The Christmas season is upon us, and while the NBA will just be waking up, the rest of us hard at work have been preparing for the day for weeks on end, some leading all the way back to the post turkey coma gauntlet better known as Black Friday. The malls and shops are full of people, and our wallets work the inverse, emptying as the countdown to the 25th continues. No matter how much you plan, there always seems to be someone on that list that you can’t quite figure out. Whether it’s a co-worker, in-law, cousin, brother, there’s always one person who refuses to give you a list, or you simply just don’t know well enough to make an educated guess. (Side note, how great is Gordman’s and Marshalls/TJ Maxx for these people, I feel like I can walk into any of those three stores and legitimately find a gift for someone that I’m tempted to buy two of just so I can have one too).
As frustrating as they can be, if that person on your list happens to be a sports fan, then you are in luck! In preparing my own Christmas list, I thought it’d be useful to post some sure fire gift ideas for the Sports Lover in your life. We’ll provide you with four ideas for each sport, and then some bonus gift ideas for the most likely depressed Minnesota Sports Fan in your life as well. So without further ado, Eric Claus has the sleigh all loaded up and here are some gifts certain to please.
Baseball: Your average baseball fan is going to be an all around kind of guy. Although the plethora of erectile dysfunction commercials during the World Series would leave you to believe it’s only old men who are unable to perform that watch baseball, know that there is a huge contingent of young baseball fans. Baseball fans are usually meticulous, and have the uncanny ability to carry on a conversation about a Venezuelan prospect in Toronto’s farm system who will become the next Pedro Martinez.
Gift Idea #1: Strat-o-Matic Baseball: Strat-o-Matic has released a new version of the classic board game, and I guarantee you that any baseball fan would love this as a gift. It allows baseball fans to live out their dream of being a big league manager, and the nature of the game is heavily reliant upon statistics, something baseball followers happen to love (literally, they even make up their own, Google saber metrics and see for yourself.)
Gift Idea #2: Tyson Dream Seat Tickets to an Asheville Tourists game, Single A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. If you ever happen to find yourself near Asheville, NC, do yourself a favor and make your way to McCormick Field and drop the $35 on the Tyson Dream Seats. Not only do you get your own deck section with huge rocking chairs and access to the fantastically catered club room, but you literally get to take batting practice and warm up with the Tourists themselves. It’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever done, and here’s the video of my dad and I knocking it around the yard when we went.
Gift Idea #3: We would recommend a book, but there are so many baseball books out there you should be able to find whatever you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a solid movie, then pick up a copy of Sugar. It’s an interesting look at life as a Dominican player coming over to America and experiencing the culture shock of living in Iowa.
Basketball: Basketball fans are traditionally split between following NBA (in which case, bright colors and fast moving pictures usually excite them) and College Basketball (In my opinion, a true basketball fan can appreciate the college game more). Determining what kind of fan they are is key, so maybe ask them who John Wall played for in college, and if they can’t remember his one year stint at Kentucky, you know they’re an NBA fan.
Gift Idea #1:Pop a Shot! They sell these things all over the place now, and if you know that you’re
buddy doesn’t have the space for one, a simple over the door mini hoop and ball will always be appreciated. Plus, it usually leads to you and your buddy, or him and his son, getting awkwardly hypercompetitive over a game of basketball played on your knees.
Gift Idea #2: Tickets to any conference tournament. We know the conference tourney’s are still a few months away, but you won’t regret it. With a little bias, I would suggest the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis (and then alternating with Chicago). The atmosphere is great, and it’s a blast to be surrounded by fans of the other schools sporting their colors loud and proud. Plus, a shout out to Indianapolis for being the perfect host for that event, it’d be impossible to not have fun.
Gift Idea #3: Play Their Hearts Out by George Dohrmann. One of the greatest sports books I have ever had the pleasure to read, Dohrmann takes an in-depth look at the world of grass roots AAU basketball in California, and the kids he followed are actually playing college ball now (it’s made a UNLV fan out of me, read it and you’ll see why.) For a movie, let’s go with a classic, Hoop Dreams. Honestly, if you follow basketball and haven’t seen this movie, you haven’t lived.
We’re already nudging up against the 1000 word mark here, so we’ll split this one up into a two part column to save your eyesight and promote a non sedentary lifestyle . Be sure to check in tomorrow for gift ideas for the football and hockey fan, as well as the Minnesota specific gifts and maybe a few other wildcards.
Eric Melch is a senior at the University of Minnesota, majoring in Sports Management; he is the Sports Editor of Secret Laboratory. Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Eric grew up near Madison, Wisconsin, spending his entire life in Big 10 country. His love of literature and sports has naturally led him to write about his passion, something he has done for the past six years and most recently at The Two Point Diversion. Eric currently works as a promotions assistant with Gopher Sports Marketing, and hopes to continue his career in college athletics.
E-mail Mr. Melch at email@example.com.