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The Official April Sports and Entertainment Power Rankings: While We’re Waiting

Yes, you read that title correctly. Seeing as how the timing of my writing here at Waiting for Next Year is on a bi-weekly basis, this doesn’t time up perfectly but I have to get this out before the most important sports and entertainment month of my 30’s! Which did just start at the end of February, but who’s counting? Not you.

April has always been my favorite time of year. We finally get into spring, the sporting events get cranked up with several important dates, and the movie companies love to let their blockbusters fly around this time. The weather is getting better, the days are lasting longer, and the entertainment is top notch. What more can we ask for? Nothing more, I tell you.

So, as busy as we all get we probably can’t do everything this month because there is just simply too much going on. Well, I’m here to help. I will give you my ultimate power rankings for one of the year’s best months and it should give you a clear path to successfully finding the events that matter most. Let’s get going.

No. 1: Avengers Endgame  – April 26th 

Since 2008 I have been all-in with the comic book movement. This stuff might not be for everyone, but it is certainly for me. From the minute I sat through Iron Man almost a decade ago, I knew I loved this genre. It evokes the inner child in me and it makes for some just plain great fun. When you commit this much time to some 21 total movies, you feel a deeper connection.

I was just in college when this all started for me. Just a sophomore. Now I’m 30 and the whole thing may fially be coming to a brutal end. The emotions, man. When my now wife and I started dating in 2017, she hadn’t spent any time with the Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies. When she was pregnant I convinced her that in the time she spent on the couch we should go through them. She agreed, and now she might be a bigger fan than I am. They just suck you in as few long-running series can. A decade worth of caring from a large fan base is nothing to scoff at. So many storylines have come and gone, so many characters developed. It’s a badge of honor to have come this far and it should be a fantastic follow-up to the success that was Infinity War in 2018.

Also, Jeff D. Lowe of the Lights, Camera, Action Podcast did a great mash-up with the upcoming Browns season. If you haven’t seen it, it’s well worth your 2-minute attention span. It will have you fired up for the 2019 Browns. Let me tell you.

(Keep your eyes peeled for the formal schedule announcements come April 20th, or close to it. The Browns should get the maximum five primetime games)

No. 2 – The Final Season of Game of Thrones – April 14th first episode

Some of you might laugh at me. But I’m serious. If you follow along with my Twitter account, you know how crazy I went into this whole show series. If you don’t do the Twitter thing, I will recap. I posted the question in late February about catching up on the series before the April 14th’s final season. Was it feasible?

The short answer, yes. I thought it would be crazy to watch all seven seasons, 67 total episodes, in just a month and a half, but I decided to dig in and give it a shot. An episode a day with a few weekend double and I could do it. Season one started out fine enough, picked up by the end and I was in. Season two was slow, but then when Season three and four happened it became a break-neck pace. Any extra second I had at work or home when I wasn’t working on a project or with the family, I was watching Game of Thrones.

The writing is that superb, the characters were so well acted, and the storyline provided so many unexpected plot twists. It is without a doubt the best show I have ever spent time watching. I feel no shame saying that.

So, I finished 67 episodes in just three weeks. Again, no shame. I couldn’t stop. It’s not a show that is meant to be binged your first time though given all the intricate details and major emotional swings, but I did it.

I’m happy to be on board for the final season, but I truly wish I started it back in 2011 when the whole thing began on HBO. It’s been almost a decade in the making for so many committed fans. If I had committed the whole decade to the show, it would likely have been close to the top spot for me. This final season means so much to those devoted to the show and book series and I’m now one of  those in a minor way. The anticipation I feel in waiting just a few weeks is like torture. I can’t imagine how those who have waited two years feel. Hopefully, it all ends with the return of the true Targaryen dynasty and the walkers destroyed.

No. 3: The NFL Draft – Airing April 25th-27th

I love the draft. Like, love it. I spend time studying it with hours committed and just truly enjoy sitting through the theatrics of it all. I much preferred the single day event, but I have grown to respect the three-day event that it has become. For far too long this event has meant much more than it ever should to Browns fans and it has inherently become a part of our fan process DNA. Those days might just be in the past, though.

