Mark Martin has an excuse to forget his wife's Valentine's Day present. Do you?
It’s the day before Valentine’s Day and you forgot to get something for your main squeeze, didn’t you? It’s OK. We won’t judge. In fact, we’ll help. With a V-Day gift guide guaranteed to please even the pickiest of gift recipients. And the best part is, they’re free! We’ll, they’re free if you watch them on TV. If you’re lucky enough to score tickets to any of these happenings, we’re guessing you don't need any assistance from us.
For the Thrill-Seeker: The Daytona 500
There’s no better gift than Danica Patrick’s long-awaited, much-hyped NASCAR Nationwide debut today (1 ET). Especially since, after some successful practice sessions – she beat Dale Jr. and posted the fifth-fastest speed at practice Thursday (183.072 mph, 0.271 seconds behind the leader) – it seems like she could be poised for success. And with this debut come and gone, we can focus on Danica’s next big step, the launch of her perfume, “Danica Patrick For Her.” It’s supposed to hit stores around March, and we doubt it will smell like burnt rubber and gasoline, however appropriate that might be.
But that’s not all. Thanks to Danicapalooza, the big guns from the Sprint Cup have flown relatively under the radar (well, as under the radar as a Sprint Cup drivers can fly) heading into Sunday’s Daytona 500 (1 ET). But they’re set to offer plenty of sparks as well, especially with enlarged restrictor plate openings and more bump drafting. Danica’s boss, the suddenly-bearded Dale Jr., is always a favorite at restrictor plate races. He starts in the front row and could grab his first Daytona 500 win since 2004. Mark “Call Me The Brett Favre of NASCAR” Martin looks for his first Daytona 500 win (he’s 0-for-25) from the pole, as does Tony Stewart (0-for-11). Jimmie Johnson, whose 2006 Daytona 500 win started the season in the first of his back-to-back-to-back-to-back Sprint Cup champions, is always a favorite. And hey, if watching the race doesn’t do it for your Valentine, try this.
For the Glitz-and-Glamour-Phile: NBA All-Star Weekend
Does your significant other like the shiny things in life? Like fancy, state-of-the-art new stadiums? And cutting-edge fashion? And celebrities? Well then 2010 All-Star Weekend (live from the new Cowboys Stadium) is the perfect present. The gift pack includes two days of fun. On Saturday (7 ET), there’s a slate of H.O.R.S.E (can Kevin Durant repeat?), the Skills Challenge (see Young Money and his new haircut take on Steve Nash, Derrick Rose and Deron Williams), the 3-Point Contest (is Stephen Curry the new Larry Bird?) and the Slam Dunk Contest (can Nate Robinson become the first three-time winner?).
On Sunday (7 ET), we have the piece de reistance, the All-Star Game. With a crowd of more than 80,000 expected, you and your sweetheart will no-doubt have a better view of LeBron, D-Wade, Steve Nash and all the other stars than about 48 percent of the people actually in attendance. At least Jerry Jones won’t be trying to show it in 3-D.
For the Cosmopolitan: The Winter Olympics
If your honey bunny appreciates gifts with more of an international flair, have no fear. The Winter Olympics are perfect. The games play host to athletes from more than 80 countries, including fancy ones like France. And Bermuda. And even Liechtenstein. Highlights of this all-inclusive gift include Bode Miller’s Vancouver debut in the men’s downhill and 2006 silver medalist Shani Davis in the men’s 1,500-meter speedskating finals (both Saturday) and the love-inducing pairs figure skating short program (Sunday).