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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, June 15, 2024

What to do now?

If you, John Q. Sportsfan, have found yourself feeling a little empty inside this week, I want you to know you are not alone. 




Football season is officially over. It is only natural to feel bewildered. We will not see a real NFL game again until the preseason starts in August. With no XFL this year to bridge the football gap (insert own joke here), what shall we do? 




I will be the first to admit I don't have all the answers, but I have a couple of suggestions. 




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Every sports fan would be wise to watch some hockey during the football hiatus. In particular, give the Winter Olympics some attention when final round action begins Feb. 15. Six countries will feature players from the NHL, so the competition should be phenomenal. 




The Czech Republic returns to defend its gold medal from the Nagano Games, as does Russia, the reigning silver medalist. Both these teams might be underdogs though. 




I am no expert, but Team Canada appears to be absolutely loaded this year. Curtis Joseph, Mario Lemieux, Joe Sakic, Theo Fleury, Paul Kariya'It's like a team you would put together on Playstation. 




In spite of that, it will be easy to root for Team USA with ex-Badger luminaries like Chris Chelios, Mike Richter and Gary Suter on the squad. Not to mention Chris Drury, whom most know as Trumbull, CT's ace pitcher in the 1989 Little League World Series. 




For all the crap I have dished out to the sport of hockey in the past, I must say this: hockey has some of the smoothest highlights ever, not to mention playing the game takes more athleticism than you can shake a stick at. I can't even skate. 




Of course, the obvious choice to fill football's void would be NBA basketball. While the majority of my time will be spent rooting the Bucks toward a championship, some argue that the NBA season does not mean a thing until May and June. 




If watching NBA teams drag themselves through all 82 regular season games is not your cup of tea, try the NBA's pet project, the National Basketball Development League. 




Yes, this really exists. You can even watch NBDL games on ESPN2 every Monday at 3 p.m. 




Think of the NBDL as a mix between the old ABA and middle school basketball. The league has tons of great athletes who can run fast and jump high. Then again, shooting percentages can dip into the teens and errant passes into the stands are quite common. 




Personally, my attraction to the league is the eclectic mix of former college stars still yearning for the NBA. The list of \Where are they now?"" players is lengthy. 




Jimmy King from the Fab Five is here. So is Paul Grant, Wisconsin's leading scorer five years ago. B.J. McKie, Chris Carrawell and Scoonie Penn are also playing. Even Makhtar N'Diaye. Remember Terry Dehere from Seton Hall? 




Yep, the NBDL is FAN-tastic. Among the league's eight teams are the Roanoke Dazzle, the Ashville Altitude and the Huntsville Flight. Apparently David Stern let his second-grader name all the teams. 




But if you think about it, the NFL's Pro Bowl is Saturday. Then we have the expansion draft for the Houston Texans on Feb. 18 and the college draft in April. Next thing you know, NFL Europe kicks off.  




NFL Europe? I think I just hit rock bottom. A break will be good for me.

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