On Sunday afternoon I found myself glued to my television watching the Masters. Now, there was a time not too long ago when I wouldn't have been caught dead watching golf. I'm not white and I grew up in an area considered inner city. Golf and I were destined to never get along. My recent interest in golf probably stems, in part, from my internship last summer at a country club, but I also think that it's because I have matured as a sports fan. I can now appreciate what it takes to play certain sports and, the more I thought about it, the more I wished I was there, walking the course of Augusta National Golf Club, watching Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson battle their way up the leaderboard and Kenny Perry miss that putt on 18 by a hair, all but sealing Angel Cabrera's eventual playoff win. The course was beautiful and the excitement of the fans was palpable through my television set. Afterward, I sat down and began thinking about some of the great sports venues that, as a fan, I would love to visit, and here's what I came up with:
Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY - home of the 26-time World Series Champions. Even as the new stadium gets set to host its first game, nothing will ever beat the original. Just think about how many greats have occupied that clubhouse!
Runners-up: Fenway Park, Boston (just to sit atop the Green Monster and catch a home run), Wrigley Field, Chicago (first row of the bleachers so I can touch the ivy)
Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, NC for a Duke-UNC game - I HATE Duke basketball, but I can't think of a better place to be than in the student section, amongst the Cameron Crazies, as Coach K leads the Dukies in a close one over the Tar Heels
Runner-up: Allen Field House, University of Kansas (I would love to watch my favorite team play at home. ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK!)
World Cup Final between New Zealand and South Africa - if you know anything about rugby, you know that this is the ultimate match-up of traditional powerhouses. Plus, to see the haka performed live would be intense.
Runner-up: Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland (Ireland v. England in the final match, whoever wins takes the Six Nations crown)
Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI for the Ohio State-Michigan game - they don't call it "The Big House" for nothing. It's the 4th largest stadium in the world! This was probably the hardest decision to make, because I've spent the past 4 years of my life watching SEC football religiously and think the Big 10 is overrated, but this rivalry is too intense and the setting is too perfect. Plus, I love college football, so the list of stadiums I would like to visit is pretty long.
Runners-up: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH (see above), The Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA (for a USC-UCLA game when both schools are fielding equally matched teams), Beaver Stadium, State College, PA (the largest stadium in college football and third largest in the world, I just want to be there at the beginning of the game when the crowd chants WE ARE! PENN STATE!), whatever stadium they play the Red River Rivalry (University of Texas vs. University of Oklahoma) in because that would just be nuts
Tie between Madison Square Garden, NYC and the Staples Center, Los Angles - only if I could score seats next to Spike Lee or Jack Nicholson, respectively.
All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London - the site of Wimbledon, the oldest of the sport's four Majors, and the only one still played on grass.
Final match of the FIFA World Cup - there are no more vicious supporters in sports than soccer fans, especially when it comes to national teams. The feeling of being there, even if it wasn't to cheer on a favorite team of mine, would be too exhilarating to pass up.
Runner-up: UEFA Champions League Final (the best players in the world play for European club teams and, in theory, the two teams matched up here are the best on the continent), Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain (for Barcelona v. Real Madrid. Having been in this stadium before when it was totally empty, I can only imagine what it would be like full. The largest stadium in Europe with a capacity of 98,772.), Stamford Bridge, London (home of my favorite team, Chelsea FC)
Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI - the Frozen Tundra on a snowy Sunday afternoon in December is what football is all about. Also, if I could sit in the end zone and witness the Lambeau Leap first hand that would be bad ass!
Runner-up: Soldier Field, Chicago (DA BEARS!), the new Dallas Cowboys stadium (just to check out all the amenities that $1 billion can buy)
Finally, I also really want to go to the Olympics, both winter and summer. There are a lot of sports there that don't get much publicity otherwise, but these people are all competitors of the highest caliber. I would love the chance to spend the full two weeks there, from closing to opening ceremonies, watching everything from track and field to swimming, fencing, curling, biathlon, and gymnastics.