Advertisement
Share

Sports bucket list: Places to go, events to witness, things to do (interactive feature)

With <a href='http://www.twitter.com/chitribgraphics'>@ChiTribGraphics</a>

For many sports fans, nestling into their seats at an arena to root for their team is a comfort zone, an athletics tradition. But for others, spectatorship is a quest. Some fans are on a mission to visit every MLB stadium or every sports hall of fame. Others have sports bucket lists that are a mix of hallowed venues to travel to or legendary events to witness.

What follows are our bucket lists, divided into three sections: places to see, events to attend and events in which you can participate.

Joe Louis Arena, home ice for the Detroit Red Wings

(Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune)

PLACES TO SEE

Joe Louis Arena

It's old, it's run-down, it smells of stale beer -- and it's a terrific place to watch a hockey game. History (and sometimes unknown substances) oozes from the rafters, but Detroit is an essential stop for hockey fans. It's scheduled to be demolished in 2017, so what are you waiting for?

Hinkle Fieldhouse at Butler University in Indianapolis

(Michael Conroy, AP)

PLACES TO SEE

Hinkle Fieldhouse

You might find yourself scanning the crowd for Jimmy Chitwood or hoping points are scored on a peach basket. The renovated Indianapolis gem now has modern amenities to match its priceless sightlines.

The Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta National in Augusta, Ga.

(Jeff Siner, MCT)

PLACES TO SEE

Augusta National

Good luck finding a cigarette butt, napkin or weed on its immaculate grounds. And if you're lucky enough to attend the Masters, you'll be transported to an era when sandwiches cost $1.50 and smartphones did not exist.

AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas

(Ronald Martinez, Getty)

PLACES TO SEE

AT&T Stadium

Everything has to be bigger in Texas. So "Jerry World" went ahead and featured the biggest high-definition TV (72 feet high, 160 feet wide) known to humankind. That in itself is worth seeing up close. Yet that's only the tip of the iceberg in the $1.2 billion palace built by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

"The Big House" at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

(Leon Halip, Getty)

PLACES TO SEE

The Big House (Michigan Stadium)

If you're a college football fan, the biggest stadium in the U.S. (and second-biggest in the world) must be on your list. Being surrounded by 100,000-plus fans decked out in maize and blue cheering on their team is unforgettable — especially if Ohio State is in town.

An NCAA Tournament game at Madison Square Garden in New York

(Michael Helman, Getty)

PLACES TO SEE

Madison Square Garden

The "world's most famous arena" is home to Knicks basketball and Rangers hockey but also has hosted Democratic and Republican conventions, the pope, monster trucks, bull riding, show jumping and Wrestlemania. Michael Jordan dropped 55 there, Reggie Miller scored eight points in nine seconds and Wayne Gretzky played his last game there.

Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, N.Y.

(Brent Frazee, MCT)

PLACES TO SEE

Herb Brooks Arena

Arguably the greatest moment in U.S. Olympic history took place on a sheet of ice in Lake Placid, N.Y., where a ragtag group of Americans stunned the world and captured the gold medal in 1980. The arena, named for legendary U.S. coach Herb Brooks, is a shrine for hockey fans.

University of Notre Dame Stadium near South Bend, Ind.

(Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune

PLACES TO SEE

Notre Dame Stadium

In the movie "Rudy,'' actor Ned Beatty — in the role of Dan "Rudy" Ruettiger's father — gets off the bus from Joliet, takes one look at the University of Notre Dame Stadium and declares: "This is the most beautiful sight these eyes have ever seen.'' For many, it's a pilgrimage to a place honoring a sport sacred to Domers, more than just a place where the Fighting Irish play football. An expansion in 1997 increased capacity to 80,795 for fans who spend four hours caught up in the moment without forgetting the past.

St. Andrews Links in Scotland

(Ellen Creager, Detroit Free Press)

PLACES TO SEE

St. Andrews Links

Nowhere else does a course mesh so perfectly with its surroundings, a centuries-old town with character and characters. And where else can you play a hole that requires a drive over a hotel to a green protected by a road?

Bell Centre, home of the Montreal Canadiens, in Montreal, Quebec

(Minas Panagiotakis, Getty)

PLACES TO SEE

Bell Centre

The home of the Montreal Canadiens represents what hockey is all about. Hanging from the rafters are 18 banners honoring some of the greatest players to don a sweater. In the stands are some of the most passionate and knowledgeable fans in the NHL. An Original Six matchup at the arena is memorable.

Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan.

(Jamie Squire, Getty)

PLACES TO SEE

Allen Fieldhouse

Fans make the basketball venue, and the ones who come here know the difference between pressing and trapping. That only seems right, considering Kansas legend "Phog" Allen learned the game from James Naismith, who invented it.

Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore.

(Jonathan Ferrey, Getty)

PLACES TO SEE

Autzen Stadium

Some Oregon students stretch their education an extra semester to get in an extra football season. Capacity is a mere 60,000, making seats at the rowdy, sunken, compact stadium all the more special.

The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

(Jose M. Osorio, Chicago Tribune)

PLACES TO SEE

Cooperstown, Baseball Hall of Fame

The celebration of baseball in a small-town setting is a perfect way to honor the game's immortals. The Hall of Fame has many interesting exhibits, and Main Street is full of souvenir shops to browse in.

Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, N.Y.

(Jim McIsaac, Getty)

PLACES TO SEE

Yankee Stadium

It's impossible not to have larger-than-life expectations when thinking about a visit to Yankee Stadium. It's big, it's rowdy, it's expensive. The old stadium was replaced in 2009, but the new one still houses the club's formidable history at places like Monument Park, Babe Ruth Plaza and the museum within the stadium. And it's easy to get caught up in the tradition, starting with the Bleacher Creatures' famous roll call and ending with Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York."

Camping outside Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke University in Durham, N.C.

(Sara Davis, AP)

PLACES TO SEE

Cameron Indoor Stadium

In the age of gleaming expansive college arenas sponsored by corporations, watching a Duke game, particularly from the student section, is packed, loud, sweaty and nostalgic. Kind of like a freshman dorm party — but fun. While everyone claims home-court advantage, any opponent at Cameron will attest that there's nowhere like it.

Fenway Park in Boston

(Ezra Shaw, Getty)

PLACES TO SEE

Fenway Park

The dream destination for many a baseball fanatic is Major League Baseball's oldest and perhaps most revered park, opened in 1912, two years before Wrigley Field. The 37-foot-tall Green Monster ranks as one of the most iconic sights in baseball, and the seats on top are unique. The history here runs deep — from Ted Williams' lone red seat to Pesky's Pole to the manual scoreboard at the bottom of the monster — and the engaging atmosphere is difficult to rival.

The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

(Matt Sayles, AP)

PLACES TO SEE

The Rose Bowl

The magical setting with the backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains remains special, especially for sun-deprived Midwesterners.

The Olympic stadium in Berlin

(Luca Bruno, AP)

PLACES TO SEE

Berlin 1936 Olympic Stadium

Memories of how black track star Jesse Owens' achievements defied Hitler's perverse ideas about Aryan superiority are lined against the stadium's austere, intimidating granite facade, a chilling manifestation of Nazi monumentalism.

Tiger Stadium in Baton Rough, La.

(Stacy Revere, Getty)

PLACES TO SEE

Tiger Stadium (LSU)

Bring your Cajun-to-English dictionary and your appetite for shrimp, gator and gumbo, then carve out at least six hours in your itinerary for tailgating. At kickoff, feel the way Death Valley shakes with its unique college football passion. The noise and electricity — especially for night games — feels almost fictional.

A fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nev.

(Ethan Miller, Getty)

PLACES TO SEE

Las Vegas for a boxing match

Floyd Mayweather fights are predictable. Everything else is a wild card in a sport of thieves and thugs. So place your bet, look for the beautiful people and hope for a 12-round slugfest.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway

(Donald Miralle, Getty)

EVENTS TO WITNESS

Indianapolis 500

The Brickyard. Gasoline Alley. The traditional chug of milk for the winner. The glory days of A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears are long gone, but it's still called "the greatest spectacle in racing" for a reason. With a crowd of 300,000 watching open-wheel cars race at 200 mph, what's not to like?

The NHL Winter Classic in Buffalo, N.Y.

(Dave Sanford, Getty)

EVENTS TO WITNESS

A Winter Classic

Whether it's snow, cold, rain or glare from the sun, players love to get back to their roots of playing outside on frozen lakes and ponds. Throw in massive crowds at football and baseball stadiums, and it remains a special experience for players and fans.

British Open at the Turnberry in Scotland

(Peter Morrison, AP)

EVENTS TO WITNESS

British Open at Turnberry

Spectators call it the "Pebble Beach" of the Open Championship rotation, a majestic layout on the western edge of Scotland's rugged Ayshire Coast. And what views of the Turnberry Point Lighthouse.

Germany celebrates its World Cup victory in 2014.

(Juan Mabromata, Getty)

EVENTS TO WITNESS

World Cup

The emotional swings and breath-holding leave spectators on the verge of collapse. Because soccer is the world's most popular sport and this occurs once every four years, the World Cup is epic.

