Diehard Miami Heat and Florida Panthers fans hoping to catch every bit of the action as both teams head into the playoffs suddenly find themselves with an unexpected scheduling dilemma: having to choose between games taking place on the same nights.
What are longtime admirers of both sports teams supposed to do? Some have had to make difficult decisions.
Northeast Miami-Dade resident Ryan Sherman calls himself @familymansherms on Instagram, but “South Florida sports fan Sherms” would also work.
Sherman said he had planned to take his children to the Eastern Conference finals Heat games, as well as the Panthers’ second-round games against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“Why would they do that? I don’t think they’ve thought it through,” he said. “Game 1, Game 2, Game 5, every [Panthers] game is the same night as the Heat.”
Also disheartened by the clogged sports game calendar is Dr. Cory Lesner, a Heat and Panthers season ticket holder.
“This was, like, my greatest fear, that this would happen,” he said. “It’s kind of unfair. Frustration, I guess that’s a good word for it.”
The decision also took President of Duffy’s Sports Grill Joe Webb by surprise.
“It’s crazy,” he said.
But the business owner has opted to give loyal Heat and Panthers fans facing this predicament a possible solution: come to Duffy’s.
“Come here. We’ll have both [games] on. You’ll be able to sit in a chair and watch either TV,” he said.
But Sherman has already come up with his own plan, at least for the time being, and he won’t even have to leave his home.
“I would have liked to have taken my kids to the games. Instead, what I did is I set up two TVs in a room,” he said, “and we’ll start the Panthers [game] at 7 [p.m.], we’ll start the Heat at 8:30. We’re going to have the DVR on, and that’s what we’re going to do: we’re going to make the best of it.”
Sherman said he may still attend a playoff game or two for either team, but he would have attended more if they hadn’t been scheduled on the same nights.
Tuesday night, the Heat won Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals, defeating the Boston Celtics 118-107. The Panthers lost Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Lightning 4-1.