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By Drew Markol, TSN Contributor - Archive - Email
Nobody asked me, but...
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - I need a jolt of excitement from the sports world.

Right now, quite frankly, stinks. So, what is one to do in dire times such as these?

Well, that's easy. Think of better times to come.

That's why it's time for our annual ... or semi-annual ... or whenever the urge hits time ... to reveal the ever changing top 10 sporting events going.

I wasn't going to do this list in any particular order until really looking at it. But, heck, it's a cop out to do it alphabetically, or by date, so we'll start at the "bottom" and work our way up to No. 1.

10. Game 7 of the NBA Finals. The regular season is way too long ("Hey, did you see that great dunk on the highlights last night?") and so are the playoffs. But after everything is whittled down, a Game 7 is a Game 7 and they're always really cool.

9. The first day (night) of the NHL playoffs. What a difference a day makes. Well, in this case, a couple of days.

The intensity level, always high in the NHL anyway, gets pushed way up like a switch being thrown.

Also, once the playoffs start, most of the fighting stops. Funny how that works.

It's OK to brawl in the regular season, and it keeps each team's goon employed, but as soon as the playoffs begin, the goons are a scratch and the guys with actual skills do the playing. As it should be all the time, but that's a complaint for another time.

8. The Kentucky Derby. The biggest thoroughbred race of the year is the first one of the Triple Crown.

It's counterintuitive, but that's the way it is (same deal with NASCAR having the Daytona 500 first, but that works, too).

If you've never been to Churchill Downs on Derby Day, try to go. I've been to all three and the Belmont Stakes and Preakness are great, but they're not the Derby.

7. Opening day of the baseball season. This used to be much better, and would be higher on the list, but baseball had to mess with it.

Instead of letting the Cincinnati Reds play first, during the day, now we get single night games and tradition be damned. Bring it back to the way it used to be: Reds first and then everybody else later in the day and it'll shoot up this list.

6. AFC/NFC Championship games. Everything is on the line. Win this game and you're off to the Super Bowl. Lose it and you're all but forgotten.

5. Army/Navy game. They don't play for money; or to increase their draft status. Just for their teammates and hordes of fans. Perfect.

4. The World Series. Like the NBA Finals, the World Series needs some intrigue and a Game 7. Get it and it's riveting.

3. The first two days of March Madness. Thirty-two games in less than 48 hours. A couple of upsets and near upsets. It's a college basketball buffet that doesn't get matched in the tournament at any other point.

2. The Masters. If you watch a lot of golf on TV, all the courses look magnificent. Then you see Augusta and it's somehow prettier. And if the tournament is close on Sunday afternoon, oh baby.

1. The Super Bowl. It's way too commercialized and even my wife knows who is playing, but when the game is good, and we've had a bunch of goodies lately, there's nothing better.

Now, notice the Summer and Winter Olympics didn't make the list and the reason is simple. They're too spread out.

You don't really go to the "Olympics" when you go to the Olympics. You go to a couple of places and watch a couple of events while the Olympics happen all around you.

Sad but true, the best place to get a true overview of any Games is to watch them unfold on TV because you can't be everywhere at once.

And now, thanks to social media and a 24-hour news cycle, the Olympics on TV have gotten worse because we can now easily pick and choose what we want to watch based on what happened.

Of course, already knowing the outcome, which is the case unless the Olympics are nearby, is lame.

OK, enough of the bad, let's remember the good things to look forward to each year. And we'll see how much this list changes the next time we look at it.



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

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