Jump to content

What Was The Greatest Sporting Event You Ever Attended?


lovehockey
 Share

Recommended Posts

The last game (game 6) of the American League Championship Series in 1997, at Camden Yards, the Orioles losing to the Indians (and losing the series) 1-0 in the 11th inning. Great seats about 20 feet up the first-base line, my only post-season major-league game. The excitement and energy in the ballpark were like nothing I ever experienced, and 1-0 in 11 innings is kind of what baseball dreams are made of. Nothing else ever came close.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A tie between:
 
1a) The 1969 MLB All-Star Game at RFK Stadium when I was 7 years old and coming into the peak years of being enthralled by baseball - I was unusually precocious, was a baseball card fanatic, and could name every player on every team (players included Aaron, Mays, McCovey, Bench, Carlton, Carew, Reggie Jackson, Frank Robinson, McLain, Killebrew, Brooks Robinson, Oliva, Yasztremski, Gibson, Marichal, Seaver, Banks, Clemente, Rose, and many more "lesser" names such as Perez, Matty Alou, McDowell, Roseboro, Koosman, Phil Niekro, Staub, Frank Howard, Boog Powell, Stottlemyre, etc.) - is this the single greatest group of baseball players ever to be assembled in one game? and:
 
1b) Cal Ripken's final game at Yankee Stadium in 2001 (which, at the time I got the tickets, was scheduled to be Cal Ripken's final game, *period*, but the 9/11 attacks happened, and everything was pushed back by one week - I went with Member Number One, having received the tickets from our dear friend Peter Hirdt (who co-founded the Elias Sports Bureau and has a Hall of Fame vote), stayed at and went to dinner with our dear friend Paul Napolitano and his wife Tricia, and Peter and his wife Mary (yes, Peter, Paul, and Mary), making a party of six at the excellent Mill River Inn in Oyster Bay, where we all shared a bottle of 1947 Huet Vouvray Moelleux that I had brought (what a *great* wine, what a *great* meal, what a *great* evening), and, alas, had an appointment at Sloan-Kettering because that was the year Karen got sick, making the occasion all the more bittersweet and special.
 
How do you choose between these two?

Okay, admittedly these are two awesome events, but *nobody* posted since I did? Come on, even if you can't top them, or if you're worried about my sob story, don't be - I want to hear yours. I actually wrote Peter Hirdt today and asked him if he thought that All-Star game was the greatest assemblage of talent to ever play in a game - his answer: "Could be. I'd have to look at the games from the early and mid-1960s, or possibly from the early All-Star Games. But it's a crazy good list from the game you saw. Again, I don't generally get caught up in ranking things like that. I enjoy the discussion though!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don, I attended Cal's actual last game.  Paid $120 for a ticket in left field at Camden Yards, which was a fortune to me then (not that a ticket at that price would be a fortune to me now).  He was in the on-deck circle when the game ended.  If I recall (and I may be wrong), Brady Anderson struck out to end the game.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1a) The 1969 MLB All-Star Game at RFK Stadium when I was 7 years old and coming into the peak years of being enthralled by baseball - I was unusually precocious, was a baseball card fanatic, and could name every player on every team (players included Aaron, Mays, McCovey, Bench, Carlton, Carew, Reggie Jackson, Frank Robinson, McLain, Killebrew, Brooks Robinson, Oliva, Yasztremski, Gibson, Marichal, Seaver, Banks, Clemente, Rose, and many more "lesser" names such as Perez, Matty Alou, McDowell, Roseboro, Koosman, Phil Niekro, Staub, Frank Howard, Boog Powell, Stottlemyre, etc.) - is this the single greatest group of baseball players ever to be assembled in one game?) and:

I've been thinking about my hypothesis about "greatest assemblage of ballplayers ever," and I'm not sure some of the games from the early 1960s weren't even better: In 1961, for example, you had some of the same players (not all, but many) *plus* Mantle, Musial, Spahn, Koufax, Matthews, Kaline, Ford, and Berra. That's a pretty rough crowd. Go back another year or two and you add Ted Williams to the mix.

