Set the scene—summer is in full bloom, and you’ve reached the maximum time limit that a person can spend in a pool. To escape the heat, you find sanctuary in your air-conditioned house. After taking your lucky place on the couch, you grab a cold one and scan the TV guide for options in the sporting world. You remember that it is not a World Cup summer, nor will the world gather for the Olympics. But just as you are about to call it quits, you remember that Sconnie Sports talk has your back—here’s your Ultimate Guide to Summer Sports.

May 25th—June 14th: Stanley Cup Finals

After the Penguins went up 2-0 in this series, Sidney Crosby reportedly told PK Subban that he had bad breath, and now the series is tied up 2-2. Of course, it’s 2-2 as a result of poor Pittsburgh defense and the stellar play of Pekka Rinne, but it’s fun to blame a tied series on the insulting of a man’s breath. The Penguins look to be the first back-to-back champions since the Red Wings in 1997 and 1998, and the Predators are looking for their first-ever Stanley Cup. Nothing short of must-see TV.

June 10th: Belmont Stakes

There will be no Triple Crown winner in horseracing this year, as Always Dreaming captured the 143rd Kentucky Derby and Cloud Computing brought home the 142nd Preakness Stakes. Classic Empire is the odds-on favorite at 2/1 odds to win the Belmont Stakes, the longest Triple Crown race, spanning a mile and a half—if you are feeling particularly intelligent, that distance equates to 12 furlongs. If you’re looking for a short, thrilling burst of entertainment, mark your calendars than the 2017 Belmont Stakes

June 1st—June 18th: NBA Finals

What would another sweep in the Finals mean for the legacy of LeBron James? It will certainly be a highly debated topic amongst sports analysts, and with the way the Warriors have played over the past two games, there is a good chance the brooms will be busy. Fans will point out that the Cavs were in a similar situation last season—down 2-0 and losing both games by double digits. However, the Warriors now have Kevin Durant instead of Harrison Barnes, and have scored a combined 245 points through the first two games. We’ll know the NBA champion by June 18th, but fans across the nation may not have to wait that long.

June 15th—June 18th: US Open (Golf)

History has already been made at the US Open without a single tee shot—Erin Hills golf course right here in Wisconsin will host the event, and it marks the first time that the US Open has been held in Wisconsin. The glaring headline remains that Phil Mickelson will skip this year in favor of his daughter’s high school graduation—a valid excuse that has prompted a petition to change the commencement date. It’s certainly unlikely, but stands as a testament to how much people want to see the Lefty complete the career Grand Slam. Dustin Johnson will look to bounce back after a back injury kept him sidelined for the Masters, and Sergio looks to continue his 2017 success. The US Open is must-watch summer TV.

June 22nd:  NBA Draft

What in the world will become of Lonzo Ball? Will the Lakers fulfill his (dad’s?) dream and draft him second overall? After declaring he will only work out for the Celtics, is Markelle Fultz a lock for the number one pick? And will the Bucks finally get the shooter they so desperately need? This has been one of the most highly touted draft classes in some time, find out where they land June 22nd.

June 17th—July 2nd: Confederations Cup

No World Cup this year, so the Confederations Cup will have to suffice. Comprised of eight teams and occurring every four years, this year’s Cup will be held in Russia. Brazil has won the past three titles, but the streak ends there, as they are not one of the eight participants. Why tune in this summer? The field features some of the best teams in the world in Portugal, Germany, and Chile, and will surely provide top-class entertainment on the world stage.

July 1st—July 23rd: Tour de France

Save the diehard cycling fans, most will likely not tune into all 22 days of the Tour de France–nonetheless, there are several intriguing storylines for 2017. The Americans look to capture their first title since Greg Lemond in 1990* (Armstrong’s seven straight titles in the early 2000’s have been voided), and Chris Froome of Great Britain is striving for his fourth title in five years. It will certainly be worth your time to tune in to the 104th Tour de France.

July 3rd—July 16th: Wimbledon

Ah, the Holy Grail of tennis. Wimbledon 2017 is flooded with storylines—two of the greatest of all time, Roger Federer and Serena Williams, are now 35 years old and looking to add to their extensive resumes. The newly renowned Sir Andy Murray looks to ride his number one ranking to another Grand Slam title. But the biggest storyline of all comes with a heavy heart—according to the Daily Telegraph, London police forces will create a “wall of steel” around the Wimbledon facilities after the recent attacks in London and Manchester

July 11th: MLB All-Star Game

Though the significance of the MLB All-Star has decreased drastically since the rules committee decided that the All-Star game would no longer decide homefield advantage in the World Series, it’s still a spectacle to be seen. The Home Run Derby highlights the best deep-ball hitters in the game, and it’s always entertaining to see the best in the game on the field at the same time. The AL has won the last four All-Star games, and the all-time series is 43-42 NL.

July 18th—July 30th: Deaflympics

This is one of the most intriguing events of the summer—much like the Olympics, the Deaflympics brings countries around the world together to compete in various sporting events. The athletes possess all the physical skills for the sports, and simply need a few variations for assistance. For example, according to Nicole Susmanne of audicus.com, referees use flags as opposed to whistles to indicate fouls, and fans wave their hands as a substitute to clapping.

July 20th—July 23rd: British Open

The only major that takes place outside of the US, the Open Championship is the oldest golf tournament in the world. A stark contrast to the lush greenery of Augusta National, the lack of trees at the Open give golfers free reign off the tee. Last year’s winner Henrik Stenson will look to defend his crown in the 2017 Open Championship.

August 3rd—September 1st: Preseason Football

If you’re one of the brave souls who tune into all four of your team’s preseason games, props to you. Though not the most exciting spectacle for the viewer, the four weeks leading up to the regular season are telling of the depth that a team has. Rookies are fighting for spots on the team, and veterans are finally getting reps against opposing teams.

So the next time you question the availability of sports in the summer, refer to the official Sconnie Sports Talk list. I don’t ever want to hear that summer is the worst sporting season again.

Jared Langenohl

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