Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A sport fan's resume

A good friend of mine recently shared our live sports attendance resumes. These games are sometimes accessories and sometimes central events to being. They represent honoring specific relationships with family and friends and observing achievements and physical gifts to humanity. They represents teamwork and individual hard work, the admiration of intelligence, strategy, raw human emotion, collective pride, and a liturgical gathering of crowds. Of course there is the laundry list of what is wrong with sports, but I don't focus too much on that. I do not make my wife a sports widow, and I have been blessed to be a part of some fun events with my loved ones and friends.


1983, December 24th. Playoff game--Seattle vs. Denver Wild Card game. Seattle's first playoff game. Crazy. Pandemonium, and insane noise levels. It must have looked cool on TV--we all had blue cards and used them to do "the wave."
4-5 NFL games in Seattle's Kingdome.
1999 Mike Holmgren's return to Lambeau w/Seahawks @ Lambeau Field. This game was a huge party, similar to Wisconsin game (see below) but a lot more quirks.

1993 Sky Dome in Toronto. Toronto Argonauts vs. Calgary Stampede.
2008 Edmonton--Where legend Warren Moon roamed and led to 5 Grey Cups. Edmonton Eskimos vs. Saskatchewan Roughriders.

1987 Washington vs. Arizona State for a baseball recruiting visit. What a cool way to watch a game.
1989 Tulsa vs. Arkansas @ Fayetteville.
1990 Tennessee vs. Notre Dame, Knoxville, TN. Todd Helton at QB. Both teams top 10. Tennessee almost pulls it out in a frantic comeback with a successful onside kick.
Lots of games at KU from 1988-1991 (when they were awful).
1994 Maryland vs. Virginia @ Charlottesville. Charlottesville is one of my favorite college towns for its history and beauty.
1999 Western Michigan vs. Wisconsin. A boring Big 10 game--but that was THE biggest college football party I have ever seen. Hands down, no competition.
2001 Nebraska vs. Texas Tech @ Lincoln. Insane game by Cliff Kingsbury (33-63, 363 yards) and Wes Welker with an 85 yd. punt return--I LOVED watching the Blackshirts get shredded and see the TTU fans throw tortillas. Too bad the Huskers won.
2002 Kansas St. @ Texas in Austin. Saw Vince Young's coming out party. KSU made a game of it with Sproles I believe, and Vince Young was sweet.
2003 Arkansas @ Auburn (97 degrees, a very forgettable game for Auburn fans. Cadillac had one of his worst games of his college career and Matt Jones shredded the defense by basically using the tight ends as wide receivers.
2004 Florida @ Mississippi State in 2004. Florida had all the talent and Miss. St. was given no chance, even by their own fans. Florida fans had some unrest, especially with its website, (not up these days, but if Illini fans have another bad season, watch out). Miss. St. gutted out a win. That was fun. It also marked the first time my friends and I tailgated with an RV--that is the way to do it.
2005 Oklahoma State-Texas A&M in 2005. A decent game, 1000 degrees out. Kyle Field was the important destination
Boston College @ Central Michigan 2006. CMU's first nationally televised game, first home game with lights (newly installed that week). Dan LeFevour's coming out party (he's going to put up insane #'s this year and get a few Heisman votes). Starting CMU QB gets crushed on the first play of the game. LeFevour comes in and almost takes down a ranked BC team (imagine Vince Young running style with someone who can actually throw.)

Minnesota State-Mankato
Augustana College (SD)

NAIA (at the time)
Pacific Lutheran University


1988 Oklahoma State @ Kansas' Phog Allen Field House. Danny Manning's last home game. This was a recruiting visit for me, and I was sold on Kansas after this visit, and this game was a clincher. Though I haven't been to games on Tobacco Road or Lexington, KY, I can't imagine college basketball venues better than Allen Field House.
1988-1992 So many great games @ Kansas, it's hard to count. One of my favorite regular season games was Kentucky coming to Allen Field house and DESTROYING Ricky Pitino and Kentucky 150-95--in 1991-92 season.
1990-91 KU vs. Arkansas in the regional final in Charlotte. Drove all night to see that one. KU down by 12 at half, came back to win. Sank free throws to clinch.
Final 4 in 1991 Indianapolis. KU beat UNC with Dean Smith. Duke with Grant Hill beats UNLV juggernaut--they were undefeated.
Duke (ugh) beats KU in the final in pretty solid fashion. Sad outcome, but AMAZING Final 4.
2005 Final 4 in St. Louis. I bought the tickets because I thought KU would be there. Not a thrilling Final 4, but I had a great time with a good friend.


2 Minnesota Timberwolves games
2 Seattle Sonics games, one in the Old Coliseum, 1 in the Tacoma Dome.


I have never been to a huge game in terms of playoff significance, but lots of parks over the years 1977-present.

Safeco Field
Kingdome (I saw the 1979 All-Star game there)
Oakland Coliseum
Dodgers Stadium
Old Padres Stadium before it was called Qualcomm (with a Beach Boys Concert after the game)
Metrodome in Minnesota
Wrigley Field as a guest of Ryne Sandberg
New Comiskey Park, Chicago
Old County Stadium, Milwaukee (saw Mark McGwire's 65th home run--seems weird now)
Old Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Kaufman Stadium, Kansas City
Old Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati
Great American, Cincinnati
Old Tiger Stadium, Detroit
Comerica Park, Detroit
Jacobs Field, Cleveland
Old Yankee Stadium (saw celebration of 50th anniversary of Joltin' Joe's 56 game streak, they gave him a Gold Rolls Royce, and every living Yankee great was there. I had the chills--and pink eye. I would have gone with a collapsed lung).
Shea Stadium, New York
Fenway Park, Boston
PNC Park, Pittsburgh (Outside of my Safeco biases, this is the best baseball park I have visited).
Olympic Stadium, Montreal (met Dick Vitale at this game--it was like an episode of the Surreal Life).
Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia

My dear wife and I were on our way to a Rockies game right before we got married, but we got stuck in an insane traffic jam in Denver and ended up being 90 minutes late by the time we got to the exit. We were driving from Las Vegas to St. Paul. Good thing we didn't have tickets.

Minor Leagues
St. Paul Saints
Sioux Falls Canaries

College Baseball
1988-89 I saw lots of great games from the bench and press box at the University of Kansas.
1999 Saw my brother pitch twice at UNLV, that was pretty cool.
1999 U. Arizona game in Tucson.
Augustana College (SD)


1988-1994 I hit 3-4 St. Louis Blues games.
2002 Dallas Stars @ Edmonton Oilers. My dear wife helped me fulfill a longtime dream by going to this game with me.
2002 Buffalo Sabres @ Calgary Flames in the Saddledome.
2008 Columbus Blue Jackets @ Edmonton Oilers with my brother. Oilers win! Oilers win!

College Hockey
1978 Game at the University of British Columbia
1991-1993 Several games at Minnesota State University-Mankato

1970's Seattle Sounders home game in the Kingdome in the old NASL.
1996 Brondby, a popular team in Denmark, not quite elite in Europe, but has performed well in European competition.

1996 Dublin, Ireland

Visited two pro sports hall of fame--
Cooperstown, New York (baseball)
Newport, Rhode Island (tennis)

What I have learned reflecting on this resume:

The college football games are the best for the all around experience.
The college hoop games have the greatest thrills.
The NHL game experience is actually the best.
It's more fun to go with loved ones and friends, but if it ends up being a choice between going and not going at all to a new venue, going is better.
My wife is a really good sport--though not a sports fan, she will still enjoy a game with me.

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