Of course in 1933, you have Ruth, Gehrig, Traynor, Grove, Foxx, Waner, Dickey, Bill Terry, Lefty Gomez ... this is an exercise in futility.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For purely sentimental reasons, I'd have to say Game 4 of the 2012 NLDS, Nats versus Cards.  We attended the game with our 3 week old newborn son.  (It's where the first photo was taken.)

post-10429-0-83803500-1441461760_thumb.j

I was unusually precocious, was a baseball card fanatic, and could name every player on every team

 

We thought we were crazy, but now, that nearly 3 year old kid is a baseball savant.  He knows every Nationals player, their number, and their batting stance, and practices them for at least an hour every afternoon.

A close second would be the 2015 All Star Game in Cincinnati.  My wife won an all-expenses paid trip just by voting for the ASG online. The catch was that she gave birth to our 2nd son just 9 days before the game.  She's an amazing trooper, and we beat our own record for youngest attendee at a major league baseball event by almost 2 weeks.

post-10429-0-03243500-1441461973_thumb.j

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Only in retrospect, the 1968 Old Timers Game at Yankee Stadium ... my parents took me, and I never properly thanked them. All in one day, I watched an aging Joe DiMaggio with his classic swing rip a base hit up the middle off Bob Feller in the Old Timers Game, and then in the regular game, I watched Mickey Mantle in his final season hit HRs no. 530 and 531 (out of 536 total) against Jim Merritt of the Twins in a 3-2 Yankee loss. All of this in the un-changed Yankee Stadium of history's legend. (Thanks Mom and Dad.)

About 30 years later, I was physically present at the game where Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive game streak with 2,131 consecutive games. I was in Section 9, down the right field line, in the seats my brother's company bought every year for clients to enjoy a ballgame. He had grabbed the seats from that game and Fed Exed them to me the day before ... my son and I enjoyed that game together. (Thanks Big Brother.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just throwing it out there.

Good question.  Had me thinking.   I've attended a lot of matches but not that many tournament or playoff matches.   Two stuck out for me as I pondered this question, both held at U of Maryland during different decades.

One was the national collegiate wrestling championships at some point in the 70's.  I'm not a wrestling fan, but I attended with one.   One moment stood out;  the heavyweight match.    All the heavyweights were of course big brawny strong guys....but one was exceedingly different.  He was either a high 300 pounder or a 400 pounder.  Yup...and he looked like two of any of the other behemoths.   This guy was humongous.

In the championship match the smaller guy started on top.  It appeared he had to "stretch a bit" just to get his grip around the favored giant.

The match went off.   The smaller guy was quick and used every apparent muscle and point of leverage to turn the human man mountain.  Seconds or moments occurred.   The human Mount Everest was teetering, almost shoved on his back by a very strong very determined very quick powerhouse!!!!!!

AND BOOM.   The big guy shifted his weight and knocked the smaller guy off and then quickly pinned him

Oh...but for a moment it was very cool!!!!!

The second event at U Md was near and dear to my heart; the national lacrosse championship in 1989, often called the Greatest Lacrosse Match ever.  Syracuse vs Johns Hopkins;  two powerhouses that had strong runs throughout the 1980's.   Syracuse featured the Gait brothers, two native Canadian twins generally considered among the best lacrosse players ever, (one being a little better than the other...but both great)   Hopkins featured Dave Pietramala, possibly the greatest defenseman ever.  Both teams were well stocked with other great great players.

Very fast paced game.  The super stars displayed their unbelievable skills at various times.   Those 3 guys were examples of the greatest players ever, spectacularly better than so many of the best.

