CHRIS ERSKINE / FAN OF THE HOUSE

Sports, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways

This is the time of year that a sports fan's heart turns to thoughts of spring training, and other romantic subjects.

Cupid's juiced. Lance Armstrong's head is corked. Is there anything left to love about modern sports, the apparent bastion of liars, cheats and psychopaths?

Well, here are 100 Valentines dedicated to all that's still good about sports. "There are really 100?" you ask. OK, maybe 99:

—The poetry of the phrase "pitchers and catchers report ..."

—The thwaaaack of a well-hit anything (baseball, golf ball, puck).

—Batting cages.

—Bleacher bums.

Kevin Costner's "small-of-a-woman's-back" speech.

—Soccer in the rain.

—Football in the snow.

—Bill Murray singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."

—Dodger virtuoso Nancy Bea, the poor man's Dudamel.

—Coaches who still wear plaid.

—Cheerleaders who still wear wool.

—Teams that would never consider moving: Bears, Steelers, Red Sox, Eagles ...

—The first Saturday in May.

—The last Saturday in October.

—Two words: "Sandy Koufax."

—Two more words: "Riders up!"

—The squeak of sneakers on a hardwood court.

—The guillotine sounds of NHL skates.

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