There’s a few dead times when it comes to the sports world: the MLB All-Star break – no sports for three days, the transition of dealing with two sporting days a week after baseball ends and football begins, when football winds down and we have to whine about basketball, and on a much smaller scale, the late night hours of any day of the year.
There are two glorious nights for the sports fans who are up late at night, such as myself. The 24-hour college basketball tip-off in November, and the Australian Open for tennis. The college basketball marathon is easy to convince most people to watch, whereas a tennis tournament takes a lot more work from the sport, the network, and fans alike.
Sports fans become who they are because of competitiveness. Geography, family and friend’s affiliation, and personal experience may determine what teams and sports you enjoy the most. But when there’s no choice but one sport put in front of a real competitor, there’s always a little spark ignited.
Competitive people seem to always pick a side, especially when there is no true connection to the athletes. Some prefer the favorite, others love a real underdog story, a few cheer for someone just to go against their friends. For example, at 2:30 AM in central Iowa, I watched #2 Novak Djokovic fall to #131 Denis Istomin in the 2nd round in Melbourne. I was cheering for Istomin to the extent that I stayed at work for an extra 45 minutes because I couldn’t walk away from the drama.
The Aussie Open runs from now until January 29th when it culminates with the Men’s Singles Finals as the last event. Tennis is a simple game that I’m pretty sure we’ve all attempted and mostly failed at playing. So if you happen to be out on the town over the next week and want a little excitement, ask for some tennis. I can tell you this from my experiences of visiting bars during this event, and working the bar during this event, a bartender will throw it on tv and possibly become engulfed in it with you. Live sports are a minor drug. The idea of it just draws people in and creates conversation. Next thing you know, it’s been an hour and you’re now high-fiving a complete stranger over Gael Monfils’ ace to win in 5 sets.
Live coverage of matches begins around 10 pm each night and runs until about 6 in the morning. Though getting to sleep around 10:30 or 11 may not let you enjoy a full match, it can offer a chance to sample the talent and excitement. It’s not all grunting and hollering, tennis players prove to be impressively athletic. For the next week, if you find yourself unable to sleep or just meeting some friends over the weekend for a few drinks, tune in. It’s a phenomenal event on the other side of the world that falls in a perfect spot for the late night sports crowd.