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home : sports : today's n-t sports   May 25, 2016

3/19/2013 11:19:00 AM
Bell: Favorite non-sports sporting events

Jared Bell
NewsTribune Sports Writer

For four days last week, I was practically useless.

From last Thursday to Sunday, I found myself fixated in front of TVs at my apartment, my parents’ house, the YMCA and numerous restaurants, watching the NCAA men’s basketball conference tournaments unfold.

I would estimate I watched parts of 10 different conference tournaments over those four days, culminating in one of my favorite non-sports sporting events: Selection Sunday.

What’s a non-sports sporting event? I’m glad you asked.

A non-sports sporting event is exactly what it sounds like: a sporting event in which no actually game is contested. Often times, these events are far more exciting, buzz-worthy and all-inclusive for fans than games.

So, in the spirit of Selection Sunday and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, I decided to list my top 10 favorite non-sports sporting events. Enjoy!

10. Heisman Trophy Presentation
As a kid, I used to love the Heisman Trophy presentation as a lot of my favorite college players were always up for the award.

Since, it’s lost a lot of its luster since winning the Heisman doesn’t necessarily translate into NFL success.

Still, the last few years, the Heisman Trophy presentation has been an intriguing event, especially this year when three legitimate candidates went to New York City with a chance to win.

9. NBA Draft Lottery
The NBA Draft Lottery may have lost some of its appeal from when I was a kid, but it’s still an entertaining event.

Finding out which NBA team gets the first pick is always intriguing since any team in the lottery has an opportunity to win.

In some years — such as 2003 — the draft lottery is a bigger event than the NBA playoffs!

8. World Cup Draw
This may happen just once every four years and may not be as big of a deal in the United States as elsewhere around the world, but for some reason I love it!

Even though I’m not much of a fan of the MLS, I am enthralled with international tournaments, specifically the World Cup qualifiers and the actual World Cup.

After all 32 teams have qualified for the worldwide event, nations are grouped into eight pools of four. The event is televised worldwide and is high-drama TV for me, to see who is grouped with whom, where the U.S. is placed and who ends up in the toughest groups.

7. NFL Scouting Combine
Something strange happened last month: I found myself watching the NFL Scouting Combine for three straight hours. Seriously, who does that?

I never thought watching NFL prospects run 40-yard dashes, jump, lift and do drills would be so entertaining, but it was. I don’t remember who 95 percent of the people were but it was a neat behind-the-scenes look at the annual pre-draft ritual.

6. Pitchers and catchers reports
After a long, cold winter spent in gyms, nothing incites thoughts of warmth and summer more than the best four words in sports.

Every year, pitchers and catchers reporting for spring training is an unofficial holiday for me. It makes me think how I need to re-register my fantasy baseball league, pick out the MLB and minor league games to attend and how I wish all this darn snow was gone!

5. Fantasy sports drafts
Like most guys, I’m a fantasy sports nerd.

I run my own fantasy baseball league, NFL and NCAA Tournament Pick ’em leagues and the NewsTribune-only fantasy football league (which I won last year!).

For whatever reason, I love competing in fantasy leagues and — for some — do tireless research — I’ve already done five fantasy baseball mock drafts in preparation for my fantasy baseball draft next Sunday.

Hey, what can I say? There’s nothing like winning and earning bragging rights over your friends.

4. Selection Sunday
Of course the inspiration for this column is on the list!

The culmination of nearly four months of men’s college basketball and two weeks of conference tournaments is must-see TV.

I love guessing where my favorite teams will fall seed-wise, who will face whom and then filling out my bracket (yes bracket, not brackets like some).

Selection Sunday has everything you want, and then leads to the best four days of the spring in which college basketball is playing morning, afternoon and night.

3. MLB Winter Meetings
More than any other sport, I love baseball and it’s the most evident during four captivating days in December.

The MLB Winter Meetings — affectionately known as “The Hotstove” — is an opportunity for players, agents, team executives and managers to gather in one hotel for four days in mid-December to do business.

When that many baseball people are in one location at one time, business can get done quickly. I’m glued to the TV and to my laptop for those four days, eagerly awaiting the next big free agent signing or trade.

It’s an early Christmas present.

2. MLB Trade Deadline
As someone who is fascinated by the business of sports, the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline is one of the best days of the year.

The trade deadline is similar to the winter meetings, but it comes with around two months left in the MLB regular season.

After weeks full of trade talks and rumors, teams out of playoff contention attempt to trade off players for salary relief and/or prospects, while teams in the playoff hunt try to acquire talent to bolster their playoff push.

No matter what side my team is on, July 31 is a 24-hour euphoria in which I stay glued to my laptop and TV waiting for news to break.

Sometimes big news happens, sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, I’m hooked!

1. NFL Draft
Even though I consider myself a baseball guy, I’m in love with the NFL Draft.

For the last two years —— this year included — I’ve used my NewsTribune birthday holiday on the first day of the NFL Draft.

For a sports junkie, I figured what’s a better birthday present to myself than to sit in front of the TV all day, listening to the speculation and hype of whose “stock” is rising and falling and where players are destined to “land” before then watching nearly four-plus hours of the NFL Draft.

Call me a dork but, for the three glorious days, I’m in Nerdvana.

Honorable Mention: MLB Home Run Derby, MLB Draft, Olympics opening ceremonies, BCS Selection Show and NFL Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Jared Bell is a NewsTribune Sports Writer. He can be reached at 220-6938, or Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsJared.

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