There s still plenty of time to find those last-minute gifts before Christmas Day.
The final weekend of shopping before Christmas typically means crowded stores, packed parking lots and long check-out lines.
Knowing exactly what you re looking for before journeying out to find those final few gifts is half the battle.
Not exactly sure about what to get someone dubbed a “sports fanatic?” Well, I m here to assist you with a number of can t-miss possibilities that won t leave you broke.
In fact, consider these items as guaranteed locks to make it a memorable holiday for the sports fan dearest to you.
1. Digital video recorders: Say goodbye VCRs and videotape. OK, don t toss them out just yet, but DVRs are one of the best video-related products ever invented. The joy of taping your favorite sporting event or sitcom without ever searching for a blank videotape is awesome. Secondly, DVRs give you total control of what you re watching. Whether it s fast-forwarding, rewinding or pausing on a program during the actual broadcast, DVRs are a must in the sports fan s household. (DVRs start at around $100.)
2. Hand-held television: There are times when the fan in your life can t sit in front of a big screen. A handheld TV is an ideal gift for a sports fan on the go. Never miss another down of a football game because you have to pick up something from the store or drop clothes off at the cleaners. (Prices for handheld color TVs start at approximately $ 70.)
3. Electronic, hand-held sports games: Before Game Boy there was Mattel s electronic hand-held football, basketball and baseball games. Those who are in the 30-something crowd grew up playing these games that required good hand-to-eye coordination - and a pair of quick thumbs. For the retro sports fan this brings back plenty of good memories. It also shows just how far technology for electronics and video games has come over the last quarter of a century. (Cheap fun at approximately $12 apiece.)
4. Game tickets: How about actually sending someone to a live sporting event for a change. Whether it s buying season tickets for the Mud Hens or individual tickets for the Storm, sports fan will have a hard time finding disappointment in free admission to a sporting event. Tickets to see other teams, including the Pistons, Cavaliers, Red Wings and Blue Jackets, also qualify as worthy options. (Ticket prices vary.)
5. Binoculars/cameras: Binoculars have always been a wonderful gift for the sports fan. There are traditional binoculars that help you zoom in on the action if you re not seated in the front row; then there s the newest version that works as a digital camera. The combination binoculars/digital camera seems right for the fan looking to leave an event with more than popcorn lodged between his teeth. (Price range is broad starting at approximately $20.)
6. Barbecue grill: Don t let the cold and snow stop you from purchasing an item that is traditionally used most in the spring and summer.
Sports fans will make use of it year-round. Whether it s charcoal, gas or electric, your fan will not let this item go to waste. It might even be put to use on Christmas Day. (Prices vary depending on the type and size of the grill.)
7. School fight songs CDs: This pleases the college sports fan more than anyone else. School fight songs are tradition and pride.
Among those out there are “Fight On: The Greatest College Fight Songs”; “Big Ten College Fight Songs” and “Pac 10 College Fight Songs.” NFL Films CD, “The Power and The Glory,” is ideal for any rabid NFL fan. (Prices comparable or perhaps even less than most music CDs.)
8. Favorite sports movies: Rocky, Seabiscuit, Rudy and Hoop Dreams are just a few of the many motion pictures available on videotape and DVD that the sports fan will appreciate adding to his/her video and DVD libraries. (Expect to find these items at reasonable prices.)
9. Sports books: How about these sports titles - Not Till the Fat Lady Sings: The Most Dramatic Sports Finishes of All Time; Lance Armstrong s Every Second Counts; Seabiscuit: An American Legend; The Best American Sports Writing 2003 and Sports Illustrated: Fifty Years of Great Writing.
10. Satellite radio: Paying to listen to the radio still seems unconventional, perhaps even absurd to some.
But the idea of paying for the option to view more than 100 channels on TV didn t initially sound like a winner when the cable industry first made its mark decades ago. (Not exactly cheap, considering it calls for a monthly service plan.)
w Cincinnati at St. Louis will be shown on Toledo CBS affiliate WTOL-TV, Channel 11, tomorrow at 1. The network decided Channel 11 must show the Bengals-Rams - two playoff hopefuls - instead of Baltimore at Cleveland, according to Channel 11 operations manager Steve Israel. “We were denied a request to show Cleveland-Baltimore,” he said.
Any complaints should be directed toward CBS by calling (212) 975-3247 or sending e-mail to audsvcs@CBS.com.
w The 200th and 201st NFL broadcasts on ESPN air this weekend. Both have playoff implications. The New England Patriots face the New York Jets tonight at 8:30. The Patriots, who already have clinched the AFC East championship, need a win to keep their hopes alive for the top seed in the AFC playoffs.
Denver takes on Indianapolis tomorrow night at 8:30. Denver still is fighting to get into the playoffs; the Colts, who already have clinched a playoff berth, are chasing New England and Kansas City for the top playoff spot in the AFC.
w A Big Ten vs. MAC showdown between Northwestern and Bowling Green makes for an intriguing Motor City Bowl matchup on Friday.
w Thanks to LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers are uncharacteristically working on Christmas Day when they play at Orlando on ESPN at 2:30.
Also, ABC affiliate WTVG-TV, Channel 13, is carrying an NBA doubleheader on Christmas. Dallas meets Sacramento at 6 p.m. and Houston tangles with the Los Angeles Lakers at 8:30.