Unless an unlikely return to the first round, the Browns won’t be an active part of day one of the draft. Which is rare. The last time the organization sat out of the first round was 2008 thanks to Brady Quinn. This is rare air. There have been more instances of multiple first round picks, than no first round pick. Yet, here we are. The Browns wisely moved their No. 17 pick for the heist of Odell Beckham from New York, but that doesn’t diminish the importance of the Browns remaining eight picks left in the draft. I recently outlined a plan here:

The need will be there for a strong safety and the need will be there for a linebacker and the Browns should have an opportunity to get those players. The pick in the second round could go any number of ways based on the talent of the best players there and the positions the Browns need to improve. Despite a lack of a first round pick, it will still be a vital draft for the Browns to round out their roster. I won’t miss a minute of the coverage.

No. 4: Jacob’s Field Opening Day – April 1st

Always a special day. Nothing quite like the first day of a baseball season. We all know it’s a long marathon, but the immediate need to win on Opening Day to set up the fan base with positive energy feels infinitely more important than it is. The Indians open in Minnesota starting Thursday through Sunday, but the season never quite feels underway until your team opens at home.

The vibes around the team could be better of late. Francisco Lindor will miss opening day due to a lingering calf strain, and Jose Ramirez had this happen to his poor left shin yesterday:

All indications are that Ramirez will be fine as the X-Rays came back negative, but his status for the opening week of the season remians a mystery as he was carted off the field. The overall feeling around the franchise is grim. Fans have wanted more spending and owner Paul Dolan continues to remind that fan base that major spending won’t be happening any time soon.

Normally this event would be higher on my list, but the window feels like it might be shutting soon. For a team coming off three straight AL Central Championships, the organization has a moral issue to rectify. Hopefully, the fanbase can pick up the pieces and support the franchise when it has a winner. They should continue to win the division thanks to the league’s most dominant pitching staff, and it may be something we never see again. I won’t take it for granted, but it is a shame this has fallen down my list.

No. 5: The Masters – April 11th-14th 

All the green. Green everywhere you look. This one is on my bucket list and I hope to someday remove it. I’m no golf aficionado, but I do love the major tournaments and there’s nothing quite like The Masters Tournament. It signifies the turning of the sports calendar and the seasons changing. I have loved it since I was lucky enough to grow up watching Tiger dominate the tournament in the late ’90s and early 2000s.

There’s so much talent on the tour these days, but Tiger just flat out drives the sport. I will be tuning in to see if he can bring back those old memories I love so much.

He appears to be ready and I will be eagerly watching.

https://twitter.com/SportsCenter/status/980964162674331648

No. 6: NCAA Basketball Tournament Final Four – April 6th & 8th

Growing up a college basketball lover, this will always entertain me. I have grown away from the sport but the Final Four and Championship game will always get my interest. This year’s game haven’t quite lived up to the “March Madness” billing, but last night’s Duke agianst UCF brought it all back with one fantastic finish.

https://twitter.com/SportsCenter/status/1109962241284194305

The brackets get busted and the whole thing comes down to who can survive and advance. With Ohio State now out thanks to Houston, I find a nice appeal in another North Carolina against Duke match-up in the final. They feel like the country’s best teams this year and throw in the rivalry on a setting we have never seen. I’m in.

No. 7: NBA Playoffs – Starting April 13th

When it comes to basketball, there is nothing like the playoffs. The best athletes in the world gear it up to a level of speed and talent that is rarely seen in any other sport. It is something to behold. It had been a tradition of late watching the Cavs and LeBron dominate these early playoff rounds, but the Los Angeles departure has totally changed things. LeBron’s Lakers are missing the playoffs and it will be the first time the whole event has happened without the legend since 2005. I won’t lie, LeBron and the Cavs watching the playoffs from the outside will probably mean I view less overall. A great event, but it just won’t be the same. I mean in 2005 I was a sophomore in high school. Crazy to think of the long extent of LeBron’s greatness. I will leave you with these to make us all feel old.