We have officially entered the worst month of the year.
February isn’t just the worst because it seems to snow every single day — although that’s not helping its case any. Despite being the shortest month of the calendar year, February is by far the longest and darkest for any sports fan.
The Super Bowl has come and passed, and with it has gone our lazy Sundays and fantasy rivalries. Baseball still feels like a tiny light at the end of a long, frozen tunnel. We are approaching March Madness, but it still feels like it cannot come fast enough.
Indeed, if sports fans could hibernate, it would almost certainly be for the month of February.
Gone are the days of listening to clips of Marshawn Lynch repeat himself over and over on SportsCenter, contemplating expert scientific testimony on football deflation patterns and actually having a reason to look forward to Monday night. And we are still a bit too far from the days of endlessly mocking friends’ March Madness bracket miscues or watching our hometown teams dig their spikes into the thawed infield for the first time.
Instead, we have midseason NBA and NHL action to look forward to, along with the Cricket World Cup and Track Cycling World Championships thrown in for good measure. There are endless NCAA basketball games, of which about 15 percent seem at all relevant or consequential.
Some headline-worthy sports news from just this week: Stephen Curry gets Little League star Mo’ne Davis’s autograph, a brawl breaks out at a high school basketball game, Mets pitcher Matt Harvey feels healthy and Brett Favre is “looking forward to” returning to Green Bay in 2015 for his induction into the Packers Hall of Fame.
It’s going to be a long month.
It’s hard to say how we might best use this time. Perhaps we should be brushing up on our college basketball in preparation for our bracket picks come March, or maybe it’s finally time to get around to reading Derek Jeter’s autobiography. Maybe it’s time to get back to those New Year’s resolutions we left behind somewhere between Jan. 1 and the NFC Championship Game.
I am certainly not the first to notice the darkness that February brings for sports fans, nor will I be the last. Others before me have suggested delaying the Super Bowl a few weeks. If I had my choice, I would have college football extend its playoff to a full 64 teams and continue playing into early spring.
These suggestions are both extremely optimistic but utterly unrealistic. And of course, neither of them would give us what we all really want: for all sports to be in high gear at all times. For it always to be playoff time, for every strike to matter, for every field goal to have us on the edge of our seats, for every night to be filled with penalty shots and overtimes and comebacks and upsets.
There might never be a way to reasonably fill the sports void that February brings, but perhaps we shouldn’t want to. Maybe February is the absence we need to make our hearts grow fonder.
Personally, I can’t wait for March.