Stay-at-home orders have offered an opportunity to reflect and improve what’s really important in my life, like my physical and mental health, my diet and my relationships with friends and family.
Frankly, I could use a break from that.
With the help of an internet connection, sports fans have some avenues for entertainment. Here is a brief rundown of what I have been watching lately. Feel free to send your own submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org just in case extended stay-at-home orders necessitate a follow-up column.
Embraced (and televised) by professionals as circuits canceled its dates, iRacing offers about five simulated races each day streaming for free via YouTube.
There are real drivers behind those avatars. And while much of the mechanical challenge has been substituted for internet connection issues, drivers from all over the world say the simulated racing experience handles faithfully.
Perhaps the simulation’s best feature is the least true-to-life moment of the simulation: crashes. Still damaging to your chances of winning, driving away from still-dramatic collisions rather than paying the ultimate price has been a source of humor as well as excitement.
- Chinese Professional Baseball League
For the early birds and extreme night owls, the Chinese Professional Baseball League hosts contests behind closed doors around 5:30 a.m. Central on weekdays.
Between the hour, the minor league-level skill, non-english commentary and cheerleaders performing for an empty stadium, there is something delightfully surreal about this viewing experience. And until ESPN secures rights to the Korean League opening play in May, this baseball fever-dream is just about the best ticket available.
Games are available at CPBLTV.com for about $35, but some teams host live streams and watch parties on platforms like YouTube, Twitch and Twitter. Your best english-speaking source for Taiwanese baseball is CPBLstats.com, which includes guides to navigating the non-mandarin language-based websites.
- Video Essays and Documentaries
We might be living in the Golden Age of Television, but if there’s one thing to glean from the economic impact of stay-at-home orders, it’s that you can’t eat gold.
In place of live-event viewing, documentaries and less traditional non-fiction media have helped sustain a connection to history and added a little protein to my quarantine fix.
Some of my favorite sports films are documentaries, including “Hoop Dreams” and “Senna” available on HBO and Netflix, respectively. HBO’s recent release “The Scheme” was an entertaining caper that might just hold me over until ESPN’s much-hyped Michael Jordan documentary, “The Last Dance.”
Video essays are akin to documentaries, but often substitutes a more prominent narrative voice in place of interviews to make its argument. I believe this offers the medium to more niche subjects.
A six-part history of the Seattle Mariners has been another installment in an informative and hilarious set of video essays via SBNation’s Dorktown series and an excellent example of the potential of the growing medium.