From the Indysportsnation Archives: The Best Sports Month of the Year

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EDITOR’S NOTE:  AS THE CALENDAR TURNS TO OCTOBER, THE FOX 59 SPORTS DEPARTMENT IS EXCITED THE OPPORTUNITY TO COVER SO MANY DIFFERENT SPORTS AND TEAMS. THE FOLLOWING BLOG POST IS FROM JEREMIAH JOHNSON’S “JJ’S AUDIBLES” IN 2010.  JJ MADE A CASE THAT “OCTOBER IS THE BEST SPORTS MONTH OF THE YEAR” 

WE HOPE YOU ENJOY THIS TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE, FEEL FREE TO OFFER YOUR COMMENTS AND THOUGHTS ON INDIANA’S BEST SPORTS MONTH OF THE YEAR.

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(originally published: October 4th, 2010)

If the Colts loss in Jacksonville has you a little down in the dumps, I’m here to lift your spirits a bit.

It is October, and there really isn’t a much better time of the year for a sports fan.

If we are holding a Best Sports Month debate in Indiana, there are three strong contenders:  March, May, and October.

Many people look forward to March because of the sport that this state is known for, basketball.

March is the month that kids dream about when shooting hoops in their driveways as a kid.  Whether it is that goal of cutting down a net after a sectional, regional, or State Championship, or perhaps the hope to one day make a “One Shining Moment” in the NCAA Tournament, people work 12 months a year for glory in March. (like Damon Bailey)

Currently, Conseco Fieldhouse is the place to be during the month, hosting Pacers, Big Ten Tournament, and IHSAA State Championship games.

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The start of the NCAA tournament is clearly a big deal around here, especially with all of the recent success from Purdue and Butler.

March also means spring training for baseball fans and a time when Cubs fans once again have hope that maybe, this is their year.

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March is magical, but isn’t at the top of my list since there is no football to speak of and as enjoyable as the current IHSAA tournament is, it doesn’t captivate the attention of the average sports fans near as much as the old single-class tournament used to.

Don’t get me wrong, I love high school hoops and I love March Madness, but March is #2 on my list of best sports months.

May is a pretty big deal for the other sport people across the country associate Indianapolis with, open wheel racing.  The “Month of May” means the roar of engines at 16th and Georgetown and the the need for speed as drivers attempt to qualify for and compete in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

I consider it a privilege to have had an “in the pits” view of the last six Indianapolis 500’s.

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It is a challenge covering the month of activities at IMS, but worth every minute of it.  (especially when you are front and center with an angry Danica Patrick pit-walk)

With that said, May is not my #1 month partially because the track is not active near as many days as it used to be.

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Another reason May doesn’t have the same cache is the recent tough times of the Pacers.  Did it get much better in the “good old days” than to have race and qualifying weekends going hand-in-hand with Pacers playoff games?

Unfortunately, the Pacers long run of post-season appearances came to an end early in my time at Fox 59 so I don’t know what it really felt like to cover a month of “May Madness”

I must make mention of my favorite spectator sporting event of all, Kentucky Derby weekend.  I attend the Kentucky Oaks and/or Kentucky Derby every year and have as much fun as is humanly possible on the first weekend of May.  While we don’t usually cover the Run for the Roses, a trip to Churchill Downs helps put May on my top three list of favorite sports months.

But October is the best month of all.

I doubt you need an explanation, but here is a quick list of things you can look forward to in the next four weeks.

A.  The NFL season is hitting its stride.  Unless you are a fan of the Bills, your team still has legitimate playoff hopes.  If you play Fantasy Football, you also likely have time to improve your team and make a playoff run.  If you are an NFL Survivor participant you should still be alive and kicking as well.   (unless you took Carolina in week 2 against the Bucs)

B.  Local college football teams are still optimistic about a bowl game.  Lets face it, the last few years haven’t been the best for in-state schools on the gridiron.  However, every year in October there is a certain feeling of optimism that the local squads can reach the 6 win mark and qualify for a post-season appearance.  While Purdue fans are down after the injury-riddled start to the season, IU fans are excited by their high-powered offense.  It remains to be seen whether the defense can stop anyone, but the Hoosiers are at least still relevant, and that is good for everyone.

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Heck, even Ball State is in the conversation after beating Central Michigan on the road last Saturday to start MAC play 1-0.

C.   Midnight Madness  This could be one of the most anticipated college basketball seasons (from day 1) of recent memory.  Both Purdue and Butler have top-10 caliber teams and it would surprise no one to see Indiana make a major step forward for Tom Crean.

When basketball practice tips off in a couple of weeks we will see and hear quite a bit about both the Boilers and Bulldogs, who hope to lead their team to Houston for the Final Four.

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Butler is a national story after their remarkable run last season, while Purdue has a chance to be ranked #1 in the country at some point this season.  The season of Great Expectations starts in October.

D.  Don’t forget about the Pacers  The local NBA team has not been front of mind for many sports fans in recent years, but maybe this is the year they get things turned around.  I’m not convinced the season will end with a playoff appearance, but do look forward to the start of the Darren Collison era and think the pieces are in place for improvement at some point in the not so distant future.

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D.  Major League Baseball Playoffs  I realize baseball is not as big a deal in Indianapolis as it is in places like Chicago and Cincinnati, but there is nothing like the MLB Post-Season.  The World Series is such a big deal to me, I found a way to write my college term paper about the “Fall Classic” and the nation’s love affair with the World Series.

And guess what, the closest team to Indianapolis, Reds, are back in the playoffs.
I had a chance to catch a little playoff fever last  Tuesday night watching the Reds clinch the NL Central title against the Houston Astros.

It was fun to be a part of an atmosphere like that and revel a bit with the fans while not worrying about a post-game report or web article.  I don’t claim to be a “fan” of many teams anymore, it is just too difficult due to the sports I cover professionally.  However, I am a Reds fan and am certainly looking forward to a little October Magic.

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So there you have it, October is the month you get Baseball, Football, Basketball, and even Hockey!   If you’re having a bad day at work, there is surely some team or sporting event follow and enjoy.

October is the best sports month of the year.

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