Friday, July 25, 2008

I Was There!

So often you hear sports fans share their stories about some of the significant sporting events they have witnessed in person - a no hitter in baseball, a playoff clinching NFL game, a Tiger Woods US Open victory, etc... There are some things that just having the memories of "being there" mean a lot more than watching it on TV ever could.

In June, I had the opportunity to attend the third ever Subway Series between the Yankees and the Mets. The games themselves weren't particularly spectacular (unless you enjoy watching each team beat the other by 9 runs in the other's stadium). However, considering that both teams will be getting a new stadium in '09, it will go down as the last Subway Series played in either one of those ballparks. As a baseball fan, I was excited to witness that in person, and get the full experience of trying to rush out of one ballpark to get to the other in time for the first pitch.

It got me thinking about some of the other significant sporting events that I've been able to witness in person. Looking back, the two events that standout to me the most are a NASCAR race and a tennis match. I attended the Coca-Cola 600 back in 1994. The race itself wasn't spectacular, but the winner was. Jeff Gordon walked away with his very first NASCAR Cup Series victory in that race. Since then he has gone on to capture 80 more victories and four series titles. The other event that sticks in my mind as significant is a 2006 US Open third round tennis match. Like the Coca-Cola 600, the tennis match itself wasn't a top performance, but the result was meaningful. It was Andre Agassi's final match before his retirement. After he lost, he grabbed the microphone and gave a moving speech to the crowd. He walked off the court to an incredible standing ovation, where everyone in Arthur Ashe Stadium, regardless if they were an Agassi fan, understood how much he had contributed to the sport over the last 21 years.

So now that I've shared my "I was there" memories...what are some of yours?

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