It’s a bleak-looking time for sports fans. The NFL lockout drags on, and last week, the NBA locked out their players. But have no fear, sports fans; despite the lockouts, there are still great sports to watch this year.

While sport fans can always tune into the MLB, I’ll offer some alternatives that you can watch during the Year of the Lockouts.

Canadian Football League

Fans who are in need of a football fix during the NFL lockout can always tune into CFL, which kicked off last week. While it’s not the NFL, it is still a high-caliber league, and is probably more enjoyable to watch than the United Football League would be.

Many NFL stars have played in the CFL, including Warren Moon, Doug Flutie, Ricky Williams and Rocket Ishmail. If you’re still looking for a reason to tune in to the CFL, Weber State University has a strong link with the CFL.

Over the summer, Tyrell Francisco, WSU’s tight end, was drafted by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL. He is the 29th WSU player to be drafted into the CFL. The Canadian connection continues for the Wildcats, who will be joined by Elie Bouka, a speedy receiver from Quebec, Canada.

Francisco won’t join Hamilton right away, and will be with the Wildcats for the fall, before heading north to the CFL.

English Premier League

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge soccer fan, and the EPL is hands-down one of the best leagues in the world. With the prospect of a long NFL lockout, fans who need a fall sports fix should check out one of the most competitive soccer leagues in the world.

Soccer is gaining popularity in America, and this is a great time for those interested in soccer or for new fans to start watching.

If you’re looking for a team to support, there are plenty of Americans making names for themselves in the EPL, including Clint Dempsey (who recently became the all-time leading goal scorer for his club Fulham) or Tim Howard (a normally rock-solid goalie for Everton).

Or you could support my favorite team, Tottenham, which has possibly the most exciting player in Europe, Gareth Bale. Bale is skillful, dynamic and crazy fast. For an example of Bale’s speed and excitement, go to YouTube and search “Gareth Bale vs. Inter.” It’s amazing.

Australian Football League

If you’re an insomniac, and are looking for an exciting sport to watch during the lockout, give the AFL a try. AFL is an exciting sport that looks like a hybrid between football, soccer and basketball — although, to me, it resembles the fictional sport of Quidditch more than anything. The game is played on a large oval field, and two teams of players try to kick a football between four goal posts in order to score.

AFL offers a high-speed, full-contact, high-scoring sport that might fill the void left in your lives during the year of the lockout.

Hopefully the lockouts won’t last for too long and the NBA and NFL seasons will keep us entertained throughout the year, but either way, I’d encourage you to check out some new sports and broaden your viewing schedule.

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