Sad ending as far as I was and am concerned as Syracuse won by a goal, and stopped a point blank shot at the game's end to prevent a tie.   The game went back and forth, tremendously fast paced with the best of the best displaying their talents in a tremendously exciting tense game.   Certainly memorable, and possibly deserving of the description "greatest lacrosse game ever".   Damned  damned exciting and well played for the entire 60 minutes.  A great match up and well played in the final game of the year.

But for me, the singularly most astonishing game I ever saw was a regular season ABA (American Basketball Association) game played toward the end of the season in early 1976.  It featured the NY Nets playing at home in Nassau Coliseum in Long Island against the Denver Nuggets.

The game featured two of the most exciting simply mesmerizing basketball players of all time:  Dr. J, Julius Erving for the Nets and David Thompson for the Nuggets.  Most know of Dr. J.  He was Lebron, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant before any of them.   The slam dunking leaping flying arm swinging, ball palming, master of basketball.   Basically in those days Dr J, played entire seasons for the Nets in a manner that Lebron James did in the past NBA championships.  He did everything: scored, rebounded, played defense, fed his teammates.   He did not sell popcorn in the stands.

Do you recall David Thompson, the SkyWalker.   Michael Jordan had David Thompson introduce him to the Hall of Fame, Thompson was his inspiration.  David Thompson was one of the all time leapers in basketball history.   He is noted as one of the greatest college players of all time, in 3 years being an all American each year, leading his team to an undefeated season (they were banned from the NCAA's) and then an NCAA championship dethroning one of the great Bill Walton UCLA teams.

There is a lot of conversation about the best leapers in basketball.  I think Thompson tops the lists.  He could soar ALL THE TIME...and he did.  It wasn't occasional.  It was all the time, on offense and defense, seemingly effortless.   Reportedly his vertical leap was 44".   But he did it ALL THE TIME, countless times in a game.

Here is how the game went.   At the start, Dr. J, was at his best.  He kept attacking the basket in the first quarter, from left side, right side, down the middle.   Scintillating powerful Dr. J dunks with his huge hands palming the ball, waving it a bit, splitting defenders and pounding the ball through the basket.  Nobody did what Dr. J did.

Then the game started to turn.  It was defense from the Denver squad and the defense was provided by the SkyWalker.   The Nets would shoot a mid range jumper and one Denver player would launch above everyone else on the floor and swat that shot away.  Again and again.  It was always David Thompson.   It was as if a rocket kept getting launched from inside the box.

Then Thompson started to score.  His style was different from Dr. J's, not quite as breathtaking but astonishing every time he launched from the ground for either a jump shot or a drive and dunk.

And then the two superstars REALLY started getting competitive.   From that point forward they actually raised the levels of their games.   Thompson would score with a spectacular high flying shot.   J would match it.   Back and forth.  Two of the most athletic humans in the world each raising their level to match the other.

Both teams were good with good players.   The Nets won the ABA that year, and Denver had the best regular season record.  In the following year that Denver team played in the NBA and won its division.   These teams had excellent players.    But David  Thompson and Dr. J put on one of the most non stop purely athletic exhibitions of non stop athletic basketball skill I've ever witnessed.  In fact the best.

It wasn't a memorable or noteworthy championship game. ..but it should have been.  What an exhibition.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been a Redskins season ticket holder since 2004, so a whole lot of awesomeness there. :huh:

The highlights have oddly been all against Dallas.

In 2005, the Redskins had won a couple games in a row to get to 7-6 and this game began their final three all against division opponents. It was just a dominating performance and a 35-7 win, sealed late in the second half with two TDs in the final 2 minutes (aided by an INT and big return by Marcus Washington). Someone made a great We Are the Champions Youtube video with highlights from that game. It was a fun game and the first big game I ever attended.

In 2007, I experienced one of my personal low-lights when the Redskins lost to the Bills after Sean Taylor's death. I'm definitely glad I was there, but that game was a total gut punch. However, the final week of that season, Washington rolled over Dallas to make the playoffs. Dallas rested their starters in the 2nd half, but we didn't care. It felt like destiny reaching the playoffs that season in the cold rain.

