Sunday, March 4, 2012

Top Ten Sporting Events I've Attended

I'm going to attempt to create a list of the top 10 sporting events I attended live. Being that, I do not keep a notepad and record the highlights of every game I go and I've probably attended 200+ college or pro events, you could probably take a time machine and find 10 events I went to that were better than the ones I listed. This is based on a combination of national relevancy, game drama and personal factors.

10. May 22, 2009 - Orioles beat Nats 4-2

You probably think I'm a nutcase putting a game in which my team lost on my top 10 list, but here me out. Both teams stunk so there was no national relevancy but I got to sit in the Diamond Club for only 10 bucks and it was an exciting game. My friend Megan and I were randomly selected by the Clint, the leader of the Nats Pack, and moved from section 420 to section 124 and I got 15 bucks in free food. First time I ever won anything from any sporting events. Game went into the 12th inning, and that's where it got weird. Danys Baez, a relief pitcher who had spent most of his career in the AL, got a hit and scored the game winning run.

9. December 30, 2007 - Redskins Beat Cowboys 27-6

This one makes it on the list more because of the importance of the game than the actual game-play. Yea, both units of the team performed well, but I was too nervous to actually enjoy it. Winner of this game was going to the playoffs, plus with the Sean Taylor tragedy, I was tense and I'm sure the rain didn't help, I'm glad I went to the game but I would've rather sat at home or at a bar in relative warmth so I wouldn't be as tense. My friends T, Elliot, Jesse and I tailgated for the game with chicken and biscuits from Bojangles and cheap beer

It ended up being HoF Joe Gibbs' last regular season game and win, the end of a 5 game winning streak that resulted in a playoff berth. The game was never close, scored a touchdown early on in the first quarter but I never really started to unwind and  enjoy the game until the 4th quarter, when Santana Moss' touchdown put the Redskins up 27-3.

8. May 11, 2005 - Terps Baseball beats Longwood 8-5

Honestly, I really don't remember the specifics of this game, I just remember it as a day I got to watch baseball with Sarah and Laura, two of my really good college friends. It was the home finale, nice weather, so of course we were there, because we went to a lot of Maryland baseball games together.

Maryland baseball wasn't that good that year (or ever) but what gets this game on the list is me winning a prize pack for knowing the answer for some trivia and I got to sing "Take me out to the Ballgame" during the 7th inning stretch. The announcer was a guy in my Sports Psychology class, we never talked but I knew who he was, and I was able to get him to let me sing for the 7th inning stretch. I was nervous singing it, but that's one of those songs where you don;t have to be a good singer to sing well. Part of my wonders if there is YouTube evidence of this happening but then the rational part of me knows I can't sing and wants no evidence of me doing so to ever exist.

As far as I know, the only player from that game that made it to the major leagues was Maryland's starting pitcher, Brett Cecil, and he pitches for the Toronto Blue Jays. P Seth Overbey and CF Truan Mehl made it to AA ball with the Bluejays and  Rangers Organizations, respectively. Pitcher Ryan Moorer played A ball for the Mariners and C Chad Durakis played A ball for the Orioles. 3B Matt Maropis was drafted by the Pirates but never played for them. RF Bryan Jaronsknski played in an independent league.

For Longwood, P Brian McCullough  played some independent ball and 1B Charlie Yarbrough played A ball in the Phillies system

7. March 6, 2006 - Capitals beat Islanders 5-2

I will be the first to admit that I don't know the ins and out of hockey or how to create a great hockey team, but I admire its fast pace and am willing to learn. Got the tickets at a blood drive for the Capitals, and theoretically I didn't even have to donate the blood as they gave me the tickets before I was asked a question about my donor eligibility. Even though this was a crappy season for my team, any time you get to sit 8 rows up from the ice for free and watch a rookie Alex Ovechkin get 2 goals and an assist and watch a win, it as a great game. I'm not hockey savvy but in my professional opinion, Ovi could have had a hat trick but I didn't see him on the ice the last 5 minutes of the game.

 6. April 25, 2008 - Nationals beat Cubs 5-2

This game was so good, they made a commercial about it.

I don't know who this guy is, but I deeply admire his mustache, but I digress...

Unfortunately, I arrived to the game late, so I was not able to see Nick Johnson's 1st inning home run. Coming down to the 9th inning, with a slumping/injured Kearns, utility player Willy Harris and Wil "No home runs" Nieves, I was resigned to extra innings,but my friend Sarah said something about how it would be great if the game ended with a walk off homer (her first game at Nats park, she's a huge Yankees fan from NY). When Kearns hit a single, and Harris striking out, I thought the only way we could get a walk-off would be next inning with the middle of the lineup coming, but somehow Wil Nieves hit a 2 run home run to win the game. It was my second game at Nats Park and the second walk off home run I had seen there. He has 5 career home runs, I've seen 2 of them live.

