Column: A new kind of bucket list
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 28, 2013 00:02
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the biggest lull in the entire sports calendar: the soulless end of February and monotonous beginning of March.
These are the weeks when if you weren’t already telling folks nearby about the soup of the day, your full-time job becomes waiting anyways. These are the times that make standing in line and wasting away at the DMV look like all-inclusive cruise to the Bahamas. The series of days seemingly made for Tumbleweeds.
Think about it.
Right now, we are tantalizingly close to, but also maddeningly far away from, March Madness. Simultaneously, we can gaze happily forward at baseball’s return, but only with the knowledge that real competition won’t start until the first April shower. Also, we recently heard the fat lady sing at the NFL Combine, but then realized that means she just kicked off a two-month wait until the actual Draft.
Oh, and the NBA and NHL playoffs are right around the corner. Scratch that—farther down a couple blocks/months, and then right around the corner.
Late February and early March, you kinda suck.
So to cure our late winter woes, it’s time to invent something that most people wait far too long to write anyways: a bucket list.
Now, this is not comprehensive list of things to scratch off before someone is scratching your name into your eventual tombstone. Think of it more as a tip sheet for maximizing the upcoming weeks before the madness ensues and everything else follows.
This is no time to simply hurry up and wait.
It’s time to hurry up and get going.
Road trip down to the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden
While Kevin Ollie and company will sadly not be making the trip themselves, any true sports fan ought to be hardpressed for missing out on a shot to visit the world’s most famous arena during arguably its best event of the year.
In the final season of the real Big East, you have a chance to watch day after day of scintillating college basketball from one of the sport’s best conferences. Last year, I was fortunate enough to attend and witness one of the more underwhelming tournaments in recent memory. But you know, overall, it still kicked ass.
Not to mention, at what other time could you see Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Providence, Rutgers and more all lose in one place?
Get yourself down there and have a hell of a time.
Go to a UConn men’s hockey game
One of the few Husky teams whose situation will be bettered after all is said and done with conference realignment, this men’s club is already enjoying quite the ride. Backboned by stellar goaltending the last few seasons, the 2012-2013 team has become very well rounded and risen to the high ranks of Atlantic Hockey.
Currently slotted third in conference, UConn will conclude its regular season against lowly Sacred Heart this weekend, beginning with Senior Night tomorrow at the Freitas Ice Forum. You should swing on by at 7 p.m. to catch arguably the best sport to see live, and then return in two weekends for something better:
Free playoff hockey, AKA the best kind of post-season you can find anywhere, for the slim price of $0.
Should the Huskies maintain their high seed in the conference tournament, they’ll not only return to the AHA quarterfinals, but also have their best shot since 2006 to advance to the semifinals and beyond. And then, if they come out as the top dog in conference, UConn will move on to the NCAA tournament.
This year they’ve got the talent to get there. The only question remains — will you be right there alongside with them?
Enjoy nine innings of Husky baseball from J.O. Christian Field
Admittedly, the first home UConn baseball game won’t take place until March 22 against Georgetown, so you will have to kill some time before first pitch. But, since the Big Leagues will still be on spring break down in Florida and Arizona by that date, don’t wait any longer than necessary to take in America’s favorite pastime when it’s right down the street.
Less than two years removed from a visit the Super Regionals (or college baseball’s “Sweet Sixteen”), the Huskies figure once again to compete for an NCAA tournament berth in 2013. The team remains almost entirely intact from a positive campaign last season and boasts both strong pitching and lively bats. This combination lends itself to the most exciting brand of baseball and has already produced two extra-inning wins this season at neutral sites.
Then take into consideration the Huskies played out seven home games last year that were decided by two runs or less and the case is closed — get down to J.O. Once again headlined by All-American second baseman LJ Mazzilli, this deeper UConn club will bring the same level of excitement and in all likelihood, more wins.
Concoct a drinking game for every time an NFL draft analyst says “upside” or “potential” between now and April 25
But seriously, don’t. Or you may actually kick the real bucket sooner than you think.
Follow Andrew on Twitter: @ACallahan24