The Astros season is over. So are the Dynamo and Dash seasons if you’re a football fan. And while they may still be playing games, the Texans and Rockets are also done, alternating between frustration and downright heartbreak. That leaves many local sports fans with a long, dark winter ahead of them and nothing to warm their little sports hearts.
The good news is that there are options for you, dear sports enthusiast. Things you can do. Things you can watch. You might even enjoy it. And no, it’s not about holiday movies on the Hallmark channel or Saturday afternoon antiques (God help you). Quite the opposite. This is sports! We won’t give you up and you shouldn’t give up on yourself either. Try this one for size.
Look at school sports.
Note that we did NOT say “college football”. Many sports fans are already watching it and we only have a few weeks left before the BCS playoff. What are you going to do in the middle of winter? What about college basketball? Yes, hoops are played outside of the Final Four. An excellent variety is played on the campus of the University of Houston, in fact, if you feel like going to a game. If not, even though NCAA basketball isn’t very popular in Houston for some reason, it can be super exciting, especially when played at a high level.
Follow the Hot Stove competition.
We know Astros fans will be especially disappointed by this off-season, with Carlos Correa sure to move on and Justin Verlander likely signing with the Yankees. Likewise, signing big-name free agents is probably not on the radar for the Stros right now. But there are plenty of other rumors and a whole lot of intrigue. Do it while you still can, because the MLB lockout starts on December 1. After that, following that dumpster is probably your best bet for baseball entertainment until Spring Training.
Watch the young Rockets without worrying about winning or losing.
I know we said watching the Rockets is painful, but that’s especially when you invest in winning. You shouldn’t be. The Rockets certainly aren’t. But what they are is packed with young, exciting talent. They’ll have a lot of bad nights (they’ve had several in a row already), but they’ll also shine. And if you want to see them in person, there are plenty of tickets available. More importantly, you can simply enjoy ANY professional basketball, even if your favorite team is more amateur-like at the moment. Then, if they’re really good, you can say, “I’ve been with them since they were bad.” There are some Astros fans who will understand.
Two words: sports betting
It’s not legal in Texas to operate a sports betting operation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put down a few sawhorses at a game or two using offshore sports betting. Our colleague Sean Pendergast is much more versed in this than we are, but we can tell you one thing: betting on sports immediately makes them more interesting. And if you’re afraid of losing money, try fantasy sports where the stakes feel just as high, but don’t do as much damage to the wallet.
Cheer for the Texans to lose and get first pick in the draft.
“I could never fight the Texans,” you say. But what if it meant taking out one of the top draft picks and giving them a shot at another franchise quarterback? What if, in the process of handling their current franchise QB (he who is not named), they also make more good choices? Think about how they can go from one of the worst and, worse, least interesting teams in the NFL to one of the youngest and most exciting teams in a single season. That’s what the Rockets did. The Astros did it in the mid-2010s. The Texans could be next. We wouldn’t bet on it, but if they want to have a chance, they’d better keep losing.