Saturday, July 26, 2008

Game On!

Sports! I love them. After the summer valley, sports are going to pick up again. Olympics are next month, college football starts in a few weeks and also the NFL. To get me pumped, here is my rankings of favorite sports venues. These are the places that I would most like to watch athletic competition:

10) McCormick Field- Asheville is a great city and Tourists baseball is lots of fun. If you go on Thursdays, not only do you get a great venue for baseball, but beer is cheap and the people watching is second to none. Only in Asheville, as we like to say.

9) Bobby Dodd Stadium at Grant Field - Yes, I am biased and I know there are a lot of great college football stadiums out there (Neyland, Camp Randall, Autzen, Falcon, Kinnick). I love the Jackets. I also love being with my friends and the GT Superfans make any Saturday on the Flats that much better. And honestly, there are not a whole lot of things that can compare to a Georgia Tech night game in the oldest continually used stadium in Division 1A. If you have seats in the west stands, you've got awesome views of the field and the Atlanta skyline behind.

8) Cameron Indoor Stadium - Not really a stadium, more like a shoebox. But the fans are loud and crazy and Duke definitely has a home court advantage when playing here. Atmosphere like Cameron makes college basketball great.

7) Augusta Natianal Golf Club - The Masters. Perfect in everyway. The Masters is spring incarnate. It's one of the things that let's me know winter is over. It's the only major that is played on the same course every year. You have Amen Corner and the Eisenhower Tree. The Par 3 tournament earlier in the week is fun, the Green Jacket is coveted and the experience of the Masters is like none other.

6) Lambeau Field - NFL Stadiums don't have the tradition and character of college stadiums. Except Lambeau, where the waiting list for season tickets is about 30 years and 70,000 names deep. It is the place to be in the NFL's smallest television market. This is the home of Lombardi, Rockne and Favre. Cheeseheads and fans that brave the frigid Green Bay winters make this an amazing place.

5) Hayward Field - home of Prefontaine and the mecca of US Track and Field. Hayward Field is where Nike was born and Olympic dreams made. It is the inspiration and goal for track and field athletes across the country. It is also located in Eugene, which dubbs itself as Track Town, USA.

4) Wrigley Field - Yankee Stadium was the house the Ruth built. Finway has the Monster. Wrigley itself is kinda dumpy, but there's still way too much to love. Homeruns onto Waveland, the bleachers, 7th Inning Stretch, ivy in the outfield, throwing back the opponent's homeruns. Plus I love that Wrigley is a neighborhood, a place where people live, eat and work. Wrigleyville before, during and after a game is truly a special place to be.

3) Notre Dame Stadium - I went there last year and it was one of the most enjoyable places to watch college football. The greeters around campus saying "welcome to Notre Dame", Touchdown Jesus overlooking the Stadium, the wooden benches inside made it all a neat place. The fans were friendly and knowledgable instead of being drunken colorblind jerks that you run into at many other places. (Note: Picture was taken on opening game last year, GT @ ND)

2) Old Course, St Andrews - Scotland is the birthplace of golf and St Andrews is the venerable sage of golf. Awesome hazards like Hell, Principal's Nose, Coffins and Road Bunker. Then there is the famed Scottish weather, a neat University nearby and the knowledge that golf was being played here for hundreds of years. This is another place that is steeped in history and tradition.

1) L'Alpe d'Huez - Again, the Tour de France is one of my favorite events of the year. I look forward to it as much as I look forward to a big Tech game or the Super Bowl. You have the pretty flowers of Brittany, the scenic views of the Basque Pyrenees, and ceremonial ride down the Champs-Elysee in the last stage. But nothing is as dramatic, testing and exciting to watch as a stage that includes L'Alp d'Huez. This is where legends were made and many hearts broken. Lance owned this climb, the 2004 Individual Time Trial being the most impressive run. Plus, you have the great French villages and the beauty of the Alps around you and, stay a few more weeks, you will get world class skiing.

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