The List: A winter break packed full of sports

Category:  Sports
Friday, December 11th, 2020 at 12:14 PM

The snow is falling and there’s no class for the next six weeks, which must mean it’s time for winter break. To celebrate this joyous occasion, I’ve decided to come up with a few things for Edinboro students to do while they’re enjoying their newfound freedom. The holiday season brings ample opportunity to enjoy the magic of the season. Sledding down your favorite hill, having a socially-distanced snowball fight, putting up the lights on your icy roof, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities to sustain you until school comes back.

But who wants to do any of those things when we all have the real reason for the season: television. Glorious, glorious television. And fortunately for those of us who spend our breaks inside watching other people play sports, there’s no shortage of primo matchups and events coming up. So, grab your remote and set a recording schedule on your DVR, because you won’t want to miss any of this.

5) Track MLB free agency.

This certainly isn’t the sexiest pick on the list, but hey, someone has to do it. Major League Baseball’s free agency period begins in December, and this year’s class is quite the doozy. There are over 60 big-name free agents that can be signed to make immediate impacts on your favorite teams. Nearly every position on the diamond has at least one big-time star that can change your favorite club’s fortunes. And of course, let’s not forget about those trade rumors! Is this the year the Rockies finally move Nolan Arenado? Speaking of star third basemen, will the Cubs move on from Kris Bryant? What mega-contract will the Yankees give out (*cough* J.T. Realmuto *cough*)? It’s always fun to watch billions of dollars be given out to other people, so don’t miss it!

4) Dive into sports documentaries.

ESPN’s acclaimed documentary series “30 for 30” is all available on ESPN+, which comes attached to most Hulu subscriptions. If you do have access to the platform, I would highly suggest getting into “30 for 30.” It’s some of the best documentaries (sports or otherwise) that have been made in recent film history. Have you ever wondered why drug lord Pablo Escobar was so influential on the Columbian national soccer team? What about the whole story of the controversial University of Miami football team? If these sound interesting to you, then absolutely check out the series. Personally, I would also recommend “O.J. Made in America.” Ezra Edleman’s 467-minute, Oscar-winning documentary tells a story of celebrity, race and sports in America through the lens of the most famous murder trial in our history. And I know you’ve got 467 minutes to spare, don’t lie.

Netflix is currently streaming “The Last Dance,” which is a 10-part series focused around the 1998 Chicago Bulls. The star-studded squad was one of the greatest in any sport, ever. However, internal strife between players and management was forcing the Bulls dynasty to come to an end. With all-access footage and interviews from Michael Jordon, Scottie Pippen, Phil Jackson and even Dennis Rodman, “The Last Dance” explores the end of the dynasty by looking into how it came to be in the first place. The runtime is similar to the OJ documentary, but with far less murder.

3) Take a trip across the pond for soccer.

I started getting into soccer in the early stages of the pandemic, which started just 9 short years ago. Or is it months? Who cares, time doesn’t matter anymore. The point is, I needed a sports fix, and the Premier League was the first fixture that came back. So, I started watching, and now find myself as a proud supporter of Tottenham Hotspur (I even bought a shirt). The Premier League table is loaded this year with the big-name clubs and big-name players clustered at the top. Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea, Man City, Man U, need I go on? The beautiful game, as Pele once described it, is alive and well right now and well worth your time.

In concurrence, the UEFA Champions League is also happening, which is a tournament of all of Europe’s best clubs from last year. All the big-names that aren’t in the Premier League are in the Champions League. Messi, Ronaldo, Mbappe, Neymar, Lewandowski (I’ll stop now). The UCL games are always jam-packed with action and provides some of the very best soccer the world has to offer. Give it a shot, I bet you blokes will enjoy it.

2) The NBA is back!

The Los Angeles Lakers were crowned NBA champs on Oct. 13. You read that correctly. A mere eight weeks ago. And after the shortest offseason in the history of any sport, the NBA returns on Dec. 22. In those eight weeks, we’ve had the draft and free agency happen, and in the following three weeks, all of training camp will commence. Don’t be surprised to see some sloppy play in the early part of the NBA season. Still, that doesn’t bother me at all. NBA basketball is one of the most fun things to watch on the entire planet. The athletes are so good, the game is so fast, the dunks are so spectacular, it’s well worth your time.

Not to mention, nobody does drama like the NBA. We aren’t even in this season’s infancy and there are already rumors and storylines aplenty. James Harden wants out of Houston, but the Rockets don’t want to let The Beard walk; will he actually sit out games? We finally get to see Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving — the league’s two most notorious adult babies — play together in Brooklyn. Will they actually know how to share the ball, or will that locker room start leaking like the Titanic? My bet is on the latter. Can Steph win without Klay? Will the Knicks win more than 30 games? You’ll have to watch to find out!

1) Watch the NFL playoff picture unfold.

Of course, in the sport’s world, the king stays the king. There is nothing better to do with your time over break than watch the NFL playoff picture unfold. This year, the league has introduced an extra wild-card team, meaning one extra team in each conference will make the playoffs. And with that extra spot available, the playoff races are packed in both the AFC and NFC.

For those of you who are fans of the local teams, this is the year you’ve been dreaming of. The Steelers (11-1), the Bills (9-3) and the Browns (9-3) are all in prime positions to make the playoffs. Let me repeat that: THE BROWNS COULD MAKE THE PLAYOFFS. Only in 2020, guys.

For the rest of us who just enjoy football, this is when the season gets good. Every single week has big-time matchups. Games are being played each Sunday, Monday (and whatever other day of the week the NFL is playing games to avoid COVID-19) that have monster implications. Buckle up everyone, because there are non-stop sports action from now until we have to return to class. At which point, there will still be non-stop sports action, but we’ll all have to get better at time management. Until then, I hope you enjoy all the sports and the time off for the holidays.

Sam Bohen is a staff writer for The Spectator. He can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

Tags: winter break

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