Fast forward to the final week of 2012 and the Redskins and Cowboys are facing off for the division. Winner wins the division, loser is out of the playoffs. It was a tight game unlike the other two above. The teams went back and forth and we watched our phenom rookie QB, who was clearly limited, guide us to victory. The place erupted when Alfred Morris broke a 32 yard TD to give us a 21-10 lead with only 10 minutes. But, of course, Dallas quickly marched right back down, scored a TD, and got the 2 point conversion to cut the lead to 3. Next Redskins possession was a 3-and-out and I thought, "Ugh, I've seen this organization play out this story way too many times." However, we got a little lucky and Romo pulled a Romo throwing an INT deep in their own territory. The place erupted again and people were hugging each other. Finish it off with another TD with about a minute left and it was essentially over. Division champs and a bright future...or so we thought. The following week was the only NFL playoff game I've attended (I've attended one Caps playoff game...a 1-0 loss of course) and it didn't compare to the week before. It was definitely fun as they got out to a 14-0 lead, but you could just see that game slowly slipping away and the ending was inevitable.

But maybe the best was going all the way back to my first Redskins game ever. A week 1 Monday Night Football home opener at RFK against the Cowboys. It was 1993. The Cowboys were coming off a Super Bowl and the Redskins were moving on from Gibbs. Emmitt Smith was holding out, which helped us out a lot. The Redskins dominated and won. (Of course Dallas went on to win the Super Bowl and Washington finished 4-12.) But, it really wasn't about that for me. It was my first game. It was Monday Night Football. It was the Cowboys. It was RFK. It was the atmosphere just walking from Metro to the stadium. Sidewalks were lined with people; people selling things and people performing. I'll never forget the kids playing the buckets as drums with sticks. On the way back to Metro after the game, those kids must have had 3 of those large white buckets full of money. It was just an amazing urban atmosphere that FedEx can't duplicate. I fell in love with the live game experience.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't say it was the greatest sporting event, but one of the most memorable for me was attending the Mets-Astros game on July 3, 1986.  That was the magical summer for the Mets that ultimately resulted in the 7 game World Series win against Boston.  For that Astros game I went with my friend Kwangsik who was staying with my family the summer before our senior year in college.  His friend Lex was visiting NYC from the Netherlands for the first time and had never attended or seen a baseball game.  I remember taking the 7 train to Shea Stadium and watching the expressions of the other passengers as the Korean guy and Dutch guy talk in Spanish to each other, that being their shared language when they first met.

We got to the ballpark and I bought Lex a Mets ballcap and told him to put it on. He thought I was messing with him until he saw a large number of the other 50,000 plus fans wearing the same hat.  It was an intense, close game between the two teams that would ultimately meet in the NLCS and finally Darryl Strawberry and Ray Knight hit dramatic back to back home runs for a come-from-behind win in the 10th inning.  The big apple rose behind the wall and I saw Lex high-fiving the stranger next to him while jumping up and down.  Being July 3, the game was followed by a huge fireworks display.  You know, your average ballgame.  Sigh.  RIP Kwangsik.

 
"Mets Win on 2 Homers in 10th" by Alex Yannis on nytimes.com
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kwangsik moved back to Korea and tragically died suddenly of a aneurysm about 8 years ago.  Wonderful, wonderful man. To bring it back to food, he also introduced me and my family to the wonderful world of Korean food, cooking often for our family and showing me the delicious bbq places in Koreatown in midtown Manhattan.  I smell sesame oil, think of Kwangsik, and smile :)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In 1981 my father took me to the Canton McKinley - Cincinnati Moeller State Championship football game at the Akron Rubber Bowl. Prior to living in Ohio, we lived in Utah. Even at the tender age of 10,  I remember thinking, "Whoa....WTF is wrong with these people? This is way too serious."

