Fill in the Blank

April 16, 2017

Before I die, I want to __________.

I’m guessing that you have filled in that blank at least once, if not hundreds of times. This is a blank that I find myself filling in regularly, but it tends to quickly become an afterthought.

That said, I decided to write down the top 5 sporting events that I hope to attend and share them with you.

Sports Bucket List – Top 5:

1- The Open Championship at St. Andrews

The home of golf, the world’s best, and four days of potentially brutal weather? Sign me up! Purity in golf comes in several forms: The flush green and blooming azaleas of Augusta National and the windy links of The Old Course. I envision myself with a pint and some fish and chips in the 18th grandstand, while the players attempt to drive the 360-yard par 4, fighting to claim the Claret Jug.

2- Iron Bowl

Good vs. Evil (take your pick). Life vs. Death. War Eagle vs. Roll Tide. Auburn vs. Alabama. Along side Duke/Carolina, the Iron Bowl is the king of college sports rivalries. From Bear Bryant to Cam Newton, this annual November feud does not disappoint. My favorite memory watching the Iron Bowl took place on November 30, 2013. Known as the Kick Six, Chris Davis cemented his place in history with a walk-off missed field-goal return for a touchdown. I’m not asking for Kick Six 2.0, but I wouldn’t mind witnessing history.

3- Men’s 4x100m freestyle relay at the Summer Olympics

The name Jason Lezak may not mean much to you, but I’m guessing the name Michael Phelps rings a bell. Jason Lezak anchored the US team in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, in what many consider the greatest relay in the Olympic history. He closed a full body length gap on France’s Alain Bernard to give the Americans a .08 second victory. This also helped Phelps win an Olympic record, eight gold medals, in one Olympic games. After France regained the title at the 2012 London games, the US stole it back in Rio last year.

4- College Football National Championship

Growing up in the southeast taught me the importance of college sports. It is a part of the culture. Living on Tobacco Road elevated college basketball, specifically ACC basketball, above all else, but ACC football was second. Any time I walk outside in the fall and the leaves are changing (heck… just seeing a photo of autumn) I picture myself tailgating with a Bojangles’ chicken biscuit and famous sweat tea (those of you who don't know about Bojangles', you're missing out). The pinnacle of the college football season may not always reside in the southeast, but I hope to travel to Pasadena, Glendale, or elsewhere to experience a College Football National Championship.     

5- Wimbledon

I’m not sure class in sports is on a higher display than it is at The Championships, Wimbledon. Players are required to wear white and fans are expected to be on their best behavior as well. Sorry fellow millennials, no selfie sticks. Immaculate grass courts and the highest level of men’s and women’s tennis are on display every July. Maybe a trip to the UK is in order July of 2020 to catch Wimbledon and The Open at St. Andrews. Anyone interested?

Honorable Mention:

Kentucky Derby, Super Bowl, World Series game 7, Harvard vs. Yale football game, Rugby World Cup Finals (you will want to watch this video from 2011)

With the blank finally filled in, here are a few blanks I have been incredibly blessed to not only fill in, but put a check mark next to.

Completed Sports Bucket List – Top 5:

1- The Masters

2- The Ryder Cup

3- The World Cup

4- Men’s Basketball Final Four

5- Duke vs. Carolina at Cameron Indoor Stadium

Honorable Mention:

The Winter Olympics, ACC Football Championship, ACC Basketball Tournament, Orange Bowl, US Open (golf)

IM Indoor Volleyball Champions 

Not sure I can put this on my completed bucket list in good faith, but I was part of an intramural indoor volleyball championship team in college. That was one of my proudest moments as an “athlete.”

My charge to you: Put some of these on paper and start planning. Maybe you check off one item every five years, maybe every year. It’s up to you. Get creative in your planning. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

What’s on your sports bucket list? Comment below and tell me your Top 5.