Some Sports Opinions

Must see sporting events that all true sports fans should try to attend at least once in their lifetime. Unless otherwise specified each event listed occurs annually.

Breeders' Cup - Usually early November, different venues
This was the single biggest day in Horse Racing. The Kentucky Derby may have more history, and build up, but the Breeders' Cup World Championships, which first ran in 1984, are the season ending Super Bowl of horse racing.  Until the format changed for 2007 it was 8 races in one day, with purses ranging from $2 million to $5 million, showcasing the thoroughbred seasons All-Stars. If you like to bet the ponies it doesn't get any better then the Breeders' Cup.

British Open at St. Andrews - July, every 4 to 5 years, St. Andrews, Scotland
Although attending the Open Championship at any of its many magnificent old style courses would be a treat for any golf fan the ultimate Open Championship, the world's oldest golf championship, to attend would be to be one held at the home of golf, the old course at St. Andrews.

Calgary Stampede - 2nd week of July, Calgary, Alberta
The oldest and most famous rodeo in the world. First held in 1912, the Calgary Stampede continues to remain true to its roots by entertaining and reminding people of the way it used to be in the Wild West. From the Stampede opening Parade to the Chuckwagon Races to the Bull Riding, the entire City of Calgary warmly opens its arms to friends and visitors alike. The Stampede is a whirlwind 10-day bucking bronco ride that you'll never forget.

FIFA World Cup - Every 4 years in early summer, roving countries
The FIFA World Cup is to Europeans what the Super Bowl or the NCAA Final Four is to American's. No other event is as much a source of passion, and bragging rights, as this is to those dedicated fans that live across the pond. While hockey may unite and stir the passions of Canadians, and basketball, baseball or football that of the citizens of the USA, soccer, as we know it to be called, is THE game pretty much everywhere else.

Indianapolis 500 - Memorial Day Weekend, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indiana
They bill it as "Home to the Greatest Spectacle in Racing" and they've been running the spectacle since 1911. Although it has lost some of its luster since the split in open wheel racing in 1996, there is still nothing quite like attending an Indy 500. If you've never been there's simply no way to adequately describe your first experience. The facility itself is simply massive, originally built on over 300 acres, and can supposedly hold in excess of 400,000 people on race day. And at the start of the race you can barely hear the 33-car field over the roar of the crowd. If you only ever go to one race in North America, this is it.

Kentucky Derby - First Saturday in May, Churchill Downs, Lexington, Kentucky
The first race of thoroughbred's Triple Crown, sometimes referred to as "the most exciting two minutes in sports" for how long it normally takes to run the mile and a quarter distance, is to horse racing what the Indy 500 is to auto racing. The "Run for the Roses" first took place in 1875 in front of an estimated 10,000 people and was won by a colt named Aristides with African-American jockey Oliver Lewis aboard. Derby traditions include a drink known as a Mint Julep, an iced concoction with bourbon, mint and sugar, and women wearing outlandish hats. In fact, even if you're not an equine fan it's worth a visit to Churchill for the parade of hats alone!

Monaco Grand Prix - Usually the last weekend in May, Monaco, Monte Carlo
As far as Formula One racing goes this is the worst track to go to if you want to try to take in some good racing. But racing is rarely what Monaco is about anymore. What it is about is the people, gambling, scenic beauty, and history. The race is just an excuse for the wealthy of the world to get together, show off their toys, and be seen.

NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - March-April, variety of locations & host cities
College basketball's showcase season ending tournament, commonly referred to as "March Madness" has morphed into one of America's biggest annual sporting events. The inaugural 8 team tournament, won by Oregon in 1939, has grown into a 20 day, 65 team, single elimination tournament that defies logic for the passion it invokes among its fans. If you want to see an event that has teenagers, their parents, and their grand parents, all acting like lunatic children, then this is it. A side note to the event is that the term "March Madness" hasn't always been part of the lexicon of the NCAA event. It was coined, ironically enough in 1939, by the Illinois High School Association for its annual tournament; a tournament that still takes place to this day. It wasn't until 1982, when Brent Musburger of CBS used the term during a broadcast, that it became associated with the college tournament. Today the NCAA and ISHA both own the rights to the name.

Olympic Games
(Every 2 years alternating between the Summer and Winter Games. Host Countries vary.)
They may be over-hyped and over-priced but the Olympics are still an event worth attending at least once in your lifetime. The biggest question to answer is which to attend, the Summer Games or the Winter Games? That's a personal choice but either will do as, if you look outside the sponsors and media hype, the spirit of competition really comes through as so many athletes are just happy to be competing on a world stage. An added bonus is that the Host Cities usually pull out every stop to showcase themselves.

Red Sox Game - Anytime during the baseball season, Boston, Massachusetts
Fenway Park, with its famous left field wall, the Green Monster, is one of the true icons remaining in baseball. Along with Yankee Stadium, and perhaps Wrigley Field, this is one of the few stadiums that's worth visiting regardless of who's playing. But if you can get there when the Yankees are in town, then you're in for a real treat, because you haven't been to a baseball game unless you've seen a Yankees-Red Sox game in either of the team's parks.

Running of the Bulls - July 7th to July 14th annually, Pamplona, Spain
Originally conceived over 500 years ago, to supposedly get bulls to market, and made famous by Ernest Hemingway in his novel "The Sun Also Rises", the running of the bulls now kicks off Pamplona's 9 day "San Fermin" festival. Although perhaps not a sporting event in the true nature of competition between athletes or teams, there is no doubt that this is a sporting venture and can thrill, not to mention maim or kill, participants, fans, and animals alike. This is not for the weak of heart and we strongly recommend that our members do not participate.

Super Bowl - The first Sunday in February, roving venues
Although much over-hyped and usually a bore or blowout on the field, the Super Bowl is still the one football game that every fan should try to attend at least once. This is more then just a game as the week long pre-game festivities are usually something to behold as the entire host city polishes itself up and throws lavish parties in order to promote itself for potential future visitors. Unfortunately the best way to watch the game is on TV because those in attendance don't get to see all the new commercials that companies premier during Super Bowl coverage.

The Masters - Spring, Augusta, Georgia
Golf's first major every year that, unfortunately, forces its winner to don an ugly green jacket and pick a champions dinner menu before defending the title the following year. If you can't make it across the pond to see a British Open then attending a Masters may be the next best golf tournament to take in as there's just something about Augusta National in the spring that brings out the best in both the azaleas and the golfers.

World Junior Hockey Championships - Late December, host countries vary
The Memorial Cup may be the best Junior hockey in Canada and the Frozen Four isn't a bad alternative in the USA, but once a year the best young players in the game spend their Christmas/New Year's break battling it our for junior hockey supremacy.

Yankees Game - Any time during the baseball season, Bronx, New York
It's New York, they are the Yankees, and it's Yankee Stadium, perhaps the most vaunted and famous stadium in baseball. You haven't been to a baseball game unless you've seen a Yankees-Red Sox game in one, or both, of the team's parks. However we reserve the right to change our opinion once the new Yankee Stadium opens for the 2009 season.


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