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Life-Hack For Displaced Sports Fans; Revisit Classic Games In Full

Life-Hack For Displaced Sports Fans; Revisit Classic Games In Full

Safe to say pandemics aren't the "ushe" and that every day is its own new experience as we individually and collectively deal with the current unknowns of this Coronavirus  
Self-quarantining, working from home, makeshift workouts and home-schooling our kids—all while figuring out what to do with downtime that was once filled by friends, extended family and a social life. 

Adding to this new bizarro-world reality; the fact we're all forced to take this on without the welcomed distraction of sports.

In a matter of days, the country went from getting ready to fill out NCAA Tournament brackets—to a much different version of March Madness than anyone could've expected. 

The Masters has since been postponed—while the PGA Tour has flat-out cancelled a slew of upcoming events, with no concrete timeline regarding a return. 

Major League Baseball, the NBA, pro hockey, soccer and tennis—all on time-out—while colleges have shut down, leaving their athletic programs in a holding pattern until ... who even knows. 

Netflix-And-Sit-Still-Without-Overthinking-Everything has become America’s newest pastime; most of us quickly realizing the one-time fantasy of a life with hours on end and nothing to do—planted on the couch and mowing down a season's worth of television in an afternoon; isn't as fulfilling as we'd hoped.

All those documented studies regarding depression and loneliness both being linked to binge-watching—it's all starting to make sense. 

Sports is a different beast, though—the unknown outcome and theatre-like aspect of live competition; it's the fabric of our being.

Kids forever dreaming of end-of-game scenarios where they hope to someday be heroic; two outs, bottom-of-the-ninth fantasies—hitting the towering shot, or throwing that third strike. Others imagining hoisting up a game-winning 3-pointer, down two as time expires—or throwing (or catching) that winning touchdown.

Sports-themed movies have literally been created with this premise in mind—the underdog team, or beaten-down protagonist overcoming unthinkable odds and prevailing in the end. 

When searching for an answer in regards to our currently sports-less lives, an attempt at a life-hack for those who are immensely missing the game and have already blown through their entire streaming queues in under a week. 

Dig up old sports footage and watch events in their entirety through this current and temporary lens—as there will soon again be an era where we lack the time and focus for a deep-dive of this nature. 

Most of us are prone to using YouTube for a condensed highlight clip and endorphin rush that comes from reliving a classic moment. For the sake of an on-brand example, take the Murray brothers—or any North Sider looking for a quick fix and pick-me-up with a 2016 World Series highlight.

chicago cubs cleveland indians game seven world series bill murray kris bryant anthony rizzo
A safe bet many have stumbled on a four-minute montage and those waning moments of that famed Game 7 showdown on November 2nd—the Cubs brining a 6-6 tie in the top of the 10th—Ben Zobrist doubling to left, driving in pinch runner Albert Almora Jr. to take the lead—followed by Miguel Montero plating the intentionally-walked Anthony Rizzo to push the lead to two. 

Any highlight package would also include Cleveland's Rajai Davis making things interesting with a two-out single to center in the bottom of the frame, driving in Brandon Guyer and sending Michael Martinez to the plate, representing the winning run. 

The tight moment brought Indians' fans to their feet, as Chicago's Mike Montgomery replaced Carl Edwards on the mound, though it was short-lived as Martinez, facing an 0-1 count, grounded out to third—Kris Bryant fielding a tough nubber and hurling it over to Rizzo at first—officially delivering the Cubs their third World Series title, 108 years in the making. 

All that to say, for those who have watched those series-clinching highlights over and again, when was the last time they watched Game 7 in its entirety and truly relived the roller coaster of emotions that game delivered—5-1, to 5-3, to 6-3 and an unthinkable, 6-6 tie and almost blowing it after a disastrous bottom of the eighth? 

Same to be said for Game 5 and Game 6, as well—Chicago battling back from that 3-1 series deficit, eking out a 3-2 to stay alive in the former, followed by a 9-3, momentum-snatching rout in the latter.

Since that magical season, that more family Cubs heartbreak has returned—Chicago routed in the 2017 NCLS by Los Angeles (4-1) and losing a Wild Card play-in game in 2018. (Per Bill, "Let them find their own links for those two".) 

Last season? A 9-0 shutout at the hands of St. Louis, where a win would've kept the hated Cardinals from winning the Central Division—which also proved to be the final game for Joe Maddon, three short years after delivering the ultimate gift—all that World Series magic faded in the rear-view. 

