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Des Moines, Iowa


Top Sports Experiences per ESPN

Geoff Wood

Last week ESPN continued the downfall of their media franchise from respectable journalism to pop-culture tabloid by publishing of yet another "list" this one focusing on "101 things all sports fans must experience before they die"

For my take on the highlights, I'll begin with my connections:

1/3. Summer/Winter Olympics (every four years in a different city).

I've never been but have visited at least two Olympic venue's post competition (Lake Placid & Calgary) as well as known a couple Olympians (who all live in America but have competed for other countries) and recently met a gold medalist (Cael).

6. Spring training (February-March, Florida and Arizona).

I used to watch Red Sox games in Winter Haven, FL when visiting my grandparents. I've wanted to coordinate one of my Southwest Florida work trips with a Twins game in Fort Myers but it has yet to happen.

14. College World Series (June, Omaha, Neb.).

I've been to Rosenblatt and had tickets for the CWS but never made it inside.

33. The Indy 500 (Memorial Day weekend, Indianapolis).

Our first experience of the race was this May though I had been to the track & museum early on in life

59. Calgary Stampede (July, Calgary, Alberta).

Been there!

74. Field of Dreams Ghost Sundays (select days in summer, Dyersville, Iowa).

I've been to the Field of Dreams many times but never actually seen a "Ghost Sunday" game.

86. Iowa-Iowa State wrestling match (winter, Iowa). There aren't any masks, folding chairs, cages, turnbuckle smashes or soap opera story lines. When a state cares this much about wrestling and the programs are this good, you don't need Vince McMahon to make it compelling.

I've watched this on IPTV several times but never actually witnessed it live. Following up Cael's #2 national ranking in his rookie coaching campaign and the having the meet in Ames probably makes this the year to do.

And conclude with the too rick-diculous(1) to have made the list:

41. The Iditarod (February, Anchorage to Nome, Alaska).

People go watch the Iditarod? Sheesh.

49. Lady Vols game (winter, Knoxville, Tenn.). ...When Pat Summitt takes command, the Vols go on a run and the band starts playing "Rocky Top," there is no better atmosphere for basketball -- men's or women's.

I come from a WBB school but I very much doubt there is "no better atmosphere".

52. Indiana high school basketball tournament (March, Indiana).

Locals tell me the IN state tourney is nothing since they divided it by class - might as well have put the now defunct IA Six-Man Girls Tourney on the list, too.

57. World Figure Skating Championships (annual, around the world).

No comment necessary.

90. Show-Me State Games (July, Columbia, Mo.). You can watch sports on TV or you can get off your couch and participate. And that's what about 30,000 Missourians do every summer, ranging from age 3 to 83.

Apparently this happens in 40 states including Iowa where they have more than 73000 participants throughout the year. Why is MO so groundbreaking?

(1) You know, the guy Ludacris stole his act from.