ETA - I've been to playoff games in all major sports, US Opens. etc. but I'll always remember that game.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In 1981 my father took me to the Canton McKinley - Cincinnati Moeller State Championship football game at the Akron Rubber Bowl. Prior to living in Ohio, we lived in Utah. Even at the tender age of 10,  I remember thinking, "Whoa....WTF is wrong with these people? This is way too serious."

"See It: Stunning Photos Show Akron Ohio's Abandoned Rubber Bowl Stadium" by Jason Silverstein on nydailynews.com

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Greatest Event? Final round of the Masters when Angel Cabrera won in a playoff.

Greatest Performance? I watched Scott Barnsby throw a no-hitter for UMass at Fenway Park during the "Baseball Beanpot" in 1997. The 27th out was a screaming gapper by Carlos Pena (yeah, that one), which Doug Clark nabbed at full stretch.

Greatest Game? USA 1, Argentina 0 in a friendly at a packed RFK in 1999. Tension just built, and built, and built (Argentina was playing pretty much their first-choice side), and Joe-Max Moore scored in the 88th minute.

Most exciting? 2014 Indianapolis 500. All the tradition, and an aero package that meant a ton of passing and maneuvering throughout the race.

And....I was at the Daytona 500 the year Montoya hit the jet dryer.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been to hundreds of baseball games and sadly none were remotely memorable.

Top of my list is the U.S. vs. Brazil gold medal match in women's soccer at the Beijing Olympics on August 21, 2008.  Notwithstanding their reputation, the USWNT were fairly heavy underdogs that night given that Abby Wambach broke her leg prior to the tournament and Brazil had Marta (then by far the best player in the world, and still in her peak).  The soccer stadium in downtown Beijing was packed with Chinese fans not really rooting for either side heavily.  My sister, brother-in-law, and I were among the few obvious U.S. fans in our section, and because we didn't look that different from the rest of the crowd (apart from "USA" painted on our faces and my U.S. Soccer jersey), people were giving us funny looks for singing during the Star-Spangled Banner and generally screaming louder than most folks in attendance.

The match itself was quite stressful because Brazil dominated possession and created more dangerous chances by far.  Hope Solo was the only reason why the U.S. kept the match scoreless during regulation, stopping a couple of point-blank shots including one from Marta.  Then, during the first half of extra time, Carli Lloyd -- who had done almost nothing noteworthy up to that point -- launched a shot out of nowhere from outside the box with her weaker left foot past the Brazilian keeper in to the net.  Little did we know at the time that this would be the first of her many game-winning goals in big matches (as a midfielder, no less).

One other thing I'll mention is that, about 10 hours earlier, we had attended the gold medal match in women's beach volleyball across town in the pouring rain where Misty May and Kerri Walsh (a.k.a. GOAT team in the sport) beat the crowd-favorites from China.  And again we were among the very few rooting for the U.S. and getting strange looks from the Chinese fans.  Needless to say, this was easily the best day I ever had as a sports fan.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My first ever live sporting event was Lakers @ Bullets in 1985. My dad got us tickets for my birthday that year. I didn't fully realize what I was seeing at the time. Looking back, I wish I had more memories of seeing Magic and Kareem and the rest of that team. I remember knowing what I was seeing; meaning I remember knowing the Lakers were great and the Bullets had little chance in the game. I remember being aware that Magic and Kareem were great players and knew a few others like Worthy and Cooper. But maybe if I REALLY understood what I was watching, then maybe I'd remember a little better? I rooted for the Lakers in the 80s and into the 90s some.

My main memory from the game is seeing Manute Bol get the ball at the top of the key and the Lakers leaving him wide open. The crowd yelled, "Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!" He shot. It was a brick or an air ball or something. It was nowhere close. Then fans yelled, "Don't shoot! Don't shoot!"