An Iron Bowl matchup at Auburn University in Auburn, Ala.

(Kevin C. Cox, Getty)

EVENTS TO WITNESS

The Iron Bowl

The game that divides Alabama families now affects the national title race almost every year. And who can forget Chris Davis' 109-yard runback in 2013 that prompted this call: "OH, MY GOD! AUBURN'S GONNA WIN THE FOOTBALL GAME!"

Chelsea vs. Manchester United in England

(Adrian Dennis, Getty)

EVENTS TO WITNESS

English Premier League game

Any game in the world's most entertaining soccer league with some of the world's best sports fans would suffice. But if we need to be choosy, we'd pick one of the greatest rivalries: Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur or Manchester City vs Manchester United.

The Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

(Jay Fuller, MCT)

EVENTS TO WITNESS

The Kentucky Derby

All of America is on display here, from the upper-crust-types in fancy hats to moonshine-swillers in the infield. If you go, get ready for mint juleps (awful) and "My Old Kentucky Home" (touching). Anywhere else you'd rather be the first Saturday of May?

The Epsom Derby at Epsom Downs near Epsom, England

(Adrian Dennis, Getty)

EVENTS TO WITNESS

The Epsom Derby

Self-described as the greatest flat horse race in the world, the 235-year-old event is not only Britain's preeminent horse race but also a chance for the British elite to indulge their fashion whimsies.

The Yale vs. Harvard race on the Thames River in New London, Conn.

(Jessica Hill, AP)

EVENTS TO WITNESS

The Yale-Harvard boat race

The 4-mile race for eight-oared men's crews on the Thames River in New London, Conn., is the oldest U.S. intercollegiate sporting event, having begun in 1852.

2014 Sochi Olympics gold medalist Adelina Sotnikova of Russia

(Barbara Walton, EPA)

EVENTS TO WITNESS

Women's Olympic Figure Skating free skate

Athletic brilliance, frequent soap-opera scenarios, power and passion are packed into four minutes of jumping, spinning, gliding, posing and hamming it up with the sport's biggest prize at stake.

2012 Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt of Jamaica

(Francisio Leong, Getty)

EVENTS TO WITNESS

Olympic men's 100-meter final

The final minutes of high-tension anticipation before a race that now lasts less than 10 seconds are as exciting as anything in sports.

Duke University celebrates its 2015 Final Four championship.

(Streeter Lecka, Getty)

EVENTS TO WITNESS

Final Four

It's a duel between two gladiators who have slain the rest of the battlefield. There are almost always surprises and rarely a disappointment in the drama of the championship. As exhausted victors watch "One Shining Moment" in a sea of confetti, the validation of victory soaks in.

The All England Tennis Club

(Adrian Dennis, Getty)

EVENTS TO WITNESS

Wimbledon

Grass. Players dressed in whites only. The joy of watching unknowns play on an outside court in an early round. A tradition and atmosphere that have survived the gross commercialization of sports.

Jordan Speith dons the Green Jacket.

(Don Emmert, Getty)

EVENTS TO WITNESS

The Masters Tournament

Everyone feels privileged to attend, especially the players vying for the green jacket and lifetime spot at the Champions Dinner. Even those who bristle at all the rules — no running, no lying down, no cellphones, etc. — can agree this is the world's best-run dictatorship.

Barcelona vs. Real Madrid

(Andreu Dalmau, EPA)

EVENTS TO WITNESS

Barcelona vs. Madrid soccer match

The rivalry between Spain's two traditional powers is more than just sports: It is Catalonia versus Castille.

L'Alpe d'Huez

(Bryn Lennon, Getty)

EVENTS TO WITNESS

Tour de France stage finishing at L'Alpe d'Huez

The 21 switchbacks in the final 8.6 miles of steep climbing toward the ski station on top, which became the first mountaintop finish at the Tour de France in 1952, present the most dramatic vista in cycling and draw huge, wild crowds that often camp for days to secure a spot alongside the road.

The Highland Games

(Jeff J Mitchell, Getty)

EVENTS TO WITNESS

Highland Games

A Scots festival, including events like the caber, which involves tossing a 10-foot, 175-pound log, that is said to have influenced Baron de Coubertin's ideas of reviving the Olympics under the ancient model as a combination of sport and culture.

Tom Brady after the New England Patriots Super Bowl win

(Tannen Maury, EPA)

EVENTS TO WITNESS

Super Bowl

It's the grandest spectacle in all of sports. Bottom line. And whether you're a wide-eyed fan attracted to all the splendor or a sports purist who greets the overwhelming pomp with an eye roll — from the silliness of media day to all the celebrity parties all the way down to the massively overdone trophy presentation — it's still the Super Bowl. And the game itself is often a thriller.

