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ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Christmas in October for Sports Fans

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Joseph Whittall

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With all four major North American sports leagues in play, October is looking to be an exciting month in the world of sports.

The+four+major+North+American+sports%2C+football%2C+hockey%2C+basketball%2C+and+baseball%2C+are+all+in+action.
The four major North American sports, football, hockey, basketball, and baseball, are all in action.

The four major North American sports, football, hockey, basketball, and baseball, are all in action.

Joseph Whittall

Joseph Whittall

The four major North American sports, football, hockey, basketball, and baseball, are all in action.

The month of October is notable for many reasons. As the days get shorter and the temperatures get colder, the Northern Hemisphere is ushered into fall, where the leaves change colors, the orchards are full of apples and the air is crisp. Horror enthusiasts enjoy October for its spookiness. The impending celebration of Halloween allows for a month full of stories about ghosts, werewolves and zombies. However, to sports enthusiasts, October means something different. October is like Christmas for sports fans.

October is the only month of the year where the four major North American sports leagues are in play. Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association all play in these 31 days. In big cities that have all four leagues, such as New York, Chicago or Los Angeles, sports fans can find themselves switching through the channels on a nightly basis as they attempt to keep up with all of their favorite teams.

In the MLB, October is the best time of the year. Playoff baseball is a month-long marathon for baseball fans that tune in night in and night out to watch their favorite teams battle for the coveted Commissioner’s Trophy, the trophy given to the team that wins the World Series.

“You can’t beat playoff baseball,” biology teacher and lifelong Chicago White Sox fan Michael Klikuszewski said. “It’s a long, slow burn but that’s the most exciting sport going on in October.”

October baseball has been an endless stream of timeless moments after timeless moments. From Babe Ruth’s called shot versus the Cubs in 1932, to the Red Sox remarkable comeback versus the Yankees to win the American League Pennant in 2004, postseason baseball never fails to excite America and leave memories that will last a lifetime.

“In 2005, we had season tickets to the White Sox and my dad was able to score a couple World Series tickets for game one,” Klikuszewski said. “We were down against the Astros and we had Paul Konerko up to bat with the bases loaded. He hit a grand slam allowing the Sox to take game one and eventually, as you know, sweep the Astros.”

The White Sox haven’t been the only Chicago baseball team to enjoy success in October. In 2016, the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years after a historic comeback against the Cleveland Indians. Down three games to one against Cleveland, the Cubs were able to win the next three, taking the series and hoisting the Commissioner’s Trophy.

“I went to the Cubs World Series game five,” senior and Cubs fan Tony Sertic said. “Seeing them turn it around was amazing.”

With the unstoppable power of the Boston Red Sox and the close races to the playoffs in the National League, this postseason for the MLB is looking to be one for the ages.

Along with the spectacular nature of postseason baseball, regular season football is in full swing. The month of October has always been notable for the NFL. Their successful campaign against breast cancer allows pink to be adorned all over the league and millions of dollars are raised for research.

This season in the NFL is going to be a notable one as the juggernauts of the last decade begin to give way for the next generation of sensational talents. Following last season’s spectacular Super Bowl between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots, which saw the Eagles winning their first ever championship, it became very certain that the powerhouses of the Patriots, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Green Bay Packers have begun to loosen their grip over the NFL, giving way to new teams like the Los Angeles Rams and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Many other teams, including the Chicago Bears, have been in a rebuilding stage for the last few years and are finally beginning to see results.

“The Bears have been hard to like throughout my lifetime but I gotta throw my weight behind them,” Klikuszewski said. “Now that the Bears are in first place, I might be tuning in a little bit more.”

October is a pivotal month in the world of football. It’s the month where divisional leads are made and the stronger teams begin to pull away from the mediocrity of the pack.

While these two leagues are in the heat of their respective seasons, the remaining two leagues, the NHL and NBA, will be beginning fresh new seasons on the ice and court respectively.

After a thrilling Stanley Cup Final between the long-tortured Washington Capitals and the first year underdog, the Vegas Golden Knights, the Capitals were able to hoist their first Stanley Cup in their history. A quiet offseason led to quiet anticipation for the 2018-2019 campaign, however, the offseason didn’t go without some retirements that made quite a bit of noise. Notable stars, such as Marian Hossa and Jarome Iginla, hung up their skates for a final time.

“[Hossa] was a glory to hockey and [Chicago is] going to miss him a lot,” senior and longtime Chicago Blackhawks fan Justin Jones said. “ But he did his job.”

Last, but certainly not least, is the brand new NBA season. After another NBA finals matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, which saw another throttling by the Warriors, the offseason saw some blockbuster acquisitions.

Most notable is Lebron James. The Cleveland native took his talents to the City of Angels. During the offseason, James signed a massive deal with the Los Angeles Lakers to become their biggest piece in their rebuilding process. 

Other major moves include Demarcus Cousins, who left New Orleans to join the reigning champions in Oakland and Kawhi Leonard, who was part of a blockbuster deal that sent him up to Toronto for DeMar DeRozan, who now reports for San Antonio.

With these giant moves in the offseason, it is unlikely that the Warriors will be as uncontested as they have been the last few years, as the Lakers, Houston Rockets and numerous other teams look to make a run for the trophy.

In other sports, the Canadian Football League is in the latter half of their season, with playoffs right around the corner. College football will be in full swing this October, as Alabama looks to defend their national title from last year. Finally, across the Atlantic ocean, Premier League soccer is ramping up as they enter the heat of their season.

No matter what sport they watch, October is a busy month for sports fans all across the sporting spectrum and around the globe. Chances are televisions all across America will be tuned in every day and night to some sport or another, with some attempting to watch multiple sports at the same time. October truly is Christmas for sports fans.

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ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Christmas in October for Sports Fans