Sports: America’s Pastime. Some would argue that that title goes exclusively to the MLB, the harbingers of baseball throughout the twentieth century. The NFL might say otherwise, though, since American football has put up the highest viewership numbers for decades. “But what about basketball?” you say as you throw on your Warriors gear for the upcoming NBA final against the Boston Celtics. LeBron’s salary alone would make you think that basketball players are the most important athletes this country has to offer. And then there’s hockey, the small but mighty faction of athletes in the NHL who prefer the highs and lows of gliding and punching in an arena so quietly attentive that you could hear a pin drop.
These sports, represented by their American (and some Canadian) teams of the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL, are what make up large swatches of the American sports-centric culture. These four leagues are the ones we tune into every Sunday in the fall, every afternoon in November, and every evening in June (as well as every morning, afternoon, and evening throughout the entire calendar year). Fantasy pools made of real money pepper offices, schools, and even family units, and “root for the home team” has become a mantra for every major metropolitan area. Sports are an inescapable part of the American lifestyle. Hell, you’ve probably played some, if not all of these, at some point in your lifetime. And though many of us have our favorites (Nia bleeds black and gold for the Pittsburgh Steelers while Trent lives and dies by the black and orange of the San Francisco Giants), it’s hard to know which sport we, as a society, think is really the best.
So, as always, we’re asking you. A lot of the pop culture we cover on The Tournament Podcast is fun. We’ve all got opinions on movies and TV and music, but at the end of the day, art is subjective, and we all know that arguing over it is all for the sake of silly entertainment. But sports are real. There’s something to be said for sports’ obsession with statistics (it’s how we ranked these leagues in the first place), and very real people have very much lost their lives rooting for the teams they love. If sport is friendly competition, then sport fandom is a harsh and occasionally violent battlefield. There’s no messing around with these leagues, and we know you must have your loyalties that would make you pick one over the other (or one over three others).
The choice is yours. Are you willing to virtually die for your favorite team on the merits of the sport in which they thrive? There’s only one way to prove yourself: Vote here.
Final Four: Monday 5/30, Tuesday 5/31, Wednesday 6/1
Championship: Thursday 6/2, Friday 6/3, Saturday 6/4