The Miami Heat are done playing basketball until the Dollar Tree starts selling Halloween decorations. How is a South Florida sports fan even to deal right now? It's always a bitter pill to swallow when the Heat seasons ends, but because of the way that injuries robbed the team of advancing further, this one has us more down than usual.
So how are Heat fans to cope with the end of their team's season? What is there to look forward to until another Heat season full of possibilities is upon us? Plenty, we promise.
5. The North America Soccer League
Hear me out. Let's not pretend you know the first thing about the NASL, but you've undoubtedly at least heard of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. With the team's season winding down, now is the perfect time to get out to a game on the cheap and see what it's all about.
The Strikers only have one more home game left, but Miami FC have a couple left at FIU. Between the pair, you have a solid shot to go check out what the league has to offer so that maybe this time next year you'll have a big enough investment in the local clubs that when the Heat season ends, you have something else to look forward to other than rooting against LeBron James.
4. Finally invest in a Florida Panthers off-season
Did you find yourself enjoying the hell out of this Florida Panthers season? Awesome. Did you know who half the players were? No. Me neither. We should probably work on that. It's so much more fun to invest in a team and then see it succeed, rather than jump on the bandwagon when the team is in first place late in the year.
Until at least the NFL begins, now is as good a time as any to check out what the Panthers have in the minors and read up on what they might do in the NHL draft June 24 and 25. Not only were the Panthers awesome last season, but they have players ready to break through with the big club that you're sure to hear about in the coming years. Just like in baseball, knowing a player before he's even on the team is half the fun. Invest in the Panthers a little, and the reward will be huge when the team wins the Stanley Cup soon.
3. There's always baseball!
No really, there is always baseball. If you find yourself jonesing for a hit of sports at any point between now and Heat basketball, try some baseball. Notice we didn't say "Marlins baseball." That's because if you can avoid cheering for the Marlins at any cost, you should. If you've already been infected at a young age and have no choice, cheering for Stanton home runs will do.
The Marlins are surprisingly average this year, which seems like a phrase they should be putting on a hat and selling any day now. Stanton is still crushing the ball when he hits it; the problem is he isn't hitting it very often (.227 as of Thursday). These are all very Marlins problems that lead to a dead end.
2. The NBA off-season; it's FANTASTIC!
The best part about the NBA is that the NBA never stops. The off-season is literally better than most other sports. All season, people speculate on where a player might go or what he might decide to do. The Heat have four players guaranteed to play for them next season, meaning the entire team could look different next year. The players under contract do not include a man named Dwyane Wade or a seven-foot center named Hassan Whiteside, so there will be news to pay attention to over the next few weeks.
The Heat won't be heavily involved in the NBA Draft, but there is always the possibility that they'll pull off a trade to acquire a second-round pick or, around that same time, unload Josh McRoberts' contract so they can free up even more money to make a run at Kevin Durant. The possibilities are endless. The only thing better than Miami Heat basketball is preparing for another season of Miami Heat basketball.
1. Miami Dolphins Football Rebuild 15.0
I know... but let's be honest — you have no choice. Miami Dolphins football is about to happen. Stop fooling yourselves into thinking this is the season you finally can't take their disappointment anymore. You'll take it, and you'll like it.
Training camp is just a few weeks away, if sitting on hot bleachers watching grab-ass fake football is your thing. New Dolphins coach Adam Gase and Dolphins czar Mike Tannenbaum are trying to sell you a new and improved version of the last new and improved version of the Dolphins, so we might as well pay attention. The best thing about the Dolphins season is that the Miami Heat's season cuts right into it just when you can't take it anymore.