What a morbid topic Jason...let me tell you what got me thinking about this. I was watching the first UNC v Duke men's basketball game this year and tweeted to @midatlanticbias (another Jason) who happens to be a Duke fan that we should watch a season series of UNC/Duke with each other. Him walking into the palace that is the Dean Dome and me slithering into the cramped, overheated high school gym that is Cameron Indoor Stadium. Now I have already watched a game in each of the two locations. About a decade ago I went with a high school friend to watch a U. of Maryland vs Duke game near the height of their rivalry. I wore a red t-shirt with the words 'Kick Their Ass' written on it in the heart of the 'Cameron Crazies.' Outside of the ticket taker, not one student said a mean word to me. I didn't even get that many dirty looks. Duke won which probably kept me from getting into a shoving match post game, but the experience was fun. Just last month I finally got to see UNC play at home when they defeated Pitt. The place was loud and it was nice to be surrounded by a bunch of fans rooting for the same team unlike my previous three UNC games that I had seen in person: 1) at Princeton 2) in DC during the ACC tournament with a mixed bag of fans 3) at the ACC Championship game last season with a bunch of Miami fans in my section as the Hurricanes won the title.
Okay I'm getting off track...back to the bucket list.
The easiest way for me will be going from sport to sport (whether you like it or not, I will be including poker as a sport).
1) Attend a Game 7 - any Game 7 (bonus points to it including the Oakland Athletics or Washington Nationals). I was fortunate enough to see a playoff game finally two seasons ago when Jayson Werth hit a walk-off HR in Game 4 against St. Louis for the Nationals. I don't remember what ever came of that Game 5 though.
2) See the All-Star festivities - Mainly I want to watch a HR derby. Yes I'm an old soul when it comes to baseball and I thoroughly enjoy a good old fashioned HR derby. I'd go to the All Star game too, but the derby does it for me more so.
3) 30 games in 30 (or 31) days - Maybe not like this one, but something similar without the plane flights. Me and three other people in a camper going coast to coast. It can be done with the right scheduling by MLB as long as the teams who share cities play on the same day and night so you can hit both in one day. I'll blog it if somebody's wants to pay for it :)
4) Throw live to a major league hitter - This one is about 4 years expired as my shoulder has gone to hell, but what I wouldn't have given to throw live to any MLBer during my prime. Sure they would've crushed me, but what fun I would've had.
5) Spend a week with my High School pals in Arizona for Spring Training - My core high school group of friends included two A's fans, a Cubs fan, a Brewers fan, a Yankees fan and a Tigers fan. 4-2 Arizona to Florida (plus I've been to spring training in Florida).
6) Go to Opening Day - This seems like an easy one to accomplish, but I have never gotten around to doing it. Shame on me.
1) Watch the Redskins play (and win) an NFC Championship Game at home - This has many factors that 20 years ago looked to be a distinct possibility, but now looks near impossible. The Redskins have hosted just two playoff games since moving out of DC. I could be sitting on this one for a while.
2) Go to a Super Bowl when the Redskins aren't playing - Jokes aside about how easy this one could be, I don't think I'd like to be in house while the Redskins are playing in a Super Bowl. I'd much rather be around my friends and family. Football is the one sport that I like watching in a social atmosphere. I cuss far too much when watching baseball, hockey and college basketball to be around people I care about.
3) See JMU make the jump to Division 1 and watch UNC play for a National Championship - JMU seems on the cusp of making the leap away from 1-AA (I'm not using the proper terminology for a reason). Then when they beat Virginia Tech it won't be as much as a shock. UNC had a great season in 1997 and have been up and down since (with some help from some boosters and tutors). My hope is they at least play in a BCS level game in the next few years and possibly have that one magical season within the next 10-15 years.
1) Go to a Final Four - I possibly could stomach watching UNC live there, but I'd probably be escorted out of the building before the first television timeout. There was a distinct possibility that I was going to get to go to the Final Four in New Orleans in 2012 through a work connection via my sister if UNC had gone, but stupid ass Creighton had to go and injure Kendall Marshall and derail a probable UNC/UK rematch. Still, and forever, bitter.
2) Watch UNC/Duke in both arenas - Already discussed above.
3) Be on UNC's campus during a Final Four/Championship victory - I have been on campus for four UNC games in my life. I was there when UNC lost to Duke, I was there when UNC lost the 1998 Final Four to Utah and I was there when UNC lost to Florida in the 2000 Final Four. Thankfully UNC beat Pitt last month or I may have never gone back.
