Buchan: Today reminds us why we love sports

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WALLA WALLA - What if every day was like today?

Major League Baseball stadiums all across the country sit empty during the final day of the mid-season All-Star break.

The National Football League's first preseason games are still nearly a month away, and that's only assuming the owners and players can come to grips on a new labor contract. Colleges break camp about that same time, followed by the preps in mid-August.

Professional basketball and hockey are in the midst of their offseasons. And the NBA, like the NFL, is caught up in the midst of labor strife that threatens the 2011-12 season.

Golf's British Open is on tap this week, but the first round of play at Royal St. George's in Sandwich, Kent, doesn't tee off until early Thursday morning.

Likewise professional soccer matches (MLS, WPS) won't resume until the weekend. The same is true for football's CFL and the Arena League campaigns.

Today is unofficially recognized each and every year as the slowest news day on the national sports landscape.

There are a couple of exceptions.

The Women's National Basketball Association offers a four-game schedule tonight, none of which will be televised. Our Seattle Storm won't take the court until Thursday night in San Antonio, a game that tips off at 6 p.m. and will be carried by ESPN2.

And for baseball's real hardcore fans, there's the annual minor league all-star game that pits the Pacific Coast League All-Stars against the International League's best. That game is slated for tonight at 6 in Salt Lake City and will be televised by the Major League Baseball Network.

Locally, tonight seems to be a good opportunity to make it out to Borleske Stadium and take in a Sweets game. Walla Walla entertains the Bellingham Bells at 7:05 p.m.

Or you could make the drive to Pasco where the Tri-Cities Dust Devils host Eugene in a 7:15 p.m. Northwest League game at Gesa Stadium.

However, Walla Walla's American Legion baseball teams - Bears, Bruins and Griz - are all idle tonight, though not necessarily to stay in lockstep with their big league counterparts.

But what if every day was like today?

For those of us who consider ourselves true sports fans, it's a discomforting question with an even more uncomfortable answer.

A couple of weeks back I attended a high-school reunion where I had the opportunity to reacquaint myself with some old - and in some cases not so familiar - faces. But it was nonetheless great fun.

Upon greeting one of my old friends, I couldn't help but recollect a question he had posed to me so many years ago when he was an up-and-coming star athlete and I was just learning to write sports stories for our local weekly newspaper.

"Wouldn't life be boring if it wasn't for sports?" he asked.

To which I quickly concurred.

It's not that the games we play - those that we watch and those that we follow - are the most important ingredients in our lives. Because they are not.

But they are the spices that add that extra touch of flavor, the icing that provides a special treat.

So what if every day was like today?

Boring, maybe, but lacking for sure.

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