With the PGA Tour announcing its plan to start tournaments back in mid June at the Colonial with no fans, it has us daydreaming of a time when we can actually attend sporting events. While many people argue that the home viewing experience is more appealing with the comfort of your living room, proximity of refreshments and ability to watch 37 different things at once on your 400-ft TV, we argue that nothing beats being at a sporting event. Maybe we are extroverts, but the connection you feel with the athletes, coaches, friends and strangers at a big moment in a sporting event is a feeling you cannot replicate while lounging in sweatpants in your parent’s basement and stuffing your face with Doritos. Not even if you make a Tik Tok and get your friends to like it.
Some of the most memorable moments of our life have taken place at sporting events. The image of our dad celebrating a Jim Springer buzzer beater as the Richmond Spiders upset the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in 1990 is something we won’t ever forget. As founders of the pre-eminent sports blog in the world, we’ve been fortunate to attend more sporting events than the average person. Among the games and stadiums we’ve managed to sneak into include Carolina-Duke basketball, Michigan-Ohio State football, Yankee Stadium (new and old), Wrigley Field, Notre Dame Stadium, Redskins-Cowboys on Monday Night Football, Final Four, The Masters – we’re extremely fortunate. But, there are a bunch of things still on our bucket list. Without further ado, the #1 event/stadium that we want to attend in each sport.
Baseball – Fenway Park
Last summer, we went to a game at the new Braves ballpark, which was incredible. Even more incredible, it was the third ballpark that we’ve seen a Braves home game in our life…and we’re not that old. So, while the new ballparks are great, we have a soft spot for the old classics and Fenway is at the top of that list. Give us a seat atop the Green Monster, a Fenway Frank and a cold beer and leave us alone for the next 3-4 hours.
Runner Up: A trip to Omaha for the College World Series.
Basketball – A game at The Phog
Allen Fieldhouse, home of the Kansas Jayhawks is a must for any college basketball die hard. Between the history that dates to James Naismith, the haunting Rock, Chalk, Jayhawks chant, and Snoop Dogg firing money cannons, there is no place that can compare. And the best part, the best coaches to ever go through Lawrence are Dean Smith and Roy Williams. I’m guessing they really enjoy it if you tell them that while in attendance.
Runner Up – Lakers game at Staples Center
Football – Lambeau Field
It was a tough call between this and a trip to the Rose Bowl – the weather would certainly be better in Pasadena, but we love the small town community aspect of the Packers. If you’ve ever been to South Bend on a football Saturday, it transforms into this football utopia. The other 358 days during the year…not so much. We think Green Bay is likely that football utopia, but every day of the year. I mean, the Packers are a publicly owned team! If we were tough, we’d say a Packers-Bears game in late December, but we’re not, so a nice September game when we can head to Whistling Straits to play golf while we’re there will do just fine.
Runner Up – Rose Bowl
Golf – Ryder Cup
Speaking of Whistling Straits, the Ryder Cup will be there this year. This three-day event where players pay for country (or continent) is our favorite event outside of the Masters. To watch these incredible golfers who have played a solitary sport for their whole lives embrace being a part of a team is fascinating. Throw in a little xenophobia from the fans and you have the making of a fun few days. And while the midwesterners will likely be relatively tame this year, in four years when the Ryder Cup heads to Bethpage…look out. Let’s just say we wouldn’t be sending any of those fans into a diplomatic negotiations.
Runner Up – Open Championship at St. Andrews
Hockey – Stanley Cup Finals Game 7 in Overtime
It doesn’t matter to us who is playing or where it is being played. Nothing in sports matches the intensity of overtime playoff hockey, and being game seven only ratchets up the drama. And when we say it doesn’t matter where it is, that’s a slight exaggeration. No offense to fine folks at the Tampa Bay Lightning, but we need some proper Canadian hawkey. Gimme a Molson, say you’re sorey, and let’s get on with it, eh?
Runner Up – Olympic Gold Medal Game
Olympics – 4 x 100m Relay
In high school, we were on the track team and ran the opening leg of the 4 x 100 relay team which had a chance to set the school record. Frankly, three of the four guys could have just set the record on their own. You can guess which group we were a part of. Anyway, early in the season, a couple of those guys were hurt and we were running in the 100m and needed to win the race to help our team beat a hated rival. About 10 meters from the finish, our hamstring blew out (ed. Note – our hero was in first place at the the time. Also, this pales in comparison from the time he face planted on track at the end of the 4×400 meter relay). A couple weeks later, when the other guys were healthy and someone filled in for us in the relay, they set the school record. We are not bitter about this at all 20 years later. Regardless, the speed, intensity and electricity of the Olympic 4 x 100m relay would be incredible to experience. Plus, you know the Jamaicans will be there so you can get a pretty sweet contact high.
Runner Up – Swimming
Soccer – World Cup
Sure, soccer’s governing bodies make college basketball recruiting look like a convent, but if we had to rank all these events, attending a World Cup would finish atop the bucket list. Ideally, this would be a World Cup on foreign soil to truly experience how much this event and this sport means to the rest of the world. Except in 2022. Not going to Qatar. We know we’re not the first to point this out, but if you’re going to be corrupt, at least make an effort to hide it. Qatar? Really? Was Guantanamo Bay not available?
Runner Up – English Premier League match
Tennis – Wimbledon
It’s debatable what we’d be more excited about – the chance to dress in all white or the ability to get a proper Pimm’s Cup. Wait…what? Only the players wear all white? Ok, Pimm’s Cup it is. Bartender!
A college friend happened to play a little tennis, and one of the few memories from our senior year was telling this guy if he ever made it to Wimbledon, that we’d be there to sit in his player box. Felt like a safe bet at the time. He’s now played in Wimbledon 7 times. Whoops.
Runner Up – Night session at US Open
E-Sports – League of Legends
Kidding. This is ridiculous. In the words of a Power 5 Conference AD, “so people just sit around and watch dudes play video games? No thanks.” We visited the ESPN.com page about e-sports, which is the only way we know about League of Legends. They actually have some rather in-depth analysis, and this is an exact quote: “It’s a similar style to the default SK Telecom T1 game plan of leveraging a strong laning top that can play carries well while leaving bot lane to play weak side and then 5v5 teamfighting later with pressure from the jungle/mid duo.” Man, I really hate it when they leave their bot lane.
You know how you daydream about what you would spend the $500 million Powerball winnings that you just know you’re going to win because you bought one ticket? We spent an entire 5-hour road trip talking about this once. The possibilities are endless. That’s what this column feels like – we could go on for hours, and if sports don’t start back up soon, we may have to. In the meantime, we’re counting down the days until June 11, when we may take a vacation just to sit and watch Golf Channel all day. Desperate times.