25 things I still like about sports

With all of the steroid scandals, player arrests and other bad behavior by players and coaches, the good things about sports tend to get overshadowed. So it's good once in a while to remind ourselves what makes watching sports fun.

I sat down at the computer and came up with a list of the 25 things that are still good about sports. Granted, this is not a definitive list, and your choices may be different. But I think these are things we should all keep in mind the next time a baseball star is accused of using human growth hormones or a young NBA player is arrested for an altercation in front of a club at 2 a.m.

In no particular order

The first day of high school fall team practices. There is an optimism on every field and the anticipation of crisp autumn evening games when these squads start practicing that make the dog days of August feel a little less hot and humid. You don't get that when winter teams start practicing because the fall season is still going on, and you don't get that when spring teams start practicing because they're often inside gymnasiums while the fields thaw from a late-winter snowstorm. Plus, it jolts me back into action after taking it easy for 10 weeks.

Friday night football games. Yes, there are far more games played on Friday night than Saturday afternoon around Section II. But there's still something about playing under the lights that brings out the best in both the players and the fans. Perhaps it's the spotlight effect (no pun intended) " which states that a high school athlete must get more psyched up when a light shines on him or her in the dark " that creates such an atmosphere. Or maybe it's knowing that you're playing in front of family, friends and a good chunk of your community that does it. Either way, it's an electric evening (again, no pun intended).

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