Five Things To Love About Sports In The Spring

Five Things To Love About Sports In The Spring

A list of events that make spring my favorite time of the year in the sports world

Ahhh spring... It's almost here! Sure our allergies might think of it as the devil and we lose an hour of sleep thanks to the good ol' Daylight Savings Time (aka "Spring Forward"), but you have to admit it's nicer than the frigid temperatures that winter provides us with. Now, to prepare for the new season, here are five events in the sports world that always remind me that spring is on its way and not too far behind. Yes, I used sports for this, but how else can I describe when spring's coming? I'm a sports geek!

1. NBA Playoffs

April 15th can't come fast enough! Will we possibly see a third consecutive Finals matchup between the Golden State Warriors (boo!) and the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers (yay!)? Or will some new faces be playing in the biggest series of the NBA season? It's not clear to tell. However, no matter what team becomes the new NBA champs, the playoffs will be, to quote Kanye West, "Amazing, so amazing"

2. March Madness (NCAA Tournament)

Personally, I find it more fun to watch the NCAA Tournament than the NBA playoffs simply because of one word: Upset. Throughout the years of this tournament, there have been a handful of teams that no one ever thought would have a chance to move far throughout it, let alone make the "Big Dance" in the first place. However, because of their passion, skill, and desire to win, that has led to many underdogs defeating some of the best teams among the NCAA in the games that matter the most. After all, there's a reason why they call it March Madness! No matter how high seeded a team is, there is no automatic winner in this show, at least most of the time. Some memorable, or upsetting, moments from this thrilling tournament that come to mind for me include 14th seeded Mercer defeating 3rd seeded Duke 78-71 in the first round of the 2014 tourney, 8th seeded Villanova defeating 1st seeded Georgetown 66-64 in the 1985 NCAA Tournament Championship, 15th seeded Middle Tennessee State upsetting 2nd seeded Michigan State 90-81 in the 1st round of the 2016 tournament, 15th seeded Leigh over 2nd seeded Duke 75-70 in the first round of the 2012 dance, Butler's back-to-back Final Four runs in 2010 and 2011, and of course watching my Duke Blue Devils win the "Big Dance" in 2010 over Brad Stevens' underdog Butler Bulldogs and 2015 over Bo Ryan's Wisconsin Badgers. Since a handful of teams throughout this college basketball season have held the number one spot (Villanova, Gonzaga, Kansas, Duke, Kentucky, and Baylor) and there hasn't been one team in particular that has jumped out to me as being the favorite to win the whole thing, it will be interesting to see who's in and who's out on Selection Sunday and how the 2017 tournament will go down in the end. So, will I win my bracket this year? We shall see. But considering that the odds of me getting a perfect bracket are 1 in 9.2 quintillion, I might think otherwise.

3. NFL Free Agency

It's that time of the football calendar year where NFL players take "big money" deals and either make NFL fans and team owners jump to the moon or have them feeling like they've been stabbed them in the heart. But one thing's for sure, it's fun as hell to watch! Since this year's free agency signing period started this past Thursday, March 9th, there have already been a handful of moves made including QB Brock Osweiler being traded from the Houston Texans to the Cleveland Browns, Pro Bowl WR Alshon Jeffery leaving the Chicago Bears to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles, Pro Bowl LB Lawrence Timmons saying goodbye to Pittsburgh to go sign with the Miami Dolphins (which as a Steelers fan was heartbreaking news to hear), and standout Pro Bowl DE Calais Campbell shipping out of Arizona (a team he had played his entire career with) to go sign a huge four year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, just to name a few. Because of a big event like this happening in the NFL right now, NFL players, owners, and GMs will be hearing certain phrases and sayings from football fans throughout the spring such as, "Why didn't you get him back?," "Really? You left us to sign with them?," "What? We got (insert players name)? Wow!," "Why? Why? Why? Why would you resign him?" (what I thought when I heard my Steelers resigned QB Landry Jones to a two year deal), and "With this signing, we're going to the Super Bowl." Lastly, I would like to say this to all 32 NFL teams, may the signings be ever in your favor, but if not you're screwed!