I had that Lakers/Bullets game and a Bruins/Caps game (a 1-1 tie) a few years later as a kid but nothing else. My dad likes sports, they just aren't nearly as important to him as they were/are to me so it wasn't a regular part of what we did together. I didn't start attending live events very often until my mid 20s. My kids are spoiled (or tortured, depending on your POV). They go to a Redskins game, sometimes two, every year. They'll grow up being used to attending live sporting events fairly regularly and maybe I can help them know and remember who/what they're seeing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Princeton (16) v. Georgetown (1) in the opening round of the '89 NCAAs.  St. Patrick's Day, Providence, RI.  An incredible back-and-forth game featuring two programs that couldn't have been more different, played at the dawn of the NCAA tourney as a cultural phenomenon.  Personally important to me because my brother was a freshman on that Tiger team. They would go on to play in 4 consecutive tournaments and never win a game.  This one hurt the most, though.  To this day, 25 years later, I can still watch replays and honestly think that last shot is going to go in.  Kills me every single time.  ESPN recently did one of their 30 For 30 segments on this game and you can see me and my family screaming wildly in some of the crowd shots.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

MLS Cup 1996 - DC United v. Los Angeles Galaxy

It was the first season of MLS.  DC United started the year slowly before making some player changes and slowly cobbled together a winning team, finishing 2nd in the Eastern Conference.  Although MLS was desperate to have the final be LA v. NY and start a rivalry between the teams from the two largest media markets, DC beat NY in the opening round of the playoffs.

No one had any clue how the final would be received.  LA and DC playing at Foxboro Stadium?  On top of that a vicious Nor'Easter worked its way up the Eastern Seaboard that weekend, knocking out power in the Northeast.  Torrential rain fell all weekend.  I had just started a new job that June.  Another guy in the office was also a soccer fan and we had started going to DCU games throughout the fall...and damn it we were going to roadtrip to the final.

DC United fell behind early.  The field was a sloppy mess.  Not the makings for a come back.  30,000 people at Foxboro completely soaked and freezing in a late October rain storm.  And my friend and I sat there shivering, why the fuck did we make this trip?

In the 72nd minute DC United scored.  Hope.  Nine minutes later they scored again.  The game was tied.  DC United had the momentum.  Several near misses but the game went to sudden death over time.

In the 94th minute, DC United won a corner kick, Eddie Pope beat his defender and rose to meet the ball.  A powerful header to win the game and then a madcap run to the bench finished with a dive onto the muddy field.

It was blissful eight hour ride home back to DC.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Princeton (16) v. Georgetown (1) in the opening round of the '89 NCAAs.  St. Patrick's Day, Providence, RI.  An incredible back-and-forth game featuring two programs that couldn't have been more different, played at the dawn of the NCAA tourney as a cultural phenomenon.  Personally important to me because my brother was a freshman on that Tiger team. They would go on to play in 4 consecutive tournaments and never win a game.  This one hurt the most, though.  To this day, 25 years later, I can still watch replays and honestly think that last shot is going to go in.  Kills me every single time.  ESPN recently did one of their 30 For 30 segments on this game and you can see me and my family screaming wildly in some of the crowd shots.

Wow:   That one must have been wildly exciting for you and your family from beginning to end.  I've been an NCAA "nut" for decades, including decades before that game, and in thinking back, I've never attended one event.   Now I regret it.

Historically it was a big "one".  The tourney had grown in importance, coverage, and penetration into the wider public over time by that game.  One thing that hadn't occurred since the NCAA's had expanded to 64 teams that a 16 seed had not beaten a 1 seed.  It still hasn't occurred.  I hold a vague memory of that game.  As you wrote the game was described in a context wherein the #1 seed Georgetown and the #16 seed Princeton, couldn't have been MORE DIFFERENT.   How true.

Not having any of your rooting interest, I do recall watching it and remember being enthralled by the game.  Princeton, the "million to one underdog" was not exactly kicking their butts, but they were completely holding their own in the score.  It damn well did go back and forth.  Too bad Georgetown won that one.  It would have been an historic upset and victory.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...