The World Cup captured the sports world’s attention for the past weeks with excitement, action and a product that certainly lived up to the hype. Even I was hooked, and I don’t watch any soccer. The games were unpredictable and the finishes were nail-biting. I’ll certainly look forward to the World Cup come 2022.
Sports is full of awesome tournaments, as the World Cup is one of many great events on the sports calendar. Based on structure, intrigue, importance, and enjoyability, here is my subjective ranking of my favorite tournaments.
- Wimbledon (Tennis)
Granted, it is difficult to watch an entire tennis match, let alone one from this Grand Slam tournament this July. One of the matches I happened to watch, between South African Kevin Anderson and American John Isner, lasted six hours. But between the tradition of the tournament, the storylines surrounding the powerhouse players of the sport and the last set intrigue, Wimbledon is tennis at its finest.
- Little League World Series (Amateur Baseball)
The Little League isn’t as hyped as the MLB season and rightly so, but the single elimination format tops the MLB’s best-of-seven series and the passion of the middle-school age players is awesome. And while it may not hog the headlines, when a transcendent player such as Mo’ne Davis steps into the spotlight, the whole sports world stops to watch. The geographic format of the bracket is another engaging aspect.
- World Cup (International Soccer)
The World Cup is a one-sport Olympics that packs almost as strong a punch. Though the U.S. wasn’t in the tournament this year, I found a lot of interesting storylines and memorable moments from the weeks of action, from the quick exits of big names such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to underdog stories like Croatia and Russia to a couple of insane finishes. Watching penalty kicks with elimination looming is especially crazy. Having the tournament once every four years raises the stakes for each game even more and, like the Little League World Series, the international aspect adds a lot of intrigue.
- March Madness (NCAA Basketball)
What other sports tournament causes otherwise attentive high schoolers to stream games all afternoon on their smartphones under the cover of their desks or backpacks? What other tournament pulls in even non-sports fans, yet flummoxes the sports’ biggest experts? What other tournament provides the perfect mix of Cinderella runs and blue blood battles, from the opening rounds to the championship? What other tournament consistently provides such shocking buzzer-beater finishes? I’m drawing blanks.
1. NFL Playoffs (Football)
The NFL playoffs are simple, a single elimination tournament between 12 worthy teams. But each week builds up in intensity until the greatest event on the sports calendar, the Super Bowl, takes over the sports world. The best football is on display, matching up brilliant coaches against brilliant coaches, top players against top players. If I could pick only one of these tournaments to watch, I wouldn’t think twice. NFL playoff football is the best.
Nate’s Picks (Commentary by Nate)
- Little League World Series- It is a interesting to kids in a good tournament, as opposed to pros.
- ACC Basketball Tournament- It is march madness starting early.
- NFL Playoffs- Interesting, and great football. The only bad thing is the week between each game.
- World Cup- Great with countries, very talented players, and every 4 years it resparks my interest in soccer.
- March Madness- No sporting thing can compare to March Madness.