4. NFL Draft

These are three great days to watch for me because it is awesome to see college football players take their talents to the next level to develop their skills and goals not just as players, but as men too. Also, it is an emotional day for these kids because they can finally say that they have accomplished their dreams of becoming NFL players after all of the hoops and obstacles they had to take to get to this pinnacle. Now, will many of these highly scouted players become franchise darlings or busts? No one knows. However, a day like the NFL Draft, along with the free agency signing period, can certainly make or break a team for their future based on the players they draft and the trades they make with other franchises over this weekend in April. Either they become a dynasty or the laughing stock of the league (*cough, cough Cleveland Browns). Now, we will just be awaiting these words from everybody's favorite commissioner, sarcasm alert, Roger Goodell, "With the first pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select..."

5. Opening Day

There are two things that tell you when spring is coming: Groundhog Day and Opening Day. However, since baseball is my favorite sport, I would have to take the latter of those two days because with Groundhog Day, you never know if Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow or not every February 2nd, so were either getting more snow or more sunshine with him. However, everyone knows that when Opening Day comes around, spring is here. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about that. Every April on this glorious day, it gives me chills to see the thousands of fans who fill up their team's stadium to the point where there isn't a single empty seat in the house, watching the pregame festivities that go on before the game even starts, hearing the National Anthem, and last but not least watching the starting pitcher throw out the first pitch of the game, officially kicking off the new baseball season. Honestly, I react to this day like I do going down my living room stairs to open my presents on Christmas morning, with excitement and utter joy! I know some people might kick off the gorgeous spring season by beginning to plant their gardens or go for runs and jogs in the park. However, to me there's nothing better to begin my spring than ploppin' on the couch, with my hot dog and popcorn in hand of course, watching the sport that is America's pastime. After all, in the words of the late great Joe DiMaggio, "You always get a special kick on Opening Day, no matter how many you go through. You look forward to it like a birthday party when you're a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen." I can't wait for April 2nd! Now, without further ado, "Play Ball!!!" P.S. Go Tribe!

Cover Image Credit: Kingsport Times-News

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.

Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs.

In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm...

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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Due To The Achilles Injury That Kevin Durant Has Sustained, This Will Affect His Free Agency And Game

What is next for one of the greatest players in NBA history?


Let me start this article off by saying that I am not a Golden State Warriors fan. I am not a Kevin Durant fan, and I have not been since he left the OKC Thunder in 2016. I have an always have been an OKC fan and yes I hated Kevin Durant with such a passion. That is until Monday, June 10th. That is the day when I saw the toll being an NBA player takes on the humans that play the game. Each decision they make is judged so harshly that even if they get injured, the fault has to fall on someone, even if no one is to blame.

Game 5 showed us that Kevin Durant is very much human and clearly understands that. I have no respect for the Raptors fans who started cheering when he fell to the floor clutching his Achilles. As a fan base, I understand the stakes of the game but that doesn't make it ok to cheer when a player might be out for the rest of the series. That is a reflection I know the Raptors or the NBA don't want.

The NBA is a business and the reaction of these fans makes it seem like it's all about the completion and nothing about the game that has changed and affected so many people's lives. It also makes it seem like the fans do not show empathy for anything but the win and that the players must do everything to get the win.

As for Kevin Durant's future, it is up in doubt because an Achilles Tear has been a devastating injury to players in the past. The Achilles is the biggest tendon in the body and tearing such an integral component will clearly rob KD of the some of the length and athleticism he plays with because the surgery and the rehab are so long and difficult to complete. We may never see the person who completely took over the finals and carried his team to victory or score 30-50 a night with an insanely high-efficiency rate. All of that goes up in doubt because of this one horrible and career threatening injury.

As for his free agency, I think that this injury will help KD understand the fan base he has around him and his teammates who need him just as much as he needs them. The Raptors have stolen the finals from KD and the Warriors and this might compel him to stay another season and compete for a 3rd championship instead of going somewhere such as New York.

As for New York, they might as well start preparing for a losing season as they do not have the 1st overall pick to get Zion Williamson and Kyrie Irving has stated that he would much rather play for the Nets than the Knicks. That has to hurt a franchise who was looking to build a big three with the edition of KD and attempt to compete for a championship. All in all, I want to wish KD the best of luck in recovering and becoming a top 3 player in the NBA again.

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