Monday afternoon was a beautiful spring day in New England, and it was another reminder for myself that April is the best month on the sports calendar, at least in my opinion.
For those of you who know me, this may seem blasphemous considering football is my favorite sport and we are still months away from kickoff. But hear me out.
In terms of football, there is still plenty of excitement to be had considering the biggest non-Super Bowl football day of the year is in April. I am, of course, referring to the NFL Draft which is being held next weekend.
Some may disagree, but I don’t think that it is a stretch to say that the draft is the second biggest NFL day considering this is the day that new stars are introduced to the league. Major professional leagues are only as good as the players that suit up in them, and the draft is where it all begins. Remember the excitement and the buzz that Rhode Island enjoyed last year when Kwity Paye heard his name called? It’s moments like those around the country that make the draft great.
Then there is baseball.
The big leagues are underway, local Little Leagues have either started or are closing in on their opening ceremonies. High school and college baseball is back. The association, for me personally, between baseball and nice weather is automatic. Whenever I think of baseball, I think of spring and summer. It’s just a fun time of year and I am excited to welcome it back.
Another one of my favorite annual sporting events is the Boston Marathon, which took place on Monday. It was the first time since 2019 that it was run on its usual April date, which was nice to see. It was great to not only get back to welcoming the spring with the race, but to also see us take one step closer to normalcy. The fact that I have had to use that phrase less and less over the past few months is encouraging.
There is also the Masters, which happened earlier in the month. I am not an avid golf enthusiast but there is something special about the Masters. Seeing those green jackets just always puts me in a good mood. Again, I associate it with springtime and nice weather.
April is also the start of the NBA and NHL playoffs. I love both of those tournaments and the fact that they are played simultaneously is thrilling. For two months, you know there will be something on TV every night of the week for the most part, it’s always compelling, even if it’s not your team in the mix.
Speaking of which, did you see the Celtics game on Easter Sunday? What a game.
I have fallen out of touch with the Celtics the past year or two. I think the team has a few too many egotistical kids running the show, and that is why they have failed to live up to their talent in that span.
Sunday was Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Brooklyn Nets, so I decided to tune in for the first time in months.
Between the fan interactions with Kyrie Irving, the young Celtics playing unselfish basketball - which for them is uncharacteristic also, the thrilling buzzer-beating finish, it was great theater. The Celtics have sucked me back in and now I am excited to follow them throughout the postseason.
The Bruins have been stumbling a bit lately, but they will be dropping the puck on their playoffs as well. I can’t wait.
Think about how much I just covered, that is also not mentioning the remainder of the high school sports like lacrosse, softball, track.
April really is the most exciting time of year of the sports calendar. Every single night there is something going on. Whether it be a big playoff game professionally, a rivalry matchup locally, and traditional events like the marathon, there is just so much buzz in this month. It also signals the beginning of the nicest part of the year and the end to the worst. It is always so much fun being a sports fan for these 30 days.
Now, the second part of my column is going to be about the aforementioned Kyrie Irving and his antics in Sunday’s game.
Most of you know the story by now, but for those of you who do not, I’ll give you the quick rundown.
Kyrie Irving, one of the NBA’s biggest stars, was a member of the Celtics for two seasons. Midway through his second year in Boston, he announced at a public team function that his intent was to re-sign with the team long term. Fast forward to the end of the season, he decided to move on to Brooklyn and essentially told the fans in Boston that he owed them nothing.
Now, two seasons later, he is public enemy No. 1 whenever he steps foot on the parquet floor and in the few games that he has been back, it has gotten ugly. Between profanity-laden banter, to fans throwing trash at him, to him stomping on the Celtics logo at center court, the relationship is about as bad as I have seen between a player and Boston fans in recent years.
On Sunday, the madness resumed. Fans booed, talked smack, and at two different occasions Kyrie flipped the middle finger to the crowd.
I’m probably going to get disowned as a Celtics fan, but I actually had no problem with Irving flipping the bird. At the end of the day, this rivalry has reached its boiling point, and if the worst thing he does is flip his middle finger, then I’d say that’s pretty mild.
Do I like Irving? Nope, I think he was selfish every second he was in Boston and lied to the fans and acted like a dope on the way out. But, at the end of the day, I’m a sucker for entertainment, and although I don’t agree with his gestures, I can’t say I blame him.
At the end of the day, pro sports are about entertainment, and those interactions and back and forths are what will make Game 2 must-watch television. I’ll have my popcorn ready.
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