As with the start of every New Year, 2012 starts with a dream…
A dream of all the possibilities a new year brings, and all of the great moments that will be had in the following 365 days.
For a sports fan, many of the moments and hopes that you start the year dreaming of will never come to fruition, and in most cases never even come close.
After having my New Year's hopes and dreams for my teams dashed about as many times as I have dreamt them, I have decided not to build up singular moments for 2012. Instead, I am looking ahead to certain times of the year, and I urge you to do the same.
I am looking ahead to the top three months of 2012. Those months when no matter how good your team is, what the team's record may be, life couldn't be any better for a sports fan. Because, at least in my eyes, being a sports fan isn't just about rooting on your team, it is about relishing in the atmosphere the sports world creates. It's about the camaraderie of being in the stands or watching on TV, sitting on the edge of your seat and hinging on every second, with just a few, hundreds, or thousands of people around you feeling the exact same way.
And so, without further ado, I give you the top three months to look forward to of 2012. The three months of this year when no matter who you're rooting for, you will be reminded why you love sports…
What better way to kick off 2012 than with college football bowl games and NFL Playoffs? I honestly can't remember a year when the NFL Playoffs looked as wide open as they do right now. Sure, the Packers are the clear-cut favorites. But almost every other playoff team, AFC & NFC, has a legitimate shot to win it all. Keep in mind that in almost every postseason, the best game usually is not the championship game. Which is why I like the first three playoff rounds more than the Super Bowl most of the time. When you combine the football postseason with college basketball, the NBA and the NHL all being in full swing, January is going to be one of the best months of the year for sports fans.
2) Late September/October
Yes, I understand that this is more than one month. But after the way the baseball season ended last year how could I not include the end of September? October, as usual, is going to be a great month for sports fans and in this year's case, particularly Arizona sports fans. The Arizona Diamondbacks are one of the best teams in the NL, and they should make the playoffs. It can be argued that the team is deeper in every category than any other team in baseball. The team won 94 games and only got better… It isn't too much of a stretch to say that D-backs fans will still have home games to attend in mid to late October. Combine all of that excitement with all the excitement that always comes with the start of the NBA and NHL seasons and you have the second best sports month of this year to look forward to.
Finally, the best sports month of the year. In my opinion it's the best every year, but I feel like sometimes people need to be reminded why so when March does come, they can really appreciate all that it brings. As with the other two months I've listed, the NHL and NBA will be going on which, even when teams are in a down year, can provide some spark for any sports fan. However, this March is about two things, the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament and Spring Training. If you are a sports fan, March Madness is already one of your favorite times of the year, as it is the most exciting time in all of sports. And with all the fun and competition that comes from creating your own individual bracket, March Madness brings something to the table you don't get any other time of the year. For Arizona sports fans, add spring training to March Madness and you get the best month of the year. If you have not been to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick for a D-backs or Rockies spring training game, you must make it happen this year. There is no better facility in baseball, and there is no better feeling than when you're sitting on the grass with family and friends enjoying a game in perfect weather. Oh, and by the way, the Diamondbacks will enter the spring as the favorite in the NL West.
Of all the 12 months to come in 2012, March will be any sports fan's dream month. Because it won't matter who you're rooting for, all that's going matter will be enjoying the best the sports world has to offer, and all of the excitement, enjoyment and sheer awe that comes with it.
And honestly… What's better than that?