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    Mar 24, 2020

    16 Things To Do Now That You Can't Watch Your Favorite Sports

    Please, I just need to see a ball (any ball) score a point, goal, or run.

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    Just because there aren't any games to watch (at the moment) doesn't mean you can't continue to find new ways to enjoy your favorite sports.

    IFC Original Production / Via giphy.com

    It's hard to go cold turkey, especially during this team sports-heavy time of year — the madness of the NCAA Basketball Tournament, the NBA and NHL heading into the playoffs, spring training and opening day for baseball as well as the NFL Draft and free agency. Plus all of that soccer! But the good news is that you have options, specifically ones that cut to the core about why you like/love these sports in the first place. So while we take a timeout from our normal sporting life, here are some ways for fans (super or otherwise) to stay in the game.

    1. Challenge Yourself To Watch Every 30 For 30

    ESPN

    For more than a decade, ESPN's 30 For 30 series has looked at sports as more than an intersection of games and athletes but as a collection of incredible stories and the unforgettable people behind them. In fact, you don't even have to like sports to enjoy most of the 100+ documentaries and 65+ shorts available from ESPN+ ($4.99 per month) or with a Disney+/Hulu Bundle ($12.99 per month). Start from the beginning or jump around. We suggest starting with "The U" which not only got a sequel episode but it's own theme song by 2 Live Crew's Uncle Luke.

    2. Or Catch Up On Some Quality Sports Journalism

    The Athletic

    If you like your sports media without all the hyperbole, the screaming and shouting, the squawking heads, and without ads, then might we suggest checking out The Athletic. We're talking top writers covering both national and local beats (nearly 50 cities). With no games being played or even written about, this is a prime opportunity to check out some quality sports journalism, thanks to a free one-week trial.

    If Baseball Is Your Preferred Pastime...

    A pandemic might have been the only thing to make baseball fans forget about the Houston Astros cheating scandal. But based on the boos 'Stros players heard throughout Spring Training, that's not going to be an easy thing to let go. So put that outrage on simmer and try to focus on some of the purest elements of the game (potentially) available to you at the moment.

    3. Experience That Ken Burns Effect

    WGBH

    Thanks to PBS (and of course, viewers like you) nine episodes/innings worth of the documentary Baseball: A Film By Ken Burns have been made free to stream. That's over 18 hours of content covering the history of our "National Pastime." For you those looking to go the distance for a complete game, the10th Inning, narrated by the incomparable Keith David covering the time period from the 1994 strike to the 2009 season, also happens to stream for free on Amazon Prime.

    4. Flash Some Leather

    Target

    And honestly, there's never been a better chance to break in a new mitt ($49.99) because if you didn't have the patience before, you certainly have the time now. Get new gloves game ready and reshape old ones with a proper Break-In Kit ($9.88) that includes leather conditioning formula, an applicator sponge, a plastic ball to form the pocket, and a stretchy strap to tie it up nice and tight. Now you'll only have yourself to blame for any errors you make in the field.

    5. Learn Some New Acronyms

    Baseball Prospectus

    If you've never paid any attention to Sabermetrics (too many acronyms!) the 25th-anniversary edition of the Baseball Prospectus ($25.92) is a great place to start. Now you'll be able to tell your VORP from your WAR. It's packed with stats, player projections you'll learn to love like PECOTA (Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm), and the always entertaining "insider-level commentary."

    6. Play The Entire Season (With No Rain Delays)

    Sony, Xbox

    As always, a new Major League Baseball season brings with it new video games (even when that season is postponed). Play out that entire162 game schedule with either MLB The Show 20 for PS4 ($59.99) or RBI Baseball 20 for Xbox ($29.99).

    If Football Is What You're Feeling...

    Well, even during its own offseason, the NFL might be the league with the most going on at the moment. The Combine didn't get canceled, the Draft will be televised (subject to change), and free agency is in full swing (Rivers is a Colt? Brady's a Buc?!?). So fans can at least get a bit of that normal football fix. But if you need a little extra pigskin in your life...

    7. Get a Peak Inside The Locker Room

    Amazon

    The fifth season of All Or Nothing series dropped in February and follows the Eagles' 2019 campaign (emphasis on the pain). Don't like the Yiggles? You can also choose from previous seasons following the Cowboys, Panthers, Rams, and Cardinals. (Streams for free Amazon Prime).

