From this point in March through early April is usually one of the most glorious times of the year for a sports fan to watch games on TV. Between March Madness, the Masters, the start of MLB and MLS and the ongoing NHL and NBA seasons, it offers a convergence unlike any other.
Going from 100 to zero in the last few days as leagues and events have shut down in response to the coronavirus pandemic has been jarring for a lot of fans. While not having live sports on TV is about a million places down on the list of serious problems connected coronavirus, it is nonetheless a very real part of our new social distancing reality.
Sports serve an important community-building role — both in-person and on TV — and taking that away from people inevitably leaves a hole in lives that are getting smaller by the day.
What I’d like to do in this space every weekday, then, is provide you with a gem from the internet archives that might brighten your day with a well-timed re-watch. If people enjoy this enough, I *might* even see if we could all set a time on a certain day to watch one of these at the same time — all while tweeting about it, a thing that I strangely miss already.
Perhaps that last part might be most easily achieved with something that is already being shown on a major channel at a fixed time — such as Fox Sports North going to a steady diet of replayed Twins games with MLB on hold. Monday’s offering: A Twins vs. Yankees game from last season.
ESPN is also doing some replays, but most of their initial strategy seems to be focused on around-the-clock studio shows like SportsCenter and NFL Live.
In any event, the recommendation for Monday is this: Gophers vs. Clemson, 1997 NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
This is the game from that special Gophers season that I remember the most. If you’ve forgotten some of the details, I won’t spoil it for you — after all, to me part of the fun of re-watching a game is discovering things that you might have forgotten (or, if you are watching for the first time, discovering as new).
The full game was uploaded to YouTube a couple years back by Tiger TV, and I came to it randomly while searching for good options for this feature.
As time goes on, I’ll probably search for even more obscure games for which most people would have very little idea of the outcome.
For now, though, as we plow forward a day after what would have been Selection Sunday, this one felt apt.