It really is the most wonderful time of the year. Every 12 months, that special day we’ve all been waiting for arrives. It starts at the crack of dawn, continuing all day long. Some people will spend their day enjoying the action at one venue, while others will switch between multiple as they enjoy the festivities. Plenty of food is eaten, plenty of fluids consumed to keep the body hydrated. That day, of course, is Boxing Day.
Wait. What? Yes. Boxing Day! Sporting nirvana. A public holiday, with action galore to choose from on the box. Don’t be overwhelmed, as I’ve got your day covered. You’ll want an experienced person in control of the remote though, as this is no time to be dishing out apprentice hours. Keep the drinks handy and don’t forget to polish off that leftover ham and trifle. Here’s your guide to surviving over 24 hours of continuous sport.
6.00 am NZT.
This is where it really begins. Nope, check that. The NBA schedules five consecutive games on Christmas Day in the USA, which of course is Boxing Day in New Zealand. Fortunately, they’ve given us a dud first up. The Knicks might be a big market team, but they’re not good with star Kristaps Porzingis on the shelf. So grab the extra sleep as Giannis Antetokounmpo takes the Bucks to another win.
Ok, with that false start out of the way, let’s try again. It’s NBA still, with the big Kiwi involved. So grab your coffee and settle in for the long haul, as the Rockets host Steven Adams and the Thunder.
Wellington’s rain denied New Zealand a (possible) win in the series opener, but in doing so set us up for a winner takes all decider in Christchurch. You never want to miss that pivotal first session, so ditch the hoops and flick across to the cricket. If things get interesting in Houston, you can always flick back between overs.
Things do get interesting now, because the third test between Australia and India gets underway in Melbourne. It’s a pivotal match too after the West Island managed to level the series in Perth, so you’ll again be wanting to catch that first session. Meanwhile, the 76ers and Celtics will be about halfway through their encounter. The Celtics are scuffling at the moment though as they battle injuries, so this is probably a game where you can settle for updates.
If there’s one NBA game you don’t want to miss, it’s this one. LeBron James and the Lakers travel to take on the defending champion Warriors in a key Western Conference clash. Your own tastes withstanding, this is the time to put the cricket on the backburner as the games no doubt meander through the middle of the day. Enjoy a star studded NBA clash as The King tries to take down KD and The Splash Brothers.
The final hoops clash of the day tips off, with the Blazers and Jazz doing battle in Utah. It’s back to the cricket at this time for me, catching the end of the first day in Christchurch, while keeping an eye on the happenings in Melbourne. There’s also racing on if that kind of thing takes your fancy, with the $200,000 Zabeel Classic at Ellerslie jumping at around a quarter past five.
The evening meanders on after the finish of the NBA and the day’s play in Christchurch, with just the Australia vs India game to keep you occupied as you tuck into the leftovers for dinner. Until…
More sport from across the ditch starts, with three games of different codes to flick between. So pick your poison of Scorchers vs Strikers in the Big Bash, Adelaide United vs Western Sydney Wanderers in the A-League, or Melbourne United vs Adelaide 36ers in the NBL. If you’re from South Australia, I’m not sure how you decide which of your three teams you’ll watch…
It’s then into a night full of English Premier League fixtures, with nine games scheduled for Boxing Day UK time. Fulham vs Wolves is the early kickoff, which is probably one you can pass on to grab a few hours kip.
4.00 am (27th)
Take your pick! Three big clubs – Liverpool, Manchester City and Spurs – all kick off at this time, but there’s probably also some interest in Manchester United, as well as Chris Wood and Burnley.
6.15am and 8.30am
Still with us? There’s two more Premier League clashes to round out the day, with Brighton hosting Arsenal and Chelsea taking the short trip north to Watford.
So now you’re fully equipped. Merry Boxing Day everyone and a happy new year.
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