We are entering what I consider to be the best time of the year on the sports calendar.
Whether it is professional, college, high school, youth, there is nothing quite like the second half of April and there is plenty to look forward to all the way around. The weather is beginning to turn (outside of the migraine-educing April showers), people are finally coming out of their winter-long hibernation, the trees are beginning to bloom, the grass is back to being green, and for the first time since the fall, people are excited to spend long hours of the day outdoors watching or playing sports.
On the local scene, the high school and college spring sports seasons are beginning to heat up. Teams have gotten through the first few games of their schedules, and are beginning to come to form as the midseason quickly approaches. The first few games are always shaky, and are somewhat of a feeling out process in terms of roster numbers, setting lineups, and simply getting back into the swing of things as athletes shift gears from the winter season. Late April is usually the point when things begin to click for teams, and we get to start seeing what clubs are made of and what the postseason will bring come May and June.
There is also the start of the Little League season.
Little League is one of those things that goes so far beyond just what we see on the diamond. Sure, Little League games are fun to watch, especially when you have family competing. But Little League baseball and softball is a staple in local sports, the community, as well as our country’s youth. I have said it before and will continue to say it, I believe that sports are the best way to socialize kids and bring local residents together, and Little League has always been a shining example of that. Seeing those opening day parades and festivities are always one of the things that I associate with the start of nice weather and the nearing of the much-anticipated summer months. Having a strong Little League program is extremely important for a local community in my eyes, so it’s always great to welcome the kids back and watch them play ball.
There is plenty to look forward to from just a recreational level as well, even outside of competitive sports.
Whether it is hitting the links and playing a round of golf, playing pickup sports at the park, playing in men’s or women’s leagues, there is always so much excitement in the second half of April and the start of the spring. Sports have always been one of the best ways to celebrate the turning of the seasons, and to see the local community finally come out of its shell is so much fun to watch, especially in these next few weeks. Not sure if hiking is a sport, but that is an activity that I for one, am always excited to get back into once the snow melts and the temps rise.
There is also a lot to watch on the national level as well.
Major League Baseball, much like high school and college sports, is finally past its opening games and teams are beginning to hit their stride. There is also the playoffs in the NBA and NHL, as well the beginning of the four majors in the PGA Tour. Congrats to Tiger, by the way. There is also the NFL Draft, the Boston Marathon, and many, many more events. From a national level, late April is the best time of the sports year hands down in my eyes.
This is not putting down the other times of the sports year that people love. I also love the later half of the fall season, when the football playoffs kick off, along with sports like soccer, field hockey and cross country. The leaves start turning, you finally are ready to move on from the blazing heat.
I also love the end of the winter sports season as well. Playoff basketball is always a blast to watch at levels as well. As a journalist, I always look forward to those Saturdays when I can get to the venue, find my spot at the media table and watch 3-4 basketball games in a row. There’s also the hockey playoffs, the swimming and wrestling state championships, etc.
As a sports nut, there is always something that I am looking forward to and circling on my calendar. There is also never a time during the year that I am bored, I find joy in sports across the board.
However, the second half of April is always the best time of the year for sports, and in my opinion, it’s not even close.
It’s that time of the year when people are more excited than ever to be outside and enjoy the weather. It is also the craziest time in terms of activity. There are so many sports all going on at once, and it seems like there is always history being made in some form or another.
I’m sure that in a few months I will surprise myself and have a change in heart … like I said, not a day goes by where I am not anxiously awaiting some sport or event or season. But as I sit here writing this today, I truly believe that the best time of the sports year are the last two weeks of April.