December 2010 Sports Calendar
by Jonathan Zeller, 11/16/2010
New York City is an exciting destination for sports fans all year long. Below you'll find a list of standout events happening in and around NYC throughout December. Visit our team schedules page for the complete lineup of New York's major and minor league teams, including the New York Giants, New York Jets, New York Rangers and New York Knicks.
College Basketball at Madison Square Garden and Beyond
Many of the nation's top college basketball teams visit Madison Square Garden throughout December and all season long, while the City's local teams play on campus and elsewhere in all five boroughs. For game dates and other details, check out our extensive NYC college basketball roundup.
2022 World Cup Bid Decision
The anticipation has been building for some time—reaching a fever pitch thanks to the United States' inspiring World Cup performance in South Africa and the New York Red Bulls' strong Major League Soccer season—and December 2 is the day that FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) decides which nation will host the 2022 World Cup. If the United States wins the bid, New Yorkers can then start crossing fingers that a few games will make it to the area. For more info, visit the US World Cup bid website for news on the decision. And don't miss this oldie but goody: a video of Mayor Michael Bloomberg enthusiastically supporting the United States' bid and promoting NYC as the ultimate host city (and shouting, "Gooaaaaal!" to boot).
Rangers vs. Islanders
December 3, 7pm; December 27, 7pm; Madison Square Garden
Sports rivalries don't get much nastier than Rangers vs. Islanders, a grudge match that often produces vulgarity in the stands and—while we would never condone it, we must report it—spirited pugilism on the ice. Chants reference heroes and villains of long ago (Rangers fans frequently use salty language to demean Denis Potvin, who is more than two decades removed from his time as an Islander), and the atmosphere is always charged, regardless of the standings. Tickets sell out quickly, so the official Rangers TicketExchange and StubHub might be your best bet for seats.
Double Dutch Holiday Classic
December 5, 1pm; Apollo Theater
In the Double Dutch Holiday Classic, a talented international cast of teams elevates the childhood jump-rope game of double Dutch to a form of art. Competitors fuse dance and gymnastics into a dazzling, high-speed display of creativity, athleticism and coordination at Harlem's venerable Apollo Theater. Over the years, it has become one of NYC's most anticipated annual sporting events. For more information, visit nationaldoubledutchleague.com.
Major League Dreidel Spin the Dreidel Tournament
December 9, 6:30pm; Knitting Factory
It might be surprising to see the words "Major League" before a seemingly noncompetitive staple of Jewish childhood, but that's far from the only incongruous aspect of this Brooklyn shindig. The celebration also features Gods of Fire, an outfit that shreds Hanukkah-themed metal songs, and Category Sixx, the self-proclaimed "World's Greatest Air Band." Plus, the version of dreidel that "major leaguers" play doesn't have much to do with the traditional game; instead of Hebrew letters determining who wins gelt (gold-foil-wrapped chocolate coins), players compete to see who can keep their dreidel spinning the longest. The action takes place in the Spinagogue (a miniature stadium for spinning), whose creators have given us perhaps the greatest commercial ever filmed, complete with brash anthropomorphized dreidels.
December 11, noon; Chelsea Piers
Chelsea Piers' newly opened bouldering cave plays host to this competition, in which serious rock climbers compete for prizes and the right to call themselves the best in New York City. Friends, family and curious onlookers are free to watch talented athletes as they fight gravity with their skill and strength. Dare to climb instead of just watch? Registration costs $15 for Chelsea Piers members and $25 for nonmembers (and an extra $10 if you register on the day of the competition).
Heisman Trophy Presentation
December 11, 8pm; Best Buy Theater
Not only is New York City now home to a college football bowl game (see below), it's also the place where the Heisman Trophy is presented to the National Collegiate Athletic Association's most outstanding player as judged by members of the press, former Heisman winners and fans. Top contenders this season include Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, Oregon running back LaMichael James and Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore—whose teams, not coincidentally, find themselves embroiled in the always-controversial race for the Bowl Championship Series national championship.
Knicks vs. Heat
December 17, 7pm; Madison Square Garden
LeBron James takes his talents to New York City for the most anticipated game of the Knicks' young season. King James resisted NYC's efforts to woo him over the summer and also left Ohio behind, choosing instead to build a seemingly unstoppable superteam in South Beach. A win over James, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade and the rest of the Heat would instantly endear Amar'e Stoudemire to the City's basketball fans and set off a playoff-level celebration at the Garden.
WWE Raw World Tour
December 26, 7pm; Madison Square Garden
While not strictly a sporting event, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is certainly one of America's most popular and enduring pastimes. WWE's mixture of athleticism and theatricality has hooked generations of viewers, and, on December 26, some of TV wrestling's biggest personalities clash at the "World's Most Famous Arena." The evening's highlight: a four-way steel-cage match for the WWE championship featuring John Cena, Randy Orton, the Miz and Wade Barrett. For tickets and more information, visit Madison Square Garden's website.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl
December 30, 3:22pm; Yankee Stadium
This season saw the new Yankee Stadium host its first-ever football game (age-old rivals Notre Dame and Army faced off on November 20), and December 30 marks the facility's first postseason pigskin matchup. In fact, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl is the first New York City bowl game since Miami and Nebraska played in the 1962 Gotham Bowl at the old Yankee Stadium. Representatives from the Big East and Big 12 conferences battle to end the season with a win at one of the world's most famous stadiums.