we're getting somewhere), but all of those names I can't pronounce, that could be tough. I said to him, look, enough already, if you're not going to even give something a chance, I'll stop wasting my breath. Fine, give me one more choice and then I'll leave you alone.

* Well then, the easiest sport to follow is the NFL. Your team - there are 32 to pick from - only plays once a week and most of their games will be on Sunday. Plus, when you get to the office on Monday morning you won't sound like a doofus when everybody else is talking about football. With apologies to baseball, the NFL is America's pastime. So you'll be hip or as hip as possible for someone like yourself. Ouch, he said, to that last line, that hurt, but maybe I'll take you up on the NFL.

Whew. That shouldn't have been that hard. You know, I continued, you're allowed to follow more than just college basketball and pro football. Baseball, even if it's not No. 1 anymore, is a wonderful game. And golf is great, too. You can fall asleep watching it and wake up an hour later and you won't have missed anything.

Plus, they don't make enough noise to wake you up, so if you want to sleep a little more, you can go right ahead. Heck, most of the time they whisper. All you really need to find a new sport is to open your mind and give different things a chance.

That's pretty good advice for almost anything, my friend said. Thanks, I replied, now hand me the remote.

Drew Markol has been a sportswriter and columnist for several newspapers in the Philadelphia area for more than 25 years.

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