AA is launching a roundtable discussion each week on one of the most significant topics we've covered throughout the previous seven days. Our collection of sports media gurus will take part in a free flowing, often times snarky, often times sardonic e-mail thread and we'll publish the results for you. Read the entire roundtable after the jump. This week's topic: is this the best sports day of the year?
Question: It's roundtable time once again! With the real first round of the NCAA Tournament taking place, it's often referred to as the best two days of the sporting calendar. You're are all pretty big sports fans (which is why I assume you're here), so is this an assessment you agree with? Are Thursday and Friday of the first round the best days of the sports year, or would you rather choose something else? (Super Bowl, New Year's Day, Opening Day, etc.)
Andrew Bucholtz: I always enjoy the NCAA tournament, but for me, the last weekend in October (or whatever weekend happens to coincide with the World Series) marks the best days on the sporting calendar. World Series baseball, regular-season NFL, NCAA and CFL action, regular-season soccer (MLS and international leagues), regular-season NHL (when there isn't a lockout!) and late pre-season or early regular-season NBA represents a pretty compelling slate. For a sports omnivore like me, that trumps any single event, and it makes for an excellent weekend spent in front of the TV.
Reva Friedel: You know, I was going to answer with a resounding YES, these ARE the two best days of the year for me, and then Andrew had to go and ruin it. Because I get what he's saying (minus CFL, MLS, and NHL). Wait, now I'm contradicting myself. I love the weekends in the fall when you have so much going on – college football, baseball, NFL. It's glorious. But is there any other time of year that breeds more upsets than March? When was the last HUGE NBA upset? When was the last time an SEC team didn't dominate college football? With some of these seasons becoming more predictable, March always comes through with the surprises.
Ken Fang: The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament, the MLB Postseason in October and the Stanley Cup Playoffs in April/May are 1, 1A and 1B for me. That's in no particular order. All are equally on top for me. I have the same anticipation for the NCAA Tournament as I do for the NHL and then in October. NFL Playoffs are a distant second after those three.
Ben Koo: It's hard to crown a day 2 period without football as the best weekend in sports. I might go with rivalry weekend in November with the NFL piggybacking on top along with NHL and NBA and college basketball as well. That said, here is what I love about these 2 days:
This is the only sporting event that invades your day to day life. Everything else is for the most part on the weekend or at night. This is the one event where it's acceptable and part of our culture to be oblivious to your responsibilities. I've cut deals to work from home but not really work, but my favorite memory of these special days traces back to high school when I was in a group of students who paid a handsome sum for our 2 principals to be our employee for a day. We could make them dress weird, buy us lunch, wash our cars, etc. I did none of that but requested that at the end of every period, they would come onto the PA system with scores updates from day one of the tournament brought to you by Ben Koo. Mind you this was before the proliferation of cell phones and this was a pretty large school that really wasn't into college basketball. That's why I love these 2 days and the tourney in general. We're allowed to slack off or at least have to be complicit that these days afford us all special privileges that no other event provides.
David Rogers: I'll openly admit that I'm not a big basketball fan. Sure, I enjoy March Madness and pulling for the underdogs, but my level of enjoyment during the tournament is just a fraction of the passion I feel for the Stanley Cup playoffs or during the World Cup or Champions League tournaments. Building on what Andrew said, there's something special about those few weeks where all of the sports align, leading to a plethora of MLB, NFL, NHL and soccer options across the dial. Sports heaven.
Matt Yoder: I get what you guys are saying about the plethora of events, but I really get dialed in when one controls the day. Like the NFL Draft (at least before they stretched it out over 12 days). I love the excitement of that first day of March Madness (not the play in game, the real stuff on Thursday) and it's #2 on my list. Call me a sucker, but for me nothing is better than Sunday afternoon at The Masters. I know, I know, Jim Nantz waxing poetically about the azaleas isn't everyone's cup of tea. Nevertheless, the Back 9 at Augusta is the greatest theater in sports.
Joe Lucia: For as much as I love March Madness weekend… I’ve been on vacation during it for the last three years. For example, right now I’m watching one game on a crappy standard def TV and one game online with buffering issues. But what would I prefer over it? This might be an odd one, but how about Labor Day weekend? The stretch run of the baseball season is beginning. College football kicks off that weekend. The NFL kicks off the weekend after that. Even NASCAR gets intense, with a night race in Atlanta and the Chase on the horizon. Besides, I’m a Northwestern fan. It would be great to actually cheer for my team in the tournament one of these years.
Brad Gagnon: I agree that the start of March Madness is fun and special. I have some great memories stemming from the opening round of the NCAA tournament. I'm also a huge football guy and love October baseball, so that late-October stretch that Andrew mentioned is pretty awesome, too. However, I want to give credit to those first few days of the baseball season, which usually coincide with the end of the tourney. Basketball and hockey are also enjoying their home stretches at that point, so it's wall-to-wall. Love the NHL playoffs and the feeling that comes with the start of a new baseball season. There's something about April for me.
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