The San Francisco Giants' recent championship

(Jamie Squire, Getty)

EVENTS TO WITNESS

World Series

While the Super Bowl turned into a corporate event decades ago, the World Series keeps the focus on the game itself. The hometown city is abuzz on game day, and the suspense builds every day until the deciding game.

Bears fan at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.

(Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune)

EVENTS TO WITNESS

Bears vs. Packers at Lambeau

The NFL's oldest rivalry in the league's most charming venue. It doesn't get much better. Smell the charcoal in the parking lot. Feel the history in the stadium. Live the experience. Sure, the Bears have won there only once since 2007, but it's the ambiance that makes this a must-do.

Cyclists during the ride

(Joel Saget, Getty)

EVENTS TO PARTICIPATE

L'Etape du Tour

Established in 1993 to allow amateur cyclists to test their legs on the route of one of the mountain stages in the Tour de France, it has become the reference race for amateur riders from all over the world.

Runners at the top

(Mario Tama, Getty)

EVENTS TO PARTICIPATE

Empire State Building Run-Up

It's the world's oldest (39th running is Feb. 3) and most famous tower race: a climb of 86 flights or 1,576 stairs to reach the terrific view, once you catch your breath.

The Arctic Open

(Auounn Nielsson)

EVENTS TO PARTICIPATE

The Arctic Open

The Arctic Open bills itself as "a true golfing adventure under the midnight sun," so this would be the best chance to make use of a 10:30 p.m. tee time. Who wouldn't want to soak in the natural, mountainous beauty and knock a continent off your checklist while competing with fellow golf nuts?

The beginning of the New York City Marathon on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

(Henny Ray Abrams, AP)

EVENTS TO PARTICIPATE

New York City Marathon

There's no better way to be a tourist than running 26.2 miles over grand suspension bridges and through all five boroughs. Even if you're running a five-hour marathon, the crowd makes you feel you're in the lead from the start on the Verrazano Bridge through diverse vibrant neighborhoods to the Central Park finish.

Skiers racing to the American Birkebeiner finish line

(Brett Morgan)

EVENTS TO PARTICIPATE

American Birkebeiner

Named for the Norwegian event, this February cross-country ski race from Cable to Hayward, Wis., is the largest (more than 10,000 skiers) and longest (54 kilometers) in North America.

Texas Christian University fans storming the field

(Tom Pennington, Getty)

EVENTS TO PARTICIPATE

Storming the court/field

As seconds tick off the clock and a massive upset is in the works, it's like waiting for an avalanche. Fans telepathically seem to come to agreement that, yes, this moment is apropos for jumping seats, dodging ushers and trying to get as close to the middle of action to celebrate. But, all means, please be careful.

The World Series of Poker

(John Locher, AP})

EVENTS TO PARTICIPATE

World Series of Poker, Main Event

Our interest has faded since the Chris Moneymaker/Jamie Gold days but still: There is no more democratic and potentially thrilling way to become a multimillionaire. And how would we handle getting re-raised while holding pocket jacks?

Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain

(Andres Kudacki, AP)

EVENTS TO PARTICIPATE

Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain.

Religious ceremony moments before ... sound of rockets exploding ... clop-clop of hoofs on stone streets ... six very menacing bulls sweeping around a corner, very fast ... calls of the runners in frenzy. A quarter-century later, it still quickens the pulse.

Ironman World Championship

(Marco Garcia, Getty)

EVENTS TO PARTICIPATE

Hawaii's Ironman triathlon

From its inception in 1978, combining the islands' three toughest endurance events, it has become an ultimate challenge for elite and recreational athletes, with 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of cycling and a marathon (26.2-mile) run.

St. Andrews Links in Scotland

(Ellen Creager, MCT)

EVENTS TO PARTICIPATE

Round at St. Andrews Links (public course)

No golfing resume is complete without a waving photo from the Swilcan Bridge on the 18th hole at St. Andrews. Every legend has walked this bumpy terrain and hit knockdown irons to counter the fickle Scottish winds. And you must test your power fade on the Road Hole tee.

Contributing: Tim Bannon, Joel Boyd, Rich Campbell, Liz Fitzgerald, Teddy Greenstein, Ted Gregory, Mark Gonzales, David Haugh, Philip Hersh, Colleen Kane, Chris Kuc, Brad Nolan, Shannon Ryan, Mike Sansone, Paul Skrbina, Rich Strom, Paul Sullivan and Dan Wiederer.

What's on your bucket list? Email us at sports@tribune.com.

Sources: Tribune reporting, Google Maps

@ChiTribGraphics


Advertisement