/Column Contest Jeff Shearer

Column Contest Jeff Shearer

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by: Jeff Shearer

It’s always a great time to be a sports fan (except when the only thing on is that mixed martial arts junk or the “extreme” sports you youngsters fancy these days).

Okay, now that I sound like “Middle-Aged Man” (which , of course, I am), I’m willing to concede that one of the best things about being a sports fan is that – like the many choices in Troy’s new dining facility – we’re free to choose what we like. To each his own.

But there’s one weekend that stands out above all the rest. That glorious three-day stretch in early April when the Final Four coincides with Opening Day in baseball.

Over that 72-hour span, we’re treated to a doubleheader of national semifinals in hoops , followed the next day by the season’s first Major League Baseball games – and the eternal optimism they bring.

Then to cap it all off, the national championship NCAA basketball game Monday night (followed by the best two minutes in sports – CBS’ “One Shining Moment” tribute at the conclusion of the broadcast.

It’s all downhill from there.

When I was growing up in Ohio back in the day, Opening Day was always on a Monday afternoon – with Cincinnati having the honor of hosting the first game.  Sure it was 35 degrees and miserable, but it was baseball, and that was enough in the era of three channels.

My favorite such weekend would have to be 1993. Can’t believe it’s been 20 years. Having spent a decade in Colorado attending  junior high, high school and college, I knew the rocky mountain region would enthusiastically support the arrival – at long last – of big league baseball.

I’d been gone from Colorado for five years, but there was no way I was going to miss the Rockies’ first home game.

So there I was, with a half-dozen of my high school basketball teammates and 80-thousand other  fans, on the day MLB finally arrived in the mountain time zone.  What a day. (Of course, the Rockies won, with leadoff man Eric Young hitting a pair of homeruns).

Looking back, I realize now it’s not so much the sporting events that  make those memories so special. It’s the people with whom we experience the games: our friends and family.

So take some time with your loved ones, and make some memories at the ballpark or the stadium.  Even if its MMA.