Holbrook: Grading the best holiday sports traditions


Taylor Shaw/Iowa State Daily

Then-junior running back David Montgomery runs a pass at the Alamo Bowl game on Dec. 28. The Cyclones fell to the Cougars 28-26.

Trevor Holbrook

Holidays pepper the calendar this time of year. New Year’s Eve follows Christmas/Hanukkah/other holiday celebrations in December, which follows Thanksgiving and Halloween.

With fall break coming next week at Iowa State, my schedule is booked. I plan on eating a lot of heavy food and laying on the couch watching sports and fighting (and losing) against an afternoon nap while I recover.

On Thursday, I’ve penciled in professional football on schedule from 11:30 a.m. to around 10:30 p.m. with a trio of games. After the games, the network television company rewards the top performers with a turkey leg as a tradition.

While Thanksgiving possesses its own tradition, other holidays share similar traditions, but which ones are the best?

Thanksgiving football

I’m not the biggest Thanksgiving guy, but the postgame turkey leg is a staple in the NFL. This one ranks pretty high because it’s a weird tradition. I mean, chomping on a turkey leg after a three-hour game seems different, which scores extra points.

On the flip side, though, I’m more of a ham guy instead of turkey, so that knocks this tradition to a B.

Grade: B

July 4th hot dog eating contest

Each year, the U.S. Independence Day meets the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. This tradition provides an optimal pairing with the 4th of July.

Most people have been checked out of a sports mindset for a while when July arrives. It’s kind of nice having a break from football or basketball, but everyone needs their fill after a while.

While the sports void needs to be filled, I’m not completely ready to dive into another full season of a specific sport in July. That’s why the hot dog eating contest fits perfectly in July. It requires minimal thinking, and it’s a short event.

Plus, hot dogs are a top 10 food.

Grade: A

Christmas Day NBA

This is a quality tradition because the NBA loads up the schedule on Christmas. The matchups are competitive and fun.

This tradition plays out almost like the opposite of the hot dog eating contest. Twitter gets clogged up with game tweets and holiday posts, and the slate of games becomes overwhelming.

I think I’d prefer for the star-studded matchups to be spread out a little more so it’s easier to digest the games.

Grade: B

New Year’s bowl games

Forget the ball dropping and other traditions, and give me the bowl games. New Year’s Eve is loaded with bowl games, with five on the schedule for 2019-20.

Then, the next morning you get to sleep in while probably not feeling too great, but college football gifts us another two games at noon. After the warm-up, college football provides the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl.

I know I knocked the NBA games for having too much going on at once, but I try to schedule my New Year’s activities around the games and New Year’s Day gives us a great schedule to recover from staying up so late.

Grade: A