A FEW PLAY the games. More sit in the weather and watch. And the rest of us, the multitude without talent or tickets, experience sports on the page, off a screen, through a receiver and out of the ether (or wherever it is the Internet comes from; Al Gore has so far refused to say). The point is, media--television and DVDs and movies and books and such--don't just make games more accessible, they make sports as we know it possible. And sometimes magical. Then there's Stephen A. Smith. As with teams and individual athletes, it is never simple and easy for the fans. Here is SI's survey of the year in sports media.

PHOTO ILLUSTRATIONIllustrations by Tom Nick Cocotos
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)