Truth be told, sports is mostly heartbreak—with some occasional magical moments—and even when those championship runs take place, fans are too stressed and maniacal to soak it all in as it's underway.
Knowing all this to be true and having lived it out year after painful year—why not use this down time to go back and revisit some classic games, series and sports moments in their full, original long form? Outside of a full-blown pandemic and an abundance of free time—one which has current sports on hiatus—when else would one have the time or need to do so? 

kobe bryant los ángeles lakers toronto raptors 81 point games
Weeks before the COVID-19 outbreak hitting pandemic levels in this country, the sports universe was shaken to its core at the tragic, untimely loss of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gigi and seven others on a foggy Sunday morning late January in Calabasas, California.
People have read the tributes, watched some highlights or interviews and tuned in for the public memorial at the Staples Center on 2/24—but when was the last time the average sports fan dug up Bryant’s 81-point performance against the Toronto Raptors in January 2006, taking in the entire contest?

Same to be said for a 65-point outing at home against the Portland Trail Blazers in March 2007. 

Same to be said for all those incredible performances in the 2000, 2001 and 2002 NBA Finals as the Lakers pulled off the three-peat—Bryant and running mate Shaquille O’Neal in peak, youthful, dominant form. 

How many parents have younger kids who know of Bryant, but never saw him play in his prime—or even that historic final performance in 2016?

Here’s your chance to go down the YouTube rabbit hole to watch entire games, or series—the beauty of this search and experience; never knowing how far it will go or where it can lead you? (Again, only ideal with too much time on one's hands—which is the current case.) 

michael jordan flu game utah jazz 1997 NBA finals chicago bulls
What about kids who have grown up in the LeBron James era, consider him the G.O.A.T. and believe he’s better than Michael Jordan—but never saw His Airness in action, No. 23 having retired back in 2003. 

Not a bad time to back to check out Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals, where MJ took the court with the flu—or food poisoning, or a hangover. Conspiracy theories have come out in the 23 years since, but regardless, there was no way the icon was sitting out a moment like this. 

Weak and out of sorts from the get-go, the Jazz built a 16-point first quarter lead—before Jordan started to find his form; scoring 17 in the second quarter, alone.

At every stoppage of play, Jordan looked spent—slumped over, hands on his knees. When on the bench, fully laid back with ice packs on his head, while pounding electrolytes. 

In the end, a 90-88 Chicago victory—Jordan with an incredible 38 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three steals and a block—as well as a late 3-pointer that gave the Bulls a lead they wouldn’t relinquish, en route to winning the series in six.

A year later, Jordan had a dominant Game 6 in the 1998 NBA Finals—15-of-35 from the field and 12-for-15 from the free throw line—in a 44-minute, 45-point performance, giving Chicago and No. 23 their sixth and final championship of the nineties.  

tiger woods the masters augusta national 1997 golf

Golf enthusiasts disheartened that The Masters has been postponed?

Take a trip down memory lane—reliving Tiger Woods’ first green jacket in 1997, his last in 2019 and all those in-between—2001, 2002 and 2005.

What about The Golden Bear—Jack Nicklaus as the first player to win the event two years running (1965, 1966) as well as the oldest to ever win everyone's favorite Southern-fueled tourney; capturing his 18th and final major at Augusta National in 1986 at 46 years old

Boxing enthusiasts clamoring for the long gone golden era of heavyweights—revisit legends like Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier or Mike Tyson in their prime. Same could be said for men’s tennis; another sport that’s faded as of late—but boasted some tremendous rivalries and showdowns over the years

john elway denver broncos Cleveland browns the drive nfl playoffs
Some might even want to go back and show their kids a time before Tom Brady was the go-to clutch quarterback and New England dominating the NFL—or a different type of NCAA powerhouse, before Alabama had a modern-day stranglehold on all things college football.

Sports is a quirky thing as games or matches lose understandably lose some luster once the clock hits 0:00 and they’re officially history. Not knowing the outcome is part of what makes the experience so welcomed and part of our culture.

That said, like seeing a movie or reading a good book—the details can get fuzzy over time—welcoming a new viewing experience.

Where we as a people won’t hesitate to rewatch a classic film, or to reread a classic novel—in the era of self-quarantining, those feeling the pain of no new sports have a wealth of content at their fingertips, by way of modern technology. 

Unearth some of the classics, be it some great runs by your favorite teams—or something as simple as scratching that March Madness itch, by way of some classic Final Fours or championship games of yesteryear

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