Because of the crazy career I chose, I’ve been fortunate enough to see a lot of different sporting events I doubt I’d have ever witnessed otherwise.
They include: The Masters, Super Bowls, World Series, a Summer Olympics, Final Fours, Rose Bowls, and, of course, the now-defunct Gazette Hawkeye Challenge basketball tournament.
But there is always so much more, and so little time.
That said, here are the top six things on my sports Bucket List, events I’d like to attend (but never have) before I switch careers and become a pirate. These would probably change every day by whim, so don’t take the order of ranking too seriously. This is obviously just for fun, anyhow.
At the end of this post, why don’t you name your Bucket List and reasons for your choices?
6. A Stanley Cup final in one of the NHL’s original six cities: Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Montreal, New York or Toronto.
I can’t watch a regular-season NHL game unless I’m there in person. But the playoffs are irresistible to me, even on television. To see a playoff final game in a city steeped in hockey tradition would be enormous fun.
5. A World Cup game of meaning in a nation where soccer is king
I saw two World Cup games in Chicago in 1994. They were, I’m sorry to say, dull. The U.S. is angling for the 2018 World Cup. I’d rather see England get it.
To see a meaningful World Cup match in a nation like England or Brazil or Spain or Argentina . . . This should probably be my No. 1, really. But my American-ness won’t allow it.
4. A Red Sox game in Fenway Park
It’s one of those gotta-do-it-sometime things, but for some reason, it’s never fully grabbed me. My hunch is it would be a bit of a disappointment. But who knows? People sure seem to enjoy going there.
One of my all-time favorite places to see a sports event was Tiger Stadium in Detroit. It was a dump that oozed with character. I’ll never forget going to my seat in the upper deck behind home plate and immediately thinking “I don’t believe this. I’m right on top of the game.”
It was so much better than any of the new ballparks I’ve seen, and I’m a big fan of the one in Pittsburgh.
I’m not a big NASCAR fan. But if every race were on a track the size of Bristol’s half-mile cereal bowl with seats that go up to the heavens, that would change.
Plus, you can’t just jump off a freeway and roll into the track’s parking lot. It’s a weekend commitment to see a race there, and you better be ready to camp. It’s like Woodstock, but without Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin or Sha Na Na.
2. The British Open
How could this not be great? I’ve covered a few U.S. Opens, and none has really tripped my trigger. Of course, none were at Pebble Beach. But I don’t think you could go wrong at the British, be it at any of its rotation of courses in the U.K.
1. Kentucky Derby
This is one of those uniquely American events. I’m guessing when you’re there for that race at Churchill Downs, you know you’re at a one-of-a-kind deal, with history, pageantry and aura.
Now then, what are yours and why?
Wimbledon? Indy? An Oklahoma-Texas or Florida-Georgia or Idaho-Boise State football game? The only rule is it has to be something or someplace you’ve never experienced in person.