Four Ways to Replace the Sports You Will Be Missing

If you can't get out and play football, consider some video game action.
If you can't get out and play football, consider some video game action. YouTube Screenshot
With sporting events canceled worldwide, spectators and fans may be finding passing the time (in isolation) to be a bit tedious. Live sporting events are, after all, a way many Americans enjoy spending their time, either in person or on television. Without those options, many fans will feel like children cramped inside on the third straight day of rain in the summer.

What is a sports fan to do? We have some suggestions.


For those who live for the excitement of sports, reading might sound like the antithesis of pro basketball or March Madness, but that isn't really the point. There is so much good reading material out there about sports, there is no good reason not to get caught up. And we aren't talking about sports journalism. You should be reading that already. If you'd like a suggestion, consider The Punch by John Feinstein. It chronicles the night when former Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich nearly lost his life on a basketball court as a player. It's a fascinating look at someone who would later dramatically affect the Houston sports scene and a moment that changed how basketball would be played.


Always wanted to know what a "rubber game" was? Don't understand what a hot route is? Feeling embarrassed at your lack of knowledge of salary caps? This is your chance to get a better handle on how sports are actually played. You could start by brushing up on your sports history. Then, maybe pick up something like The Art of a Beautiful Game by Chris Ballard to brush up on the details of playing a sport like basketball. Finally, dig into Moneyball and figure out how modern teams are making choices about money and rosters. By the time sports starts again, you'll impress all your friends and maybe even learn how to appreciate sports in a new way.


Networks have already been airing replays of classic and even recent games. Watching some historic sporting events should certainly be on your calendar. But, there are also loads of good short documentary films (30 for 30 anyone?) and great sports-themed movies from virtually every generation. If you want something with a little deeper dive, consider some instructional YouTube videos. There are thousands detailing everything from workouts for improving speed to how to throw a curveball.


It might be tough to practice social distancing while playing actual sports. You might be able to do it shooting baskets solo or going to a batting cage, but if you want to isolate for safety, why not esports? Video games are have been wildly popular for decades and they, for many, are the closest they can ever get to running a professional sports franchise. Plus, you can interact with — i.e. trash talk — others without actually having to be in the same room with them. Win-win!
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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