For some reason, February has been widely considered a wasteland in the American sports landscape. This is because most American sports fans look at February as a pause between the National Football League’s Super Bowl and Major League Baseball with a stopover in College Basketball for March Madness. But that is not the case, far from it.
There is plenty of sport to go around in February for the American sports fan, even more for the worldly sports fan.
Below are 10 reasons February isn’t the sports wasteland that most seem to think it is. Because there are plenty of things for sports fans to get excited about.
Kick off at The Super Bowl
The National Football League’s Championship game and a premier television event for commercials the Super Bowl, which used to be in January has been pushed into February’s schedule of sporting events due to an expanded playoffs system. This may be one of the first events in February, year after year, but it’s not the end of sporting events in February, either.
Start your Engines for The Daytona 500
Even though the race is no longer associated with Presidents’ Day weekend, it still takes place at the end of February. What makes this race unique is that it is the most prestigious race of the NASCAR season and it’s the first one on their race schedule. “The Great American Race” is always an interesting watch and it’s something that every driver and team is aiming to win. NASCAR doesn’t ease it’s season out of the starting blocks with a few ho-hum races, it starts out with the “Super Bowl of Stock Car Racing.”
The NBA takes Center Stage
The NBA’s season continues along in February with a break near the end of the month for the All-Star game and other festivities like the famous Slam Dunk Contest, Skills Challenge, Three-Point Shootout, Celebrity Game and more. Granted, the NBA season is a long one and mid-season sees it’s share of stars and media darlings taking time off the court to rest injuries, but the race for the playoffs is just heating up, so tune in. This is one of the few months that the NBA gets to shine all by itself, because the National Football League’s season is over and Major League Baseball is just getting warmed up in Spring Training.
Baseball fans can get excited about Spring Training
Valentine’s Day is a day to be with that special person in your life, but for baseball fans, it’s also usually when pitchers and catchers start reporting to Spring Training. So gather up you things and take that special someone with you to Florida or Arizona and take in a few games. You may not see the stars of today play a full nine innings, but you might catch the stars of tomorrow.
Golf is in the Swing of Things
For those of you who do not think that watching golf is like watching grass grow, the PGA Tour has a full slate of tournaments in February. It’s the beginning of another season and a chance for the professionals to start getting into the groove before The Masters in April. And to be fair it’s not just the PGA Tour that’s underway, the LPGA, Champions Tour, European Tour and Nationwide Tour are all trying to go under par in February.
The Madness before March Madness in College Basketball
Let’s not forget that being the month before the Madness of March, you’d be well served to tune into a few College Basketball games so you have a little more inside knowledge and insight when filling out your March Madness bracket. That March Madness office pool isn’t going to win itself.
Also, the schedule in February includes Rivalry Week, Duke vs. North Carolina on Tobacco Road, Michigan vs. Ohio State and usually a few interstate matchups in Florida like, Miami vs. Florida St. Let’s also not forget about the new conference realignments , for example Syracuse vs. it’s new ACC conference foes.
The NHL takes pause every Four years
The National Hockey League has always been in mid-season form in February. That is with the exception of every four years when the NHL takes and Olympic break so the players can go to wherever the Olympics are being held and play with their fellow countrymen for a chance at Gold. Aside from the Olympic break, the NHL is the same hard-hitting, fast-paced fury on ice you expect from the start of the season to the Stanley Cup Finals.
And let’s not forget about some of the more “worldly” sports.
Action on the Pitch in the Barclays Premier League
The Premiership in England is nearing it’s completion with title hopes and relegation avoidance aspirations there is action at both the top and bottom of the table. This ratchets up the importance of every game and every goal, as goal differential, could be the difference between staying up and going down. The Premiership’s relegation system means that games at the bottom of the table are just as important as those at the top.
Rugby Six and Sevens
Rugby is in full force with the 6 Nations taking place and Rugby Sevens in season. Hard-hitting fast action on the pitch, Rugby has a huge following outside of America, although within the United States it is growing in popularity. If you’ve never seen a Rugby match, you may be missing out. It’s very much a hard-hitting strategy game where everyone is in play and all players are expected to both attack and defend.
Welcome to the Winter Olympics (Every Four Years)
Every four years the Winter Olympics captures the hearts and minds of the world. The world’s best winter athletes compete for Gold in Skiing, Bobsled and Luge, Curling, Skating, Hockey and many others.
Dramatic and heroic stories are told and retold about the athletes in the games and of past glories and disappointments. It may only be every four years, but when it happens, it makes February’s already full sports calendar burst at its seams.
Who needs Swimsuits?
Lastly, as an honorable mention, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is released in February, although the name Sports Illustrated is about the end of the athletic ties to this particular printing of the magazine. The rest is just girls in (and sometimes not in) bathing attire. This issue of the magazine was first published in 1964 and hasn’t skipped a year since.