With the official beginning of spring yesterday, complete with a Mariners victory, I got to thinking. About two things actually. One part of me wondered how I am going to do without baseball (or all the other major american sports to honest) for an entire year. I mean, a year of occasionally reading internet reports in the leftover internet cafe time we have will not satisfy my need for sports coverage. Argue if you want about the importance of such things, but they’re definitely a big part of my everyday routine. We have ESPN on as often as all our other TV channels combined. It’s ritualistic to watch football on fall Sundays, watch baseball late into the evening (Theresa likes it because it puts her to sleep), participate in the national phenomenon that is March Madness. Shoot, I’ve already missed that this year. I hate February solely because it is the single most boring sports month there is (it doesn’t help that it’s cold and miserable too). In fact, having not thought about it before, doing without my sports be one of the bigger changes I’ll have to deal with.
The other half of me started to think of ways to cope with this sports void. So I began thinking of all the sports and events I could attend while we were traveling. Here’s my top five:
1. Soccer match in South America. The bigger the better. Their reputation definitely puts my fanaticism to shame. Brazil – Argentina maybe? That might be a little too much. Anyway, I’m sure we’ll find plenty of opportunities to see teams the locals are nuts about, seeing how that’s just about everyone everywhere.
2. Winter League baseball in Venezuela. Hey, a man’s gonna get his baseball fix somewhere. And as a fan of minor league and college baseball, I love the purity of the sport when it’s not for the money but everyone is still ridiculously talented.
3. Cricket match in India. I gotta see what this sport is cracked up to be. I’ve never understood the thing, maybe because it’s like baseball but completely different with completely crazy names for everything. But over 250 million Indians can’t be wrong, can they? And I’m sure they’d say baseball is cricket’s messed up brother. I think I’ll try to attend a single day match, instead of one of these five day marathon test matches.
4. Rugby match in South Africa. Another sport in its homeland (though I’m sure my British and Australian friends would disagree). I wonder if Theresa will go to any of these at all with me? Maybe I’ll just make friends with the hooligans at the matches instead. I hear they’re great.
5. Elephant polo in Thailand/India. How could this not be totally awesome? My only concern, though, is how do you watch without the threat of trampling? As an interesting side note, in my research, I learned that DC has its own elephant polo team. Fascinated by the idea of many elephants stampeding across the National Mall hitting a small ball (and inquisitive about where they get said elephants … the zoo?), I went to sign up, only to be heartily disappointed upon reading this:
“At the very least, you must be able to travel as elephant polo is only played where elephants are to be found, i.e. Asia.”
Nuts! My hilarious visions thwarted! But, it does leave open the possibility of getting to play a game of elephant polo while we are on the road. And that is surely an opportunity I would have to take.
So sports fans, what sporting events have you guys seen and loved/loathed in other countries? Any recommendations of specific events coming up in 2008/2009? What would you imagine would be a great event to attend? Help a guy get his fix!