Opinion: There are more than four sports


Lucas Misera

Lucas Misera

The Super Bowl. The World Series. The Stanley Cup. The NBA Finals.

The championship series in America’s “Big Four” of professional sports – football, basketball, hockey and basketball – tend to dominate conversation nationwide.

This past NFL season’s matchup between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons gripped ESPN for weeks. The Lebron James v. Steph Curry trilogy, with an appearance from Kevin Durant, litters television and computer screens.

For the first time in recent memory, even the Stanley Cup Finals between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators has a fair portion of the sports world intrigued — mostly to take attention off the impending sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers at the hands of the Golden State Warriors.

Yet, these are typically the only events at this point that garner any attention from major television or internet sports news outlets.

If I didn’t scroll far enough down on ESPN.com, I might not know that the French Open of tennis is taking place right now.

If Tiger Woods didn’t recently get arrested for a DUI, I might’ve forgotten that golf exists in its entirety.

It’s a shame  these less popular sports are the ones that I think hold the most tradition.

When I attended the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania last summer, the first thing I could think of was that golfing great and Pittsburgh legend Arnold Palmer stepped on the same course I was standing on.

When I watch the world’s best tennis players on television at Wimbledon, I’m reminded of tennis’ unmatched prestige when cameras focus on the Royal Box, recently occupied by Duchess Catherine Middleton.

Last year’s Wimbledon Men’s Semifinals drew less viewers on ESPN than the equivalent of a minor-league NASCAR race on NBC Sports Network. This year’s Master’s Tournament had its lowest tv rating in over a decade.

My point?

If you’re tired of watching the Patriots dominate the NFL, can’t stand watching Stephen Curry chew his mouth piece, fall asleep three innings into a baseball game (unless it’s October) and can’t follow the fast-pace nature of hockey, then stop shutting out other great sports.

Just because ESPN might occasionally forget that more than four sports exist, viewers don’t have to.

Like being smart consumers of news, sports fans need to be smart consumers of  well, sports.

Until fans of the NBA or NFL find an alternative to watching the same two or three teams compete for a title annually, the “Big Four” will face no pressure to improve.

If you’re curious, the No. 1 seed in the French Open, Novak Djokovic, just lost a match that would be equivalent to this year’s Cleveland Cavaliers getting swept by the Toronto Raptors.

Believe it or not, tennis has its fair share of twists and turns, too. Parity in a sport (Lebron v. Steph Curry Pt. IV, anyone?) is a pretty remarkable thing after all.

 Lucas Misera is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected].