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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Mar. 25, 2020 1 week ago

COLUMN: Three options to enjoy while stuck in sports purgatory

Despite there being no sports due to the spread of the coronavirus, there are options to satiate your thirst for competition.
by: Troy Herring Sports Editor

If you’re a sports fan — and I’m assuming you are, based on this being the sports section of the paper — you’re probably pretty bored right now.

Now don’t get me wrong — because I know we are in the middle of a serious pandemic that is wreaking havoc across the world — but while some have their coping mechanisms in place, the sports fans of the world do not.

Over the last two weeks, we have seen every professional sporting league in the country shut down and have watched college and high school sports halted, as well. We should be watching March Madness or baseball right now.

So, what I’m offering to you — the good folks of West and Southwest Orange County — are three ways I’m keeping myself sane during this Twilight Zone moment that we find ourselves in. 



Channels like ESPN, FOX Sports and the NFL Network need to keep making money, and they can only talk so much about sports being canceled — or about the shampoo that Lebron James is using to keep his hairline from receding to the back of his neck — so of course there is a slew of sports replays running constantly at the moment. 

Today — Friday, March 20 — I’ve watched Game 5 of the 1995 American League Division Series between the Seattle Mariners/New York Yankees and Game 7 of the 1988 NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers/Detroit Pistons. And tomorrow? I’ll do the exact same with whatever else I can find to watch.

Sure, it doesn’t offer the live and social components that come with sports, but it’s something. 

And it doesn’t have to stop with TV — there’s also YouTube, which offers a plethora of choices, as well. Shoot, given how many times I’ve watched full Alabama football games on there, YouTube should be paying me for my services.

Just about every sports organization in the United States — like the NFL, NBA and NHL — has its own channel where you can watch full games.



I’ll preface this by just saying I love — to an obnoxious level — documentaries as a whole. Seeing as how I’m a journalist, it shouldn’t be shocking, but I digress.

There are some absolutely phenomenal sports documentaries, but I’ll go with ESPN’s “30 for 30” — a mecca of the art form.

For me, “Survive and Advance” is the best “30 for 30” documentary. Nothing in sports beats an incredible underdog story, and that’s exactly what head coach Jim Valvano and his 1983 NC State basketball team’s run to the NCAA title was. As a good ol’ North Carolinian born and raised on State sports I’m unabashedly biased, but if that story doesn’t move you to sobbing like a contestant being kicked off “The Bachelor,” I don’t know what will.

Other suggestions for incredibly well done docs: “Without Bias,” “The U,” “The Two Escobars,” “Pony Excess” and “O.J.: Made in America.”



For this last section, I’m going to ask you to do something — open your mine to the ludicrous.

Outside the realm of traditional sports there exists a world of utter weirdness, and honestly, it’s oddly addictive. 

I’ve always known that there were “sports” out there that were beyond what I was used to, but I’ve never dived into that world until now.

I’m not ashamed to say that I, a grown man, have been sucked into the world of marble racing. There are actually channels on YouTube that serve this audience, and it’s something.

Jelle’s Marble Runs channel has specialty tracks that are used for heats, while small stadiums made up of an audience of marbles “watch.”

If marble racing isn’t your thing, one of the fastest growing sports that doesn’t require an athlete to leave their chair might be more to your liking. That’s right, I’m talking about esports.

In the year 2020, esports is a booming industry that rakes in a lot of money, with competitions around the world. Games like “Fortnite,” “World of Warcraft” and “Call of Duty” have become battlefields for teams competing in tournaments and the like, and it can be an outlet for you to shout at your computer when there are no live sports to partake in.

Now, if all of that is not your cup of tea, then the only thing you can do is go with option one or two above. That or actually sit down with the people you live with and acknowledge their existence. If I had to pick, stick with one of these options or take a five-hour nap instead.

Troy Herring is the sports editor at the West Orange Times and Windermere Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Mount Olive (BS '12) and the University of Alabama (MA '16)....

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