5. February 25, 2007 - Terps Basketball Beat UNC 89-87

Student section rushed the court at 2 basketball games I attended. The first time was when we beat Boston College. They were ranked 6th, we were ranked 17th, so the merits of rushing the court is highly debatable, but I still did it cause it was fun. Its one thing if BC was a division rival we'd never beaten or if this win got us off the bubble, but this was their first ACC game ever and the game was in December.

Second time was well worth it. When the Terps are unranked and they take down UNC, the 5th ranked team in the nation, you've earned that court rushing. Don't remember exacts, but I'm pretty sure I waited at least 2 hours just to get into Comcast Center, so I could wait 2 more hours until game time, but I was able to get great student section seats. And this was when smart phones were still expensive, so a 4 hour wait time meant talking to your fellow human being instead of zoning out on Pandora/Twitter/Facebook, but I digress...  Anyways, Jai Lucas, son of Maryland legend John Lucas, and McDonald's All American, sat near our section. I know he was in the middle of transferring, so I guess he was checking us out. Maryland kept it close throughout the game, but made their move at the end of the game, so we rushed the court, I lost a good hat in the process. Oddly enough, both court rushings, the person next to me didn't rush the court with me.

On the Terps, Greivis Vasquez was drafted by the Grizzlies in the 1st round, James Gist was drafted by the Spurs in the 2nd round. DJ Strawberry was drafted in the 2nd round by the Suns.

On the Tarheels, Reyshawn Terry was drafted in the 2nd round by the Magic. Tyler Hansborough was drafted by the Pacers in the first round. Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson both were drafted by the Timberwolves in the first round. Brandan Wright was drafted by the Bobcats in the first round. Danny Green was drafted by the Spurs in the 2nd round. Wes Miller is actually now a head coach (interim) at UNC Greensboro

4. March 30, 2008 - Nats beat Braves 3-2

I'm not sure how 2 games from the 100 loss 2008 Nats made it on to my top 10 list, but it did and at least we got Strasburg in exchange for suffering through this season. "Fans" snatched up tickets for the home opener this year because it was the opening of the stadium, but luckily the Nats held back 400 tickets that were sold on game day and they only cost 5 bucks. I say "fans" in quotes because you're not a true fan if you buy a 10 dollar ticket from the Nats only to put it on stubhub for 80. My friend Jesse and I got there around 1 PM, 7 hours before gametime and the line was already 100 people deep. The Nationals didn't start selling tickets until 3. We played cards until then. We randomly met Wolf Blitzer before the game.

I missed a lot of the pregame ceremonies cause I was waiting in line to grab some Ben's Chili Bowl (took an hour), but I was able to get back to my seat in time for George W Bush's first pitch and the booing from my ensued. Close game all the way through, ended in the bottom of the 9th by a walk off by Mr. Walk-off, Ryan Zimmerman. First walk-off home run I ever saw in person. This probably started my obsession with going to Nats home openers cause I have gone every year since.

3. February 28, 2012 - Capitals beat Islanders 3-2

This was the most recent game I have been to. Most exciting hockey game ever attended. It's kind of flukey how both Caps v Islanders game I've been to made it on the list. I've only attended 1 other game that ended past regulation, and that ended in a shootout. I don't think this game was a sellout, lots of empty seats, and I actually got signal at the Verizon Center. Nabokov was hot, had 20 SOG in the first 2 periods, no goals. Somehow, in the last 4 minutes of the game, Troy Brower scored twice. People behind me and my friend Matt were Caps fans and called Ovi "The laziest player in the NHL." I'm not a hockey buff but I'm pretty sure the laziest player in the league could get 2 Hart trophies. It was as if Ovi heard that, cause he got the game winning goal in OT. I'm hoping when we look back on the season, this will be seen as a turnaround moment for the team.

2.  June 8, 2010 Nationals beat Pirates 5-2

Any true Nats fan knows this as the day of Strasmas. One of the few sporting events that I've attended that lived up to its hype. Later that year, I went to the debut of Cuban defector Yunesky Maya, the game was a huge dud and Maya hasn't really done well in DC, but did pitch well out of the bullpen towards last season, so who knows. Aside from Phillies games and a handful of O's v Nats games, Strasburg pitching was the only time I saw Nats Park packed. Not much for drama but who needs drama when your star prospect strikes out 14, almost gets a hit, and each of your 3 best power hitters hit a home run.

1. December 18, 2005 Redskins beat Cowboys 35-7


This one has a bit of an asterisk on it. I attended the game but I watched most of it on a network tv if at all cause I was working in the ticket office, but I was inside Fed Ex Field when the game began so it counts for me. Two division rivals, both with playoff aspersions facing off, I was excited being there and not even watching the game live. It's very possible I was in the same room as Donald Rumsfeld. I did see a member of the Secret Service in the ticket office, and one of my coworkers did say she talked to him. Met Chris Samuels' brother too. The circumstances of us meeting wasn't ideal(ticket snafu, not my fault) but still very cool. Looks a lot like him. Plus I got to take home a tray of Subway sandwiches home.

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