The Sports Bucket List: 25 Things Real Fans Must Do Before They Die

Ross LipschultzAnalyst ISeptember 16, 2010

The Sports Bucket List: 25 Things Real Fans Must Do Before They Die

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    Many people classify themselves as sports fans. They watch their favorite teams, go to the occasional game, and can talk casually about a couple of sports.

    Good for them. This list isn’t for them.

    A bucket list is simply a bunch of things a person wants to do before they die and won't feel complete with doing them. This type of list has become more popular since the Morgan Freeman flick with the same name.

    No, marching with penguins is not on this list. But it would be awesome.

    The Sports Bucket List is for those fans who are more than just the audience. They want to be part of the game, to live the action and to see everything they can.

    They aren’t athletic enough to play the game, but they will do just about everything else.

    Including dress like that guy.

    So, if you think you are a real sports fan, get the checklist ready. See how many of these things you have done, and plan accordingly to complete the rest before you go the way of Ol’ Yeller.

    Because, even with today’s technology, you can’t get NFL RedZone in the grave.

    Follow me on Twitter and read more at L.A. Sports Examiner.

    Note: This does not include things like "Olympics" or "World Cup." I'm talking about general things sports fans must do.

25. Visit a Hall Of Fame

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    OK, so maybe you aren't a giant fan of cricket. But the lesson still remains.

    Never forget history. 

    It's amazing to go to a game and witness a rare event. But due to the laws of time and space, a sports fan can't capture every awe-striking moment in his or her favorite sport.

    Hall of Fames can. 

    Cooperstown and Canton house exhibits that would make Michelangelo jealous. The stories, the busts and everything that makes you remember the special moments will have even the most dedicated fan smiling ear-to-ear after a single visit.

    And if you love cheesy pictures, Hall of Fames are the best place for them.

24. Get On A Jumbotron

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    This might seem superficial to some, but it's quite a great feeling.

    Unless you just spilled ketchup on your Derek Jeter Jersey. 

    Being on a Jumbotron is so rewarding for a couple of reasons. First, the fan feels like they are part of the game, and every one gets to witness their glory for five seconds. But those seconds last forever if it's you on screen.

    Second, the camera guy likes you. If having random strangers think you are attractive and camera-worthy is wrong, I don't want to be right.

    Third, it's a moment in the spotlight. Fans can show their pride, their middle finger, or maybe a creative sign. If the fan is clever enough, the rest of the stadium won't forget who was on the Jumbotron for a long time.

    And who doesn't like being remembered?

23. Go To The Classic Stadiums

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    Anyone can watch sports from the stands. 

    However, only a few get to witness it from some of the classic venues. Make sure you are one of them.

    Wrigley Field and Fenway Park are two must-sees for any baseball fan. Football addicts who haven't visited the Superdome or Lambeau Field should be heckled. And if a fan doesn't hit up Madison Square Garden for some hoops, someone should pass them a plane ticket.

    Or the Drano.

    Everything is different in these original stadiums. It almost feels like Doc Brown and you went back in the DeLorean to watch sports for an evening when you step into one of these legendary landscapes.

    Sadly, tickets to these places don't guarantee a seat next to Christopher Lloyd.

22. Get An Autograph

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    This one might be something you want to cross off the list earlier in life.

    It's pretty lame to be older than the guy signing your cap.

    Regardless, it feