I'm a fairly average sports fan. I can really get into it at times. Other times I'll be concentrated on something else then check back once in a while to see what's going on. Lately it has been the latter. I'll return to this, but first I would like to talk about the differences between sports here and back home.
Stateside there are sports going on almost constantly all year. At some points there are even two major sports or leagues competing for our attention. Arguably, football and baseball are the biggest in the fall and summer. Basketball and hockey are lesser competing with each other in the winter. Nascar is huge in some locales also during the summer. College football and basketball also vie for people's attention. Personnally my allegiances fall roughly in the following order Cubs & Bears, University of Illinois College Basketball, the Chicago Bulls with Michael Jordan, and the Indy 500 race. For the other sports teams I am a fair weather fan, if that. I never got into hockey because it was not a sport we could play very much unless we got passionate about it and played in a league.
Here in Montreal I have found that sport is not as big a part of popular culture. Save one big exception. Hockey. I came up here hoping to discredit the thought that hockey is the only sport in Canada. It is not the only sport, but it is still quite pervasive. When I came up here for interviews, I took a break between them and had lunch at Peel Pub in order to catch up on the latest sports news. Every television had sports on it, but it was hockey or Caribbean workout. I was hoping for some college basketball, so I finished my fish and chips and left. But there are other sports. Baseball was here for a couple seasons while I was here before they left. The other big sports (Canadian football, Formula One, and Soccer) I have not gotten into because I really don't have others around me who are fans of it. Part of the fun of following sports is to compare notes with other fans. I can still follow teams back home because I can discuss them with my father who is a huge sports fan. Last year was very quiet on the sports front with the Expos leaving and hockey on strike. The hockey fans up here came back full force after the strike.
So that brings me to what happened to me this past week. I have been a bit focused on this blog thing and haven't been making my daily rounds of other websites. I watched some NFL pregame show found out that the Bears are considered by some to be the best team in the league. Huh? You've got to be kidding. I've been half following them all season and thought either they would fall apart before the playoffs or in the first round. Now they have clinched their division and have a first round bye. Well at least that means I'll be able to see them instead of the Patriots or Giants.
Then I was looking at ESPN online and they have a front page article about how the Fighting Illini are undefeated. What? But they lost quite a few of their good players last year? So after all this I feel quite out of touch with the Chicago sports scene. The Cubs I can follow because we get WGN, but the others I rely on national TV. I'm gonna hafta be more vigilant about finding out when the games will be on. That is... if I can slip it in between twice daily showings of Cinderella.