I watch a ton of sports for both my profession and pleasure. This kind of fanaticism inherently suggests a 24/7/365 commitment to all things athletic (corroborated by the many late Friday nights I put in as the Riverside-Brookfield Landmark sports editor after high school football games).
As a sports viewer, however, I’ll admit lately my remote control has been feeling the dog days of bland summer programming on TV. If the Nielson Corporation created a metric among disinterested viewers, I’d probably slot in somewhere between die-hard fans of the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers, who collectively trail the St. Louis Cardinals by 49.5 games.
My recent sports slump is obviously not physical like a pitcher with sloppy mechanics or a basketball player with poor form on a jump shot. The conspirators causing my relative lethargy are the aforementioned lack of entertaining sports to watch coupled with virtually no high school games each summer.
With all due respect to the WNBA, the Little League World Series (or local youth baseball and softball) and 7-on-7 high school summer flag football, I need more!
You know the world of sports entertainment takes June through August off when Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island is ESPN’s crowned jewel of coverage every Fourth of July Weekend. To be fair, NHDEC was a thriller this past summer as the gluttonous Matt Stonie snapped the eight-year winning streak of Joey “Jaws” Chestnut by edging the former champ 62-60 on total hot dogs consumed within a 10-minute span.
Thankfully, as the calendar nears September I take great comfort in knowing that the sports landscape will soon make a dramatic turn for the better. The thoroughly engrossing combinations of college/pro football and college/pro basketball, along with baseball’s pennant races, playoffs and World Series, plus pro hockey, and men’s and women’s pro tennis at the U.S. Open promise nights of true reality TV. And anybody else curious if the Cubs win their first World Series title since 1908 or the Blackhawks secure their fourth Stanley Cup in seven seasons?
Heck, even the aforementioned WNBA doesn’t really get it on until early September when the finals finally roll around. (For the record, I’m rooting for the Chicago Sky featuring the spectacular Elena Delle Donne and the Minnesota Lynx with former Fenwick High School stars Devereaux Peters and Tricia Liston to square off for the championship).
While the TV menu will offer plenty of viewing options, here’s an even better idea, for me, and quite possibly you. Why not check out the local high school football scene?
Fresh off a 6-4 record and playoff appearance, Riverside-Brookfield appears back on the rise and eager to debut its new football stadium, the Kennelly Athletic Complex, in early October.
Competing in the rugged West Suburban Conference Silver Division, Lyons Township will field a new-look lineup at Bennett Field. Fenwick is all set to host multiple games at either at Morton High School or Concordia University several Saturday afternoons.
And of yeah, Nazareth looks to defend its Class 6A state title after a dominant 2014 campaign.
Whether you’re a parent, sibling, friend or fan, perhaps you might want to check out not only the various football options but also RBHS, LTHS, Fenwick and Nazareth boys and girls cross-country, boys and girls golf, boys soccer, girls swimming, tennis and volleyball. Not too far away, Trinity offers additional high school sports entertainment.
I’ll certainly be taking in as many games as possible. After all, I can always catch up on sleep next summer when Stonie puts his hot dog eating title on the line.