Five Sports Things to Do This Winter While Your Teams Suck

Thumbs up to losing!
Thumbs up to losing! Photo by Eric Sauseda
The Astros season is over. So are the seasons for the Dynamo and Dash if you are a soccer enthusiast. And while they may still be playing games, for all intents and purposes, the Texans and Rockets are done as well and watching them alternates between frustration and outright heartbreak. That leaves many local sports fans with a long, dark winter ahead and nothing to warm their little sports hearts.

The good news is that there are options for you, dear sports fan. Stuff you can do. Things you can watch. You might even enjoy it. And, no, it doesn't involve holiday movies on the Hallmark channel or Saturday afternoon antiquing (God help you). Quite the opposite. This is sports! We aren't giving up on you and you shouldn't give up on yourself. Try these on for size.

Watch college sports.

Note we did NOT say "college football." Many sports fans already watch it already and we only have weeks left before time off then the BCS playoff. What are you going to do in the dead of winter? How about college basketball? Yes, there are hoops being played outside of the Final Four. There an excellent variety being played over at the University of Houston campus, in fact, if you feel like getting out to see a game. If not, NCAA basketball, while not terribly popular in Houston for whatever reason, can be super exciting, especially when played at a high level.

Follow the Hot Stove league.

We know that Astros fans will be mostly disappointed by this offseason with Carlos Correa certain to move on and Justin Verlander probably signing with the Yankees. Likewise, signing big name free agents probably isn't on the radar for the Stros right now. But there are plenty of other rumors flying and loads of intrigue. Just get it while you can as the MLB lockout is set to start on December 1. After that, following that dumpster fire will probably be your best bet for baseball entertainment until Spring Training.

Check out the young Rockets with no worries about winning or losing.

I know we said watching the Rockets is painful, but that is primarily if you are invested in winning. You shouldn't be. The Rockets certainly aren't. But, what they are is loaded with young, exciting talent. They will have plenty of bad nights (they've had a bunch in a row already), but they will also flash brilliance. And there are plenty of tickets available if you want to see them in person. More importantly, you can just enjoy ANY pro basketball even if your favorite team appears to be more like amateurs at the moment. Then, when they are really good, you can say, "I've been with them since they sucked." There are some Astros fans out there who will understand.

Two words: Sports Betting

It is not legal in Texas to operate a sports gambling operation, but that doesn't mean you can't lay down a few sawbucks on a game or two using offshore sports betting. Now, our colleague Sean Pendergast is far more well versed in this than we are, but one thing we can tell you is that betting on sports makes them instantly more interesting. And if you are worried about losing money, try fantasy sports where the stakes feel just as high but don't do as much damage on the wallet.

Cheer for the Texans to lose and get the first pick in the draft.

"I could never root against the Texans," you say. But, what if it meant sealing up one of the top draft picks and giving them a shot at yet another franchise quarterback? What if, in the process of dealing their current franchise QB (he who shall not be named), they also land more good picks? Think about how they could go from one of the worst and, worse yet, least interesting teams in the NFL to one of the youngest and most exciting in one offseason. That's what the Rockets did. The Astros did it was back in the middle 2010s. The Texans could be next. We wouldn't bet on it, but if they are going to get a shot, they better keep losing. 
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke