Celebrate: Sports fan on your list? Look beyond jerseys, hats

The Albany FireWolves of the National Lacrosse League are now part of the local sports landscape. Their season runs through April 30.
The Albany FireWolves of the National Lacrosse League are now part of the local sports landscape. Their season runs through April 30.

With the holiday season well underway, let’s face it: You’ve probably got a sports fan — or five — still on your list.

Merchandise of a favorite team, in the form of a sweatshirt or hat, is always a solid bet. So is the jersey of a favorite athlete.

But perhaps you’re looking for something a little different — or, more likely, you bought that jersey, sweatshirt or hat last year.

Regardless of the reason here is a sampling of holiday gift ideas for the sports fan in your life — or even yourself! — courtesy of the sportswriters at The Daily Gazette Co. family of newspapers.

What better gift is there for someone who loves sports than the ability to watch all the sports?

A one-year subscription to ESPN+ ($69.99) offers an absurd abundance of streaming possibilities, from the NHL to the UFC to a whole gamut of college sports to every entry in the critically acclaimed “30 for 30” documentary series.
Plus, probably Peyton Manning talking about stuff.

Remember books? Some of us still buy them. Here are three in sportswriter Mike MacAdam’s library that he loves — and each has a local connection, too.

“150 Years of Racing in Saratoga” by Allan Carter and Mike Kane documents little-known stories about the track. ($35 Amazon, $12 Kindle)

“Life on the Rim” by David Levine is an entertaining look into late-1980s CBA basketball through one season of hanging out with the great 1988-89 Albany Patroons team coached by George Karl. ($15 or less on various used book sites)

“The Spa: Saratoga’s Legendary Race Course” by Paul Roberts and Isabelle Taylor is a gorgeously and meticulously illustrated depiction of how Saratoga Race Course architecture was designed and has been modified over the years. ($27 on Amazon; may be available at local bookstores like Open Door or Northshire)

A game isn’t complete without something cold to drink, and every baseball fan should be drinking out of a Lumberland Original Baseball Mug.

Available in 12- and 16-ounce options, there are natural wood and other painted versions; the most-deserving fan will be thrilled with the team signature series. A wooden outer shell holds a plastic insert for your favorite beverage.

Available at www.lumberlend.com, the Signature Series bat mugs start at $99.99.

The Capital Region and its surrounding areas have a variety of options for sports fans to attend, both in terms of professional sports and college athletics.

New this year to the area are the Albany FireWolves of the National Lacrosse League. The FireWolves host nine games in Albany beginning in December and the regular season runs through April 30. Ticket prices and the team’s schedule can be found at www.albanyfirewolves.com.

If the sports fan in your life loves basketball (and other things), there’s no better recommendation than “Basketball (And Other Things)” by Shea Serrano ($19.99). One of the most entertaining sports books of recent years. Serrano has since followed up with “(And Other Things)” books on movies and hip-hop, but the first in the series is a delight.

Looking for a good place to put your cellphone other than your pocket?

Score big with this puck cellphone holder. It’ll also prevent pocket dialing. ($11.99 for 1-pack, $21.99 for a 2-pack and $39.99 for a 4-pack at Amazon.com)

Index – Celebrate: There’s still so much to Celebrate

One qualification of a good holiday gift is something the giftee would want but would be reluctant to spend a pile of money on.

Attending a high-demand sporting event is a daunting financial commitment these days, even before you buy the $14 beer and the $12 hot dog. So a gift card from a secondary ticket market such as StubHub makes sense. (By this means, sportswriter Mike MacAdam got his nephew to Gillette Stadium for the first time to watch his beloved New England Patriots. One important note: Gift card does not guarantee a win.)

Let’s face it, can your dad really stream something easily?

Wrap him up “The Last Dance” Blu-ray collection, the 10-part documentary series that follows Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls through the 1997-98 season, and dives into Jordan’s career.

From his high school and college days at North Carolina, “The Last Dance takes” you on the floor, into the locker room, to practices and into the psyche of the greatest player of all time. (Available at Best Buy for $52.99)

A subscription to NFHS Network offers live high school sports from around the country as well as numerous Section II and New York State Public High School Athletic Association events.

Subscriptions are available at www.nfhsnetwork.com. Annual passes are available for $69.99 and monthly passes also are available for $10.99.

Want to know how “The NFL Today” set the gold standard for pregame shows? “You Are Looking Live! How ‘The NFL Today’ Revolutionized Sports Broadcasting” by Rich Podolsky, who wrote for the show, tells that story. The book is available at Barnes & Noble for $21.95 (nook) or $29.95 (hardcover).

“Giannis: The Improbable Rise of an NBA MVP,” by Mirin Fader, benefitted from perhaps the greatest unintentional marketing campaign … ever? This well-researched book chronicles the extraordinary rise of NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo and was published a month after Antetokounmpo led the Milwaukee Bucks to an NBA championship. Prices on Amazon range from $14.99 for a Kindle version to $23.49 for a hardcover.

Index – Celebrate: There’s still so much to Celebrate

Categories: Celebrate 2021, Life and Arts, Sports

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