The concept of the bucket list is not a new one, though it seems to have gained some steam lately. Thank you Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. Deriving from the Old English phrase “kick the bucket”, this is a list of everything you want to do before you die. The idea is a nice one, but I am only in my 20s, and I have no idea all the things I will want to do before I die. The world changes way too much, way too fast. But sports, they never change. I’ve always had a hypothetical “sports bucket list,” but I never took the time to put these down on paper, err, screen. So, just for all of you, here is my bucket list for sports. I have tried to make it personal and not include obvious events such as the Super Bowl or World Series.
1. NBA Draft – This is without a doubt my favorite event of the year. It is an evening full of ridiculously dressed 19-22 year olds having their dreams come true, as college basketball players are chosen one by one–a glitzier version of picking teams at the playground–to become pros. It is the most hopeful time for every team, as maybe, just maybe, that top 5 pick is going to propel the team to the playoffs. But mostly it’s just a walking joke. The NBA commissioner gets booed as if he were a dictator about to face revolt (LINK), and the announcers for the event throw increasingly ridiculous descriptions of players out there, such as saying a guy has “extraterrestrial athleticism.” I hope when I am up for a job, someone says I have extraterrestrial organization. Plus this:
2. Summer League Week – This is kind of a double feature. Every year, for a week in July, the NBA holds its summer league – a chance for rookies to impress, young players to get better, and fringe players to audition for a job. The product isn’t always great, but the sheer desire from some of the players to make a name can be very inspiring. The real joy is what happens off the court. The audience is populated mostly by general managers, coaches and players. If you want to meet your favorite star, this might be the best place to do so, and with such little fan attendance, they might be a little more willing to chat. Oh yeah, and it’s in Vegas. You’re welcome.
3. Season tickets – A long time dream of mine has been to have season tickets to pretty much any sport. My preference would be basketball or hockey. With a potential move to Washington DC in my future, the Capitals sound a lot better than the lowly Wizards. I have a vision of my head of being a long-time season ticket holder and basically becoming the mayor of my section. I will welcome the new citizens, help control fan behavior, and most of all, start hilarious chants and dissuade people from doing the wave when the game is still on the line. I hate that.
4. Attenda Michigan/Ohio State Football Game – Preferably in the Big House (University of Michigan’s football stadium). Much of my family comes from Michigan, so I’ve always felt a secondary allegiance to this college football program (with my alma mater, the University of Oregon being first. Go Ducks!). Not much else to say about it. There are 120,000 people there with you, screaming their heads off for one of the best and oldest rivalries in sports.
5. Olympics – This is a no brainer. Pretty much the pinnacle of all sport right here. History shows that this event is important, not purely for sports, but for political reasons as well. Countries hosting the Olympics attempt to put on a show for the world, and to garner favor with its neighbors and the general public. There’s something about the atmosphere of the events as well. As my lady told me when we were discussing this list, “I would watch people push dirt around if it were an Olympic sport.” Now, the important question, summer Olympics or winter? I love basketball and track and field, but not much tops the biathlon. Survey says: Whichever is cheaper.
6. Chelsea Home game, or US vs. Mexico in Mexico City (Tie) – Spending my whole life in the US, I never gained a full appreciation for soccer. While in college I took a trip to Ghana, and as part of my internship there I was lucky enough to interview Michael Essien, the star of the country’s national team, and an integral part of English Premier League juggernaut Chelsea. The charity programs he runs, his easy going nature, and his grace on the field made me a big fan of his, and the game in general. The other option sounds amazing but may be one of the scariest atmospheres in sports. Everyone knows how out of control passionate soccer crowds can get. Plus, I would really like to avoid being hit by a bag of urine. So I think I will stick to Chelsea.
7. Playoff hockey – Simply put, the most intense, and fun live experience you can have in any sport. From the playoff beards the players grow, to the insane fans (ahem, I’m looking at you Vancouver), this is where it’s at for atmosphere. You never know what could happen. I’ve seen (on TV of course) six-overtime games that go until 3 a.m., and games where players can’t help but brawl every two minutes, and everything in between. Also, no sport features more postseason upsets, with number one teams routinely getting knocked out in the first few rounds.
8. Play golf at Augusta – A fantasy for any golf fan, this is the site of the Masters every year. The course recently stepped into the 20th century and opened its play to women. The place is hallowed in tradition, with memories of the greatest players of all time, cementing their legacy as legends. Oh, and there’s the ability to recreate an awesome Tiger Woods fist pump. BYAAAH! Man am I excited.
9. Throw an alley oop to Shawn Kemp – Those who know me, have heard this one a million times. I am a Seattle resident, and Shawn Kemp, a former SuperSonics great (Boo Oklahoma City), was known as the Reign Man, a king of the slam dunk. And also, owner of pretty much my favorite bar ever, Oskar’s Kitchen. We’ve all had interactions with him there, as he makes a point to come greet all the customers. If you don’t have a beverage with you he might even buy you a shot. As a long-time point guard myself, I’ve always wanted to play with a great dunker. Maybe, someday I will have this chance. Until then, another round!
10. Ride in a hydroplane – We’ve all seen these sound-barrier testing, wave-breaking planes on water before. They are fast, and dangerous, but they are SO FREAKIN’ FAST. And in the words of one of the most legendary NASCAR drivers ever, “I wanna go fast!”
So what makes up your sports bucket list?
Nat hopes to knock all these things out in the next year. Sounds reasonable right?