Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Debate

I realize that writing a book with the subtitle 10 Things All Sports Fans Should Do is both brash and somewhat egomaniacal and, like most things in sports these days, it invites debate. I doubt you could find two, nevermind 10, sports fans who'd come up with the exact same list. That makes sense because try as hard as I did to identify the events that transcended fandom, there was no way to get around the personal aspect of sports—you just care more about certain teams or events than others. That's why my list is filled with unimpeachable choices (the Super Bowl) and quirkier ones (Wrigley Field on an August afternoon). Here's the complete line-up:

The Super Bowl
The Daytona 500
The Final Four
The Masters
The Kentucky Derby
Wrigley Field
Ohio State v. Michigan
Lambeau Field in December
Opening Day at Fenway

A few obvious omissions will jump out: The World Series, the NBA, NHL. I'll admit they were strange to leave off, but I had my reasons. I find the NBA largely unwatchable. I like hockey, but there really is no event or match-up that captures the imagination, save a game seven in the playoffs, but those are hard to come by (especially since the NHL was on strike when I was on the road). The Series, like the NBA and NHL finals, is a seven-game playoff, which somehow dilutes it for me. It's also somehow more provincial, i.e. it only really matters to the very specific fans of the two teams involved. I know, you could say the same thing about the Cubs or the Packers or several other events on my list, but in my mind at least, there's a difference. I know this, in the end, I didn't feel like I missed anything.

In fact there were other events I considered that were harder to leave off. They included the Olympics, World Cup soccer, The Americas Cup and, believe it or not, the Bassmaster Classic. I had a deep curiosity about all of them, but in the end they couldn't work they're way into the top 10. They're now the first four events on my new list.

I'd love to hear what people think of my choices and invite anyone out there to send me his or her list. Maybe we'll make a little contest out of it. Free copy of the book for the whomever I think sends in the best, and most well-reasoned list. I look forward to reading them


Roy Zipstein said...

Oh boy, a 'Top Ten' list... it's a good one but being an International Man of Mystery myself I must throw in the Monte Carlo Grand Prix, the World Cup final (no matter what they try to make you believe it's watched by A LOT more people than the Superbowl), the Tour de France, a cricket match between India & Pakistan, a Rugby match between Australia & New Zealand and the list goes on and on... and what about the New York Marathon?

Mick said...

I am more in Jim's camp on this than I am the International Man of Mystery's, a cricket match, come on I heard they have a great "watching paint dry" contest in Florida that would be more interesting than cricket. I guess I'm a little fired up since March Madness is right around the corner. I am glad to see the final four on the list you can't go wrong with college hoops.Unlike the Super Bowl and others you get THREE games in 3 days with a day off in between.

Brian said...

Top Ten lists are always particularly relevent to the person who creates them. In the case of his upcoming "sports" book, I think Gorant hits most of them in their sweet spots. I would also include the NCAA Mens Lacross Championship, Any Notre Dame Home Game, and Yankee Stadium Opening Day (surprised a Jersey native didn't include this one).

Ripstein is definely off base with Cricket & the Tour de France. Not relative to a real sports fan unless you are willing to include bowling, darts, and curling.

kim said...

My husband is a PGA club pro, and I can tell you for that all the other teaching pros we know (and the kids coming up who want to be like them), the dream is not to play Augusta during The Masters. For some reason, they all want to play Pebble Beach instead.

Could have something to do with Pebble Beach being in California wine country, and Augusta being in Georgia, where the best thing you can find is pecan pie. Golfers do tend to like their liquor!

Brad said...

So, who's the screaming "fanatic" on the cover? Is he the actor that will be playing you in the movie? Does he have a mullet? Can I order that jersey in an XL?

tom said...

i would take any world series game...1-7 over one superbowl...i understand the spectale of the super bowl..but it's almost always a forgettable game....

Tony P said...

Great List. Much like every other top ten list, there will always be items that others feel should be on there, but that is what makes them great. Personally, I think rivalries are what make sporting events more intriguing. There for I would list the following as some great stops for your 2nd book:

Duke vs UNC
NY Islanders vs NY Rangers (In Long Island)
Yankees vs Redsox in Late September
Notre Dame vs Anyone in South Bend

Can't wait to read the book!

Denise said...

Sadly missing but perhaps a book all in itself would be your "Extreme Sports" category...I find these facinating, mostly because I am way too old to pull any of them off without serious injury. Ah, but to dream... We can only hope, Roy, that Pakistan and India choose cricket as a way to settle their differences but do I have to watch it? I also understand that books typically have deadlines and I just don't think the game would make the cut-off. I love the NY Marathon though...come to tears every year I attend.

CJ said...

Big JG--I think you pretty much nailed it. I was trying to think of better, but could only come up with comps of the similar events. Since I have only done (1) of the ten on your list, I’ll defer to your experience.

My only beef is why you would pick opening day of a perennial loser. Maybe rooting for the underdog was part of the Boston mystic, but after they won in 2005 they became just another also ran. One championship in 87-88 years and that's it. I'm with Brian on opening day at Yankee Stadium. They’ve got all the history and more plus the 26 world championships. Maybe you could shed some light on this particular selection. If not, I’ll just wait until the book comes out.

Essa said...

I would rather go to a Ranger - Islander game at the Garden in September than Lambau Field in December any day. I think your best bet is to get David Letterman to read your top 10 list and then you can forget about this blog stuff.