Thursday, April 18, 2013

Top-10 Sports Bucket List

After seeing the horrific bombings at the Boston Marathon and in West, Texas, I've started to reflect on how short life can be.  After that, I came up with a top-10 list of sporting events that I would like to see before I die.  Will I ever be able to accomplish this?  Only time will tell.  But I'm setting my goals very high.  Caveats: I've already seen Yankees vs. Red Sox at both parks, Dodgers vs. Giants in L.A., USA vs. Canada hockey, Bruins vs. Canadiens in Boston, Celtics vs. Lakers in Boston, Canadiens vs. Maple Leafs, and a slew of other American rivalries.  From what I'm told, the crowds in North America pale in comparison to the rest of the world.  Only one way to find out.

#10: Geelong Cats vs. Hawthorn Hawks @ Kardinia Park
One of the most competitive recent rivalries in any sport.  The fans are electric, and the sport is a perfect mixture of barbarism and athleticism.  If I had more time, "Footy" would be the sport I pick up.  Plus, these cats are much better than Peter Criss.

#9: India vs. Pakistan Cricket @ Eden Park
First, I'll need the sport explained to me, but from what I've heard, this is an absolute must see even if you don't know the sport.  Numerous accounts report that the two countries shut down for the match.  And, unlike other sports, these matches can last an entire work week!  That's a lot of sports passion in one place.  Don't know if it can be beat, honestly.

#8: Celtic vs. Rangers or Celtic Champions League @ Celtic Park
A recent addition to my sports life is soccer, and I am head over heels with The Beautiful Game.  Watching past "Old Firm" games pitting Celtic vs. Rangers in Scotland and watching Celtic play anyone in the Champions League at Celtic Park was, in a word: Mesmerizing.  The "Green Brigade" is always out in full force, but it was a true sight to behold when Celtic took on Barcelona and Juventus.  Must witness first hand.  The noise in the stadium means that there can't be a bad seat in the house.

#7: Borussia Dortmund vs. Schalke 04 @ Westfalenstadion 
The Revierderby of Dortmund vs. Schalke is a true rivalry in the sense that both clubs have had times of glory and of despair.  Often at the others' expense.  The tension is thick and has bubbled over on a few occasions, but I will find a seat that is not near where the two sets of supporters meet.  Safety be damned!  Unfortunately, that is a theme for many of the events on my bucket list.  The "Die Gelbe Wand"(Yellow Wall) is worth it.

#6: Boca Juniors vs. River Plate @ La Bombonera
Spain has "El Clasico" (see below), but Argentina has "Superclasico."  You would never know that La Bombonera, the Boca Juniors home, only houses a shade under 50,000 people by the noise that comes through the television.  One of South America's fiercest rivalries.

#5: New Zealand All Blacks vs. South Africa Springboks @ Ellis Park
This is a Hollywood pick, but "Invictus" made me want to see this.  If it was on the same site as the 1995 Rugby World Cup final, that would be all the better, but just to see two of the best Rugby nations go head-to-head would be good enough for me.  This is also one that WifeOfGotti would certainly enjoy.

#4: Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals @ Wrigley Field
I've never been to Chicago, let alone a Cubs game.  WifeOfGotti is also a Cardinals fan who has been booed and ridiculed at the likes of Shea Stadium.  I would love to see the environment if she wore her David Eckstein Cardinals jersey into Wrigley.  So much history has not been made here (bazinga).  It's like going on one of those ghost tours.

#3: Mexico vs. USA @ Estadio Azteca
The altitude.  The fans.  The rivalry.  The lack of American success.  So much to be excited for in the Mexico City landmark.  Watching the Yanks take on El Tri would be a dream come true anywhere, but in the would be out of this world.

#2: FC Barcelona Vs. Real Madrid @ Camp Nou
El Clasico.  Need I say more?  These two teams hate each other.  These fans hate each other.  The ownership of both clubs hate each other.  Yet, they all must tolerate each other when representing Spain in international competitions.  It's a fascinating dichotomy and I'd love to try to get my finger on the pulse of it.

#1: Follow US Soccer in World Cup 2014 @ Brazil
There is no more popular sporting event in the world.  There is no more popular soccer team than Brazil.  SO when the most popular competition comes to the most popular team's country, how can it not be on the top of anyone's list.  Even if the US fails to get past the group stage, it would be the time of my life being in the heart of the best competition on the planet.  Plus, it's a trip to Brazil.  All I have to say is...WHO'S COMIN WITH ME?


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