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