4) Watch JMU become the next GMU/VCU/Wichita St. - I went to James Madison University (shocking as that is with my affinity to UNC throughout this blog) from 1996-2000. After making the NCAA Tournament in 1994 which was the culmination of 5 straight CAA regular season titles, I had hopes that JMU might be really good while I was there. After all they had legendary head coach Lefty Driesell at the helm. He had spoken to the freshman during orientation in 1996 and then promptly stepped down after our freshman year to go to Georgia St.. JMU won 16 games my freshman year, 11 my sophomore year, 16 my junior year and then had a great senior year with 20 wins. They didn't make the NCAA throughout until breaking a lengthy drought with an appearance last season where they picked up a play-in (1st round) win before losing to Indiana. What I want to see is JMU become the darling of the nation for three weekends in March/April. They don't have to win it all, but to emulate what fellow CAA members GMU and VCU have done would be nice (as long as they don't step on UNC like GMU did).
5) Witness the Washington
Bullets Wizards return to glory - The reason I'm a Detroit Pistons fan is because the Washington franchise was just too embarrassing when I was a youth. I like the direction they are finally heading in with youthful talent and hopefully they're getting good enough to woo a veteran superstar to get them over the hump. No I don't think LeBron is headed to D.C., but I just can't understand why people won't consider playing here now that Washington has a couple of pieces in place to win.
1) Go to the Winter Classic in 2015 - There is only one item on my Christmas list this year and it's to go to the spectacle that is the Winter Classic. With the Washington Capitals trending downward, next year could be a major crossroads for the franchise. Which leads me into the only bucket list item that matters for this category...
2) Witness a Stanley Cup for the Capitals franchise - I've been to regular season games, 1st round playoff games, 2nd round playoff games and even an Eastern Conference Final game back in 1998. I've sat through four overtime horror shows and screamed in excitement after a Game 7 OT game winner (thank you Joel Ward). The highs have been high and the lows have been soul crushing. I know I will literally weep like a baby if the Capitals ever hoist Lord Stanley's Cup.
3) Watch a Game 7 playoff game live when the Capitals win - I've never been to Game 7 in the playoffs and for good reason as a Capitals fan. It hasn't been pretty. One year I'll suck it up and go to try and break the trend, but the fan in me knows what will happen.
1) Play in the WSOP Main Event - $10,000 buy in with the longest odds of winning millions of dollars. I just want the chance.
2) Play in a $5,000 WPT Event - 1/2 the cost, much better odds of winning.
Obviously I better start making some more $$ if I want either of those to come true.
1) Hit a hole-in-one - It's every golfers dream and I got within 10 feet once when I used to play a bit more. Simple dream, difficult to achieve.
2) Watch the Masters in person - It's not spring until I start seeing commercials for the Masters on CBS. The best looking course in the world with the best players competing, what more could one ask for?
1) Watch the USA win the World Cup - I was fortunate to go to a World Cup match back in 1994 when Mexico and Norway played at RFK in D.C.. I love international soccer (really any international competition when the best are playing the best in any event) and just once the USA will make that magical run to shock the world.
1) Go to an Olympics: Summer or Winter or both - I love the Olympics for the same reason I love the World Cup. I'm a competition junkie. I took off of work during the 2nd week of the Winter Olympics once again to watch the Men's Hockey tournament in peace and quiet. It's what I do. The USA is due to host the Summer Olympics within the next 20 years and I'm in wherever they may be. Same goes for the Winter Olympics and especially the Men's Hockey....
2) Watch the USA men win Gold Medal in the Olympics - The one sporting event I wish I had been at live would easily have been the 'Miracle on Ice' in 1980. While the USA winning a gold medal won't reach the fervor that occurred in 1980, it'll still be fantastic.
1) Go to the Kentucky Derby - I have already asked my wife to book a trip to Kentucky for my 40th birthday which just happens to be the next time that the Derby falls on my birthday. Perfect. I'll see you there in 2018. I'll be betting on the 5 horse and the 10 horse.
I'm sure I'm missing stuff like going to the Big House to watch a Michigan game or tailgating before an Auburn v Alabama game in college football. I want to go to Dodger Stadium and sit in the 5th upper level or just sit with Vin Scully for nine innings. I'd love to meet a ton of people including Dean Smith even with his heartbreaking mental state right now. I'm sure my list could go on and on because outside of my personal favorite teams, I just love sports.
I know I'd love to sit in with Bill Belichick or any other NFL head coach for a week and see what exactly goes into game planning for a week. Obviously coaching a single MLB game would be ridiculous.
So many things to do so little time and money to do them.
I have knocked some items off the list:
1) Visit Fenway/Wrigley Field
2) Go to the College World Series (although going and seeing UNC win would be perfection)
3) Play basketball on a NBA court (sure I was 12, but I got to shake Charles Barkley's hand)
4) Visit Notre Dame
5) See the Oakland A's play in Oakland (I've also seen them play at Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago (both White Sox and Cubs) and Pittsburgh).
I would enjoy any feedback and any of my reader's bucket list items. Maybe it'll jog my ever crumbling mind on things I have forgotten.