October, the best month for sports fans

Oct 20, 2013 by

October, the best month for sports fans

As I drove through High Park this morning in the chilling 5 degree weather, I couldn’t help but stare at the wonderfully diverse and colorful foliage in one of the picturesque parts of Toronto and think to myself what a wonderful time of year it is.  Sure it’s a little cooler than I would prefer, but the crispness in the air is something I’ve always enjoyed. The distinct smells, freshness and visual variety of the landscape triggers nostalgic childhood memories of epic evenings playing road hockey with friends and long bus rides to hockey arenas in anticipation of playing a game. The innocence behind such simple pleasures can be so easily forgotten in the soul sucking redundancy of the urban 9-5 work life that most of us succumb to.  As an adult it is much harder to organise a bunch of neighborhood friends and try to convince them to play a quick road hockey game before dinner.  We no longer play sports as regularly and leisurely the way we once did, if anything it’s often frowned upon in our society, often seen as a sign of immaturity or wasted time. Meanwhile we strangely encourage and value a daily sedentary lifestyle that features watching hours of television intermingled with gaming and mindless time wasted on the internet.  It should come as no surprise that climbing obesity rates among both adults and children are rapidly becoming one of this countries emerging health epidemics – but that’s a topic for another day. In fairness, responsibilities do shift as we age and there’s a different dynamic in how we experience sport as adults. Primarily we tend to live vicariously through our children and our favourite professional sports teams and I feel like this is the time of year where it feels most pronounced.

There’s something particularly special about the month of October that evokes excitement about being a sports fan.  If you live in Canada you’re most likely thrilled about the start of the NHL season, while if you live in the United States you have post-season baseball and a whole host of sports leagues starting to build momentum in fan interest like the NFL, NCAA football and the start of the NBA season.  From an international perspective, if you’re a soccer fan, the Premier League is only a few weeks old and specifically this year, in many world regions, the culmination of qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil next summer.  Also unique to this year, the Olympic torch relay currently in Vologda, Russia, reminds fans that the Sochi Olympics are only a few months away.  There are so many compelling storylines to choose from right now that it can be a daunting task to focus ones attention on a single sport, but then again, why would you? If you’re a sports fan you probably love the variety. I know I do.

I distinguish between Canada and America’s primary viewing inclinations based on each country’s historical points of interest, but there is no longer an identifiable border when it comes to sports fandom. There are obviously regional tendencies based on history, geography and the stakes involved, but in this time of easy accessibility to content through multiple media platforms being a sports fan has no boundaries. Whether it is through your local television provider or the internet, all major sports of interest are highly accessible at a reasonable cost. For many ardent and technologically savvy sports fans we have the resources to access them, often at the same time with any combination of devices such as our televisions, monitors, laptops, tablets and smartphones.  As I write this I’m streaming multiple NFL games online on my tablet while watching the Buffalo Bills play the Miami Dolphins on my HD television. In case you’re wondering, yes I have money on the Bills to beat the 7.5 spread.

In Massachusetts, the Boston Red Sox may be front in centre of the media headlines and fan attention, but there are many people living in the region who are just as excited about the New England Patriots hot start to the season or the future prospects of the Boston Bruins cup contending squad.  It’s a hopeful time of year where a number of professional sports leagues coincide and the potential of teams are being displayed in their infancy. As fans, we start projecting the possibilities of our favourite teams and sometimes that is more exciting than what actually unfolds. If you’re a Toronto Maple Leafs fan you’re excited about the early season play of new additions like Jonathan Bernier and Dave Bolland and look forward to seeing David Clarkson return from his 10 game suspension.  If you’re an Edmonton Oilers fan you’re hoping Taylor Hall’s injury isn’t significant and you’re wondering if Nail Yakupov might get traded to shore up the team’s defensive weaknesses. For every city there’s an interesting storyline, or several, and at this time of year there happen to be a number of sports leagues to choose from.

If you’re a baseball fan, thus far the post-season has been riveting, which has unsurprisingly been highlighted by elite pitching and timely hitting.  With two historically significant baseball cities about to face one another for the World Series championship, in the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals, there should be an abundance of drama over the next two weeks.  Even if you’re not a fan of either finalist, you can appreciate the finality of the moment and the atmosphere and the storylines that it will yield.  Who will rise to the occasion like Shane Victorino in game 6 of ALCS with his 7th inning grand slam against Detroit or fall on their face, like Prince Fielder did a few feet away from third base trying to recover from an atrocious running error in the same game? Will the Red Sox go from worst in the American League East last season to winning it all this year or will St. Louis find a way to win again even while losing one of the best hitters of all time in Albert Pujols to free agency just two seasons ago?  Time will tell, but like many Blue Jays fans you can be certain that I won’t be cheering for any John Farrell led team.

For many Canadians it’s a melancholic time of year knowing that cold weather and shorter days are ahead.  If you’re sports fan however, this is the best of time of year to help mitigate the depressing reality of the change in season.  There are so many sports to choose from and there is likely a couple of storylines that are of interest to you.  As gratifying as it is to see your favourite team have a promising start to the year, nothing replaces the act of competing or playing your favourite sport.  If you haven’t done so in a while, why don’t you to grab your dust laden road hockey stick in the garage and I’ll bring the net and goalie gear, you’ll know where to find me.  Don’t forget to tell your mother that you will be late for dinner tonight.


  1. Adam

    For me its a cold October day, the scent of turkey emanating through the house… and Fox broadcasting an NFL game on tv….of course following the game is “Married with Children”!!

  2. That’s quite the image Adam!

Leave a Reply