So we’ve been without professional sports for a little over a month now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, sporting events such as March Madness, The Masters, and the start of the NBA/NHL playoffs have been put on hold in order to #flattenthecurve by avoiding large gatherings.
This has left sports fanatics, like myself and many others, searching for alternative forms of entertainment that can somewhat fill the void that professional sports has left. It is impossible to recreate the real-time drama and excitement that comes from watching live professional sports, but by now, I’ve gathered a few alternatives that I hope can help you reclaim some normalcy in your life.
— NBA (@NBA) April 22, 2020
Sports video games
The first and likely most common alternative form of sports entertainment is video games.
Sports and video games have always had a good relationship with each other, but never before have we seen them this intertwined. With wildly realistic graphics and amazing attention to detail, sports fans can virtually live out their favorite team’s season all from the comfort of their own homes.
But, if you’re not good at the games, losing over and over again might lead to more frustration. Not to worry—thanks to streaming sites like Twitch, we are now at the point where your favorite athletes are streaming themselves, playing as their team, against other athletes, playing as their teams, matched up against each other!
I know that be a little confusing, so just take a look a this clip of Rhys Hoksins hitting a home run as himself:
We definitely heard that, and we cannot WAIT to meet Rhys Tucker one day. @rhyshoskins is having some fun tonight over on Twitch!
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) April 19, 2020
Whether you’re playing or watching someone else play, video games are a great alternative form of sports entertainment, and I think we’ll continue to see this form of sports entertainment grow in the future.
What better way to get your sports fix than a behind-the-scenes look at how it all comes together? During quarantine, I’ve watched three sports documentaries that I would highly recommend to any sports fans who are dying for content right now:
This is a must-watch for all Eagles fans. The series follows the Philadelphia Eagles throughout their entire 2019 season and gives you an inside look at the organization that has never before been seen publicly. Be careful, though—reliving the season means reliving all of the ups and downs.
Outstanding look at the love/hate relationship between the most diehard fans and their soccer club
— Todd Fuhrman (@ToddFuhrman) April 20, 2020
If you are looking for passion, drama, and the craziest fans in all of sports, look no further. This doc series follows a once-prestigious English soccer club trying to bounce back after being relegated for the second straight season. I highly recommend not looking up how the team did during this past season, as it adds even more suspense while watching the game highlights.
The Last Dance starts Sunday on ESPN pic.twitter.com/4f2ilCEcJo
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 17, 2020
Recently ESPN made the decision to move up the debut of their highly anticipated documentary, The Last Dance, which focuses on Michael Jordan and the 1990 Chicago Bulls. The first episode aired this past Sunday, and for the first time in a while, it felt like sports fans were all watching something at the same time. People were even live tweeting their reactions, which provided at least a small glimpse of normalcy. Even if you’re not a sports fan, the 1990s Bulls team had such an impact on pop culture that there will be something for everyone in this documentary. I highly recommend tuning in on Sundays at 9pm.
Without sports on, networks like ESPN and NBC Sports need something to fill the dead air, so naturally they had the idea of airing past games. Iconic games like the 2006 Rose Bowl or The Eagles Miracle In The Meadowlands can be found re-airing on local and national sports networks nationwide weekly.
It's always fun to watch the Flyers beat the Caps.
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) April 14, 2020
On paper this should be the closest thing to watching actual live sports, and I have seen a positive response to the games on social media, but for me personally, I would rather just watch the highlights. Rewatching entire games can get a little boring and tiresome as you wait for the next big moment, but if it helps you reclaim normalcy, by all means watch the full game!
One of the greatest games in college football EVER.
— ESPN (@espn) April 2, 2020
Obviously once sports are back up and running, we will see the number of games being re-aired drop dramatically due to the lack of available airtime, but I will be curious to see if reruns become more common due to their warm welcome during quarantine.
Jelle’s Marble Runs
Easily the strangest form of “sports” entertainment that I have tried so far is marble racing. This unique “sport” (primarily accessible by YouTube videos) features your classic childhood marbles racing against each other on elaborate tracks.
At first, you may not think that you can get excitement from watching marbles roll around, but the production quality of the videos, exciting commentary (British accents always help), and goofy names for the marbles can make you feel like you’re at Churchill Downs cheering on your horse at the Kentucky Derby.
Any sports fantastic knows that these alternatives can never match up to the real thing, but I hope that they are able to help you break through the boredom as we wait for our beloved sports to return. Stay safe everyone!