    8. Shake Things Up On The Grid Iron

    Target

    The classic Tudor Games NFL Electric Football ($40.99) has been given a modern-day makeover which includes 70 NFL team and conference logo stickers. All it takes is two AA batteries to get started and watch your favorite team (in plastic from) vibrate its way down the field to victory.

    If Basketball Is Where Your Heart Belongs...

    No sport, both professional or collegiate, was touched more by the COVID-19 pandemic than basketball. Conference tournaments were canceled in the middle of games leading to unprecedented levels of March Sadness from being unable to fill out our yearly brackets. And NBA players testing positive for Coronavirus pushed every league currently playing to curtail and then postpone or cancel its remaining schedule. Now more than ever, we need our hoops fix.

    9. Drain Threes From Deep (Behind Your Desk)

    Walmart

    Since anything more than two-on-two is considered a gathering (and a really bad idea) you're going to have to take your game inside. Play some one-on-none with the Pro Mini Basketball Hoop ($24.99) and take a break from WFH to work on that long-distance jumper. And while the "spring-action break-away rim" encourages thunderous dunks, we encourage you to make sure no one is watching while you pretend to throw it down like Giannis.

    10. Think Again About Your Team Tanking

    Grand Central Publishing

    "Trust the process," they said. Trade up for Markelle Fultz, they said. Find out what else they said in Tanking to the Top: The Philadelphia 76ers and the Most Audacious Process in the History of Professional Sports ($25.96). A must-read for any Sixers fans still wondering, "Is this ever going to work?" and for all NBA fans wondering if their team should have tried the same thing.

    11. Remember Why You "Love This Game"

    ESPN

    If it's orange and round and bounces, you will find it here! Twenty hours. Ten episodes. And 62 short stories culled from the NBA, WNBA, ABA, and NCAA. Yet another reason for you to subscribe to ESPN+ ($4.99 per month) or Disney+/Hulu Bundle ($12.99 per month).

    If Hockey Flows Like Ice Through Your Veins...

    It's looking like the Stanley Cup won't be raised this season (or dented or used to feed dogs) and that the only ice time you're going to see is staring into your freezer or watching Frozen for an uncountable amount of times. However, there are still a few ways to ice hockey and chill.

    12. Hockey

    Wayfair

    You can always practice your tricks shots (preferably indoors these days) but once you've mastered those you need a new challenge. So let that challenge be dominating loved ones or roommates at NHL Stanley Cup Hockey Tabletop Game ($126.99) without completely alienating them. And try to stay out of the penalty box, other people will need to use the bathroom.

    13. Drop The Gloves (And Cover Your Eyes)

    Amazon

    If two-fisted (but cautionary) tales of legendary on-ice goons are how you'd like to get your hockey fix then look no further (really don't, it's right there) Tough Guy: The Bob Probert Story (streaming for free on Amazon Prime). "Enforcer" isn't an official position in hockey, but it's one, you'll soon learn, with a deep, dark history.

    If Soccer/Fútbol Is Your World (Sport)...

    MLS, UEFA Champions League, La Liga, Ligue 1, Liga MX, Italian Serie A, English Premier League, and even the Men's Olympic Qualifying Tournament have all been postponed. And after hours of kicking a ball against the wall and using your mattress to practice some bicycle kicks, the “Beautiful Game” quickly starts to feel a lot less, well, beautiful.

    14. Yell "Goallllllllll!" Every Single Time You Score

    Xbox

    Some of your best options for scratching that itch for the pitch are FIFA 20 for Xbox and PES (Pro Evolution Soccer) for Playstation ($17.99). But if you're more of a mobile gamer, give Football Clash All-Stars a go. Collect and upgrade over 100 cards starring your favorite players for some friendly 5-on-5 action. Then there's the PACWYN 20 Football Draft and Pack Opener where you can collect and draft players and earn rewards by building teams and playing online against different opponents.

    And if you happen to get too tired of playing (video games), you can always watch others play on Twitch.

    15. If You're Looking For A Completely New Sport...

    Netlfix

    ...Try getting into Formula 1 through the Netflix series Drive To Survive which has two seasons currently available to speed watch.

    16. If All Else Fails, Take Heart In The Fact That At Least Your Favorite Team Didn't Lose.

    Broadway Video / Via giphy.com

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