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Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013
The coolest sporting events I've ever been toPosted Sunday, March 17, 2013, at 6:49 PM
As I was lucky enough to attend the WNBA Finals game last night, it got me thinking about the coolest sporting events I've been able to attend.
So ... here's a list of that*:
(*) To make this extra fun, I won't be fact checking anything. This will be based purely on memory. Enjoy the inaccuracies!
Picture the scene --
I surveyed the outfielders, shoved a
The strong wind was blowing
The Montague pitchers gets his sign,
My hips sway gently,
Pitch two. Another fastball. This, as my former teammates were wont to say, was a wheelhouse shot.
My legs drove. My hips spun. My bat cruised through the zone, making such perfect contact with the ball I barely felt it.
I took off towards first, hoping to leg out a double**.
(**) Factually correct.
The center fielder first charged, then turned and ran backwards in a dead sprint.
The ball continued to sail, as if carried by
As I rounded first, the ball cleared not one, but two fences in straightaway centerfield, the first for a home run, the second for glory.
Is this a totally self-serving story? Yes. But it is my list, and it was cool for me, so it makes the cut.
I didn't really know much about swimming prior to the season, but because I went to every home meet to cover the team for the college paper I worked for, I had a little invested in the team.
I went to the championship on Friday and Saturday, which seemed extremely long but, really, it was just building up the energy.
When the meet ended, the GVSU coach was thrown, fully clothed, into the pool, which meant not only would I be interviewing guys*** who were (1) in much better shape than me, (2) wearing only Speedos and (3) shameless, I would also now have to interview a coach who was the perfect mix of jubilant and soaking wet.
(***) They took second. Losers.
But it was really cool. The crowd was getting into. The swimmers rallied around the pool cheering on the last race. A bunch of people swam fast and stuff****. I was not sad to be missing the other available Saturday Night activities.
(****) I still know very little about swimming.
I have no way of knowing if this was an especially significant or eventful surfing event, because it's the only one I've ever been to. I do know the waves weren't particularly big (only like 5-8 feet), but that is beside the point.
Going to a surfing contest is awesome.
You just hang out on the beach all day. There's sun, girls in bikinis, bright colors, shiny things, girls in bikinis, impressive feats of athleticism, non-stop action and strategizing and girls in bikinis.
I bring the "girls in bikinis" thing up because the surf season in Hawaii is in the winter (late November-mid January). Being from the chilly Midwest, I'm not accustomed to seeing beach-going attire in the winter.
But besides that, the surfing is awesome.
If you've never been to a competition, here's how it works. Surfers paddle out four at a time and take turns catching waves. They float around surveying the ocean behind them and try to judge when a big wave will materialize.
Sometimes two of them try to get on the same wave, and there's a bunch of drama and yelling. Usually it's remarkable organized. When someone gets done riding a wave, they are judged. Regardless of how many turns they get, only the top three scores count*****. They group of four goes for 20 minutes, then a buzzer sounds and the next group, already wading around, starts up.
(*****) possibly one of those "inaccuracy" things that I'm not looking up.
Top scores and things advance. But the event doesn't matter as much as the atmosphere. Hanging out on a beach all day is awesome.
The quality of the game was high, but insignificant for my "cool" criteria.
The crowd was unbelievable. Extremely loud, on top of the action throughout. Their energy never dipped.
Plus the magnitude of the game adds to the coolness factor. Any championship game is great, doesn't matter the sport. I really like basketball, but watching athletes compete to be the greatest at whatever their thing is ... that's the tops.
3. Tigers beat Yankees in Game 4 at Comerica Park, 2006
My buddies and I got tickets to the Michigan football game on Saturday, so we drove over to Detroit the night before. Somehow we got tickets the Tigers game Saturday night, so to celebrate we went across the boarder to Windsor. The plan had been to go to Michigan in the afternoon, then head to the Tigers game. Instead we sold our football tickets to drunken Canucks and bought giant cigars that we pretended were from Cuba.
The game itself was awesome. Our seats were terrible, but it didn't matter. Having followed the Tigers my whole life, the 2006 season was unbelievable.
Three years earlier they were the worst team in history, now they were on the cusp of beating the Yankees and making the ALCS.
The game was awesome, the Tigers blew out the Yankees (as they always do) and I was overcome with emotion. The players stayed on the field after the game, shaking hands with fans who stayed at their seats and cheered for an hour after the final pitch. That was sweet.
I'm not really sure how I knew this was coming up, or how I happened to get tickets, but when my buddy Luke called me and asked me if I wanted to go, I of course said yes.
The 1,200 or so fans in attendance will never forget the game.
(******) possibly not correct
Bouchard had hands as soft, and coordination as ... cooridinated, as any hockey player to ever live. He was also super slow and thus relegated to being a career minor leaguer.
But when he scored that goal late in the first period*******, the crowd erupted. It wasn't the loudest crowd I've ever heard, and it wasn't the most knowledgeable. But the game was stopped for several minutes and Bouchard was king.
(*******) possibly not correct
This is No. 1 based purely on the exclusivity. How many people can say they were at the game Bouchard set the record? Not many. Plus that thing was extremely significant (to minor league hockey fans).
Not a bad way to spend a Thursday night.
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