Serious Sports Fan Bucket List: 8 Non-Games to Attend
Everyone has their sports fan bucket list that consists of going to the Kentucky Derby, a Super Bowl and the Indianapolis 500, so I thought I’d look at some other events everyone should also go see. But these are for the serious sports fans.
These are events that don’t tally a win or a loss in the standings and they aren’t as expensive to go to as sporting events that really count.
Many of these events I’ve attended in the past, and some are still left unchecked on my own bucket list. Also on my bucket list — getting a bigger bucket.
8 Non-Games Serious Sports Fans Should Attend Once
Some of these are yearly events, some are in the same place every time, some are easy to get to and some are going to take some work.
1. MLB Home Run Derby
While the event has certainly turned into a major circus, the new format definitely allows for some great drama — or at least it did this past July, when Todd Frazier won the crown in his ballpark in Cincinnati.
I went to this during the day back in 1990 at Wrigley Field, when Ryne Sandberg won it. But the most amazing part of it (again, this was before it became the spectacle it is today), was Bill Murray was the surprise emcee of the whole thing. I would like to nominate him to replace Chris Berman from now on.
2. NBA Slam Dunk Competition
While this is the opposite of the Home Run Derby, in that it has become less exciting over the years, it’s still something that should be enjoyed at least once. The 3-point contest happens in the same night, and both together, combined with some of the other new features (skills competition and the event with the HOFer and WNBA player) make this a great ticket to get.
We’ll never see Michael Jordan taking off from the free-throw line again, but at least we also won’t see Cedric Ceballos dunking with a fake blindfold either.
3. NFL Draft
I won’t be putting Pro Bowl on this list, don’t worry, and for the record, I’d prefer to go see the NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall, where the good lord intended it to happen. But if you live in the Midwest, you can check the 2016 NFL Draft out in Chicago again.
This draft is why all other drafts are even televised. You’ll go and cheer for your team’s pick (unless your a Jets fan), and you’ll forever be tied to that player, remarking how you were at the draft when [player] walked up to the podium and became a [your team].
If you’re lucky, you’ll forever be tied to someone like Andrew Luck or Julio Jones. If you’re unlucky, you’ll be forever tied to … Darrius Heyward-Bey. Either way, you’ve got stories!
4. NFL Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Ideally, 15 years after you attend an NFL Draft, you’ll be able to go to Canton, Ohio, to check out the NFL Hall of Fame induction of the player you watched get drafted.
Then you’ll cry yourself to sleep wondering what happened to the past 15 years ...
Bring one of those spritz bottles with fans — it always looks so hot in the stands at those induction ceremonies.
5. ESPN College Football Awards Show
Spend the week at Disney (you’ll bump into a bunch of the players, too) and then catch the ESPN College Football Awards Show.
I’ve actually gone to several of these, including the one in 1998, when Peyton Manning won some awards, and Charles Woodson walked up to accept the Chuck Bednarik Award for the defensive collegiate player of the year — like five seconds before they announced he had won it. He was that much of a cocky douche.
6. Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics
Obviously, since you’re at the Olympics already, you’ll catch some events later in the week, but the opening ceremonies are a spectacle every time.
It seems like we always remember where we were when amazing opening ceremonies happen, like for the Beijing Olympics or even the ones in Sydney. Once every four years — if it comes close, you have to go check them out.
7. The Masters Practice Rounds
Getting tickets to the practice rounds is nearly as tough as winning the lottery for the regular rounds during the Masters. But these are much more low key, and if you can squeeze in watching the Wednesday Par-3 Tournament, where the players bring their families out to play, then all the better.
8. NHL All-Star Skills Competition
The NHL is so underrated. It really is. From the nice-guy superstars to the unreal skills competition that is by far the most impressive of all the contests held among the four major sports.
Are there some great non-games we should attend that I missed? What’s on your sports bucket list?
Photo Credit: Franck Fife, Getty Images
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