Monday, May 11, 2009

Top 100 Sporting Events

Habs Make The Cut

A friend of mine called my attention to a recently published book called The 100 Sporting Events You Must See Live: An Insider's Guide to Creating the Sports Experience of a Lifetime.

I would recommend you go and buy it, but then I don't think any of you guys want to trawl a list that includes nearly 25 college football and basketball games but allows only enough space for 4 hockey events. By and large it is an awfully US-centric view. And I bet many Americans could be turned off by the small town feel of it.

I am bringing your attention to it here, because: a) Hockey season is over and b) the Canadiens happen to make the cut. I have plenty else to say about, though...

I managed to get the whole list without buying the book through this Japanese website that promotes the book with the Table of Contents:

1 Masters
2 World Cup
3 Super Bowl
4 Summer Olympics
5 Army vs. Navy Football Game
6 New York City Marathon
7 World Series
8 Winter Olympics
9 Red Sox vs. Yankees at Yankee Stadium
10 UNC vs. Duke Basketball Game at Cameron Indoor Stadium
11 Wimblebon
12 Stanley Cup
13 Tour de France
14 Cubs Game at Wrigley Field
15 BCS National Championship Game in New Orleans
16 Liverpool vs. Manchester United at Old Trafford
17 Michigan vs. Ohio State at The Big House
18 NFL Conference Championships
19 Daytona 500
20 Final Four---NCAA Men's Basketball
21 Ryder Cup
22 Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Weekend
23 Harvard vs. Yale at Yale
24 Kentucky Derby
25 UEFA Champions League
26 Rose Bowl
27 British Open
28 Horse Racing at Saratoga
29 Late Season Green Bay Packers Game at Lambeau Field
30 Canadiens vs. Maple Leafs in Toronto
31 Indy 500
32 Professional Bull Riders World Finals
33 Dubai World Cup
34 Hong Kong Sevens
35 Monaco Grand Prix
36 Running of the Bulls
37 Rugby World Cup
38 Red River Shootout
39 Notre Dame Football Game
40 MLB All-Star Game
41 Iron Bowl at Alabama
42 Epsom Derby
43 Calgary Stampede
44 Koshien Baseball Tournament
45 Special Olympics
46 Soccer Game at Maracana Stadium in Rio
47 Texas Football Friday Night Lights in Odessa
48 U. S. Open Tennis Tournament
49 USC vs. UCLA Basketball Game at Pauley Pavillion
50 Le Mans 24
51 Ironman World Championship
52 Iowa vs. Iowa State Wrestling Meet at Iowa
53 Golden Gloves at Madison Square Garden
54 French Open
55 Baseball Game at Fenway Park
56 Belmont Stakes
57 Kangaroos Australian Football Game
58 Heavyweight Title Fight at Madison Square Garden
59 All Blacks Rugby Game
60 ACC Basketball Tournament
61 Caribbean World Series
62 FA Cup
63 Indiana High School Basketball Tournament Finals
64 U.S. Open Golf Tournament
65 Midnight Madness at University of Kentucky
66 Preakness Stakes
67 NFL Draft
68 National Finals Rodeo
69 Basketball Game at PHog Allen Fieldhouse
70 Basketball Game at Madison Square Garden
71 Prefontaine Classic
72 MLB Opening Day in Cincinnati
73 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest
74 Iditarod
75 Little 500
76 Basketball game at Rucker Park, Harlem, NY
77 Boston Marathon
78 Cowboys Monday Night Football Game in Dallas
79 Head of the Charles Regatta
80 Florida vs. Georgia Football Game
81 Lady Vols Basketball Game
82 NBA All-Star Game
83 Pipeline Surfing
84 Australian Open Tennis Tournament
85 Baseball Game at Rickwood Field in Alabama
86 Harlem Globetrotters Performance
87 Spring Training Game at Tigertown
88 Backyard Brawl in Morgantown
89 London Marathon
90 Penn Relays
91 Presidents Cup
92 World Junior Hockey Championship
93 Westminster Dog Show
94 NFL Hall of Fame Induction
95 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship
96 College Baseball World Series
97 Beanpot Hockey Tournament
98 Bayou Classic
99 Little League World Series
100 UFC Title Fight

You can see the obvious problems with the list right away. The top 10 alone has 2 college games. It only gets worse from there. I'm afraid event the most hearty argument from a fan of the West Virginian College football scene would probably fail to convince me that I would rather see that than the grievously omitted European Championships of football (aka Euro), or even a Memorial Cup hockey game.

One review of the book said the fun part is to look down the list and check all the things you've seen and all the things you have yet to witness. Personally, I had more fun in counting the events in which I had no interest whatsoever, either before or after this list (a good 50, if I'm honest). The second most fun I had was counting the things I'd never heard of before, yet still ranking ahead of the Euro (Midnight Madness anyone?).


We are all aware that Americans don't like hockey and that our sport is under-appreciated, so in a way it's nice to even see the Stanley Cup at #12. Of course, anyone who'd rather watch a marathon than a Stanley Cup final game can't really be trusted to write a list, can they? But it's there. Even as a hockey fan, I have to admit that the Olympics and the World Cup are just bigger, and fair play to the Masters, World Series and Super Bowl (though not my choices).

You can also tell this homer doesn't know much about hockey at all, because he would also rather watch the Habs and Leafs at the cavernous ACC than at the raucous Bell Centre.

And why would anyone want to watch the Beanpot hockey tournament, which promises to send 4 checking line wingers to the NHL one day over the Memorial Cup which is an intense and talent-packed hockey event?

I'm sure you have some opinions of your own as well, but I was thinking of a few other hockey games I'd rather take in than a dog show, a hot dog eating contest and a high school basketball game...

1. Winter Classic (any teams)
2. Battle of Alberta (Edmonton)
3. Sweden vs. Finland
4. Spengler Cup (Davos, Switzerland)
5. Montreal vs. Boston (Montreal)

Other things I'd probably put on the list. Hmm, maybe a cricket match, Kitzbuehel downhill, Barcelona v Madrid, the Dragon boat festival in China, Sumo Grand Championships, European Championships, US Olympic Swimming trials...

What do you all think?

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