There are some times — say, when your 2-14 football team is on the receiving end of a 45-0 blowout in late December — when it’s not good to be a sports fan. But the month of June is not one of those times.
With the NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals and the U.S. Open, the first half of June alone is better than almost every other sports month. Throw in events like the Belmont Stakes, a biannual soccer tournament — either the FIFA World Cup or UEFA European Championships — Major League Baseball interleague play and the College World Series, and it almost becomes unfair.
Does any other month stand a chance? Here’s a look at the challengers, as well as the reasons why June beats them all.
A few months can be eliminated right off the bat. July and August are hands-down the worst sporting months of the year. Aside from the Olympics every four years and a couple of golf majors, all they’ve got going for them is baseball — and even then, it’s the least exciting part of the season. Baseball still seems new in April and May, but the pennant races don’t heat up until September. Even with the July 31 trade deadline, there’s not much drama to be had in the dog days of summer.
November can likewise be taken off the list due to lack of drama. No sports have playoff games in November, and aside from college football, no sport’s regular season is really heating up at that time. September is the same way — MLB pennant races are in full swing, but the game’s best drama is saved for October. NFL kickoff weekend is fun, but you know what’s better? NFL wildcard weekend, which doesn’t come until January.
December is a slightly tougher omission due to NFL division battles, but, again, there are no playoff games in December — unless you count every ridiculous non-BCS bowl game, which you shouldn’t.
Every sports fan loves the first weekend in February because of the Super Bowl. But after that, it’s three weeks of midseason NBA and NHL games and the Daytona 500. Even with the NBA All-Star Game, that’s a pretty brutal stretch.
May is a nice month sports-wise, with the Kentucky Derby, the Indianapolis 500 and a full slate of NBA and NHL playoff games. But it’s really just a toned-down version of June, which features the championship series in both the NBA and NHL.
So, what’s left?
January is great if you’re a football fan, with college bowl games and the BCS Championship as well as the NFL playoffs. But there are only five NFL playoff game days in January, and with the two-week gap between the conference championships and the Super Bowl — which isn’t even played in January — the end of the month can drag on forever.
March features the most exciting three weeks in American sports in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. But June exceeds that, boasting the world’s top sporting event — the World Cup. Even if you prefer March Madness to the beautiful game, June’s depth — with the NBA and Stanley Cup Finals — makes it no contest.
October puts up the stiffest competition so far, with the MLB playoffs and the NFL’s regular season. The NFL is great, but it’s not enough to propel October past the only month with two championship series in major sports.
So it comes down to April and June. April has a legitimate case to be the best — between the NCAA basketball championship game, the Masters, NBA and NHL playoffs, and MLB’s Opening Day, it’s got a little bit of everything. Add in the NFL Draft, and April covers all four of the major sports.
Yet June has a counter for almost everything. Instead of the NCAA basketball championship game, it has the College World Series. June still has the NBA and NHL playoffs, but the games mean much more than those played in April. In place of the Masters, there is the U.S. Open, and instead of one draft, June has three, as the NBA, MLB and NHL drafts all fall during the month. Opening Day baseball might be more fun than interleague baseball, but April has no answer for an event like the World Cup or European Championships, leading to a knockout blow for June.
So, as we hit the midway point of the best month on the sporting calendar, soak it up and enjoy the games. It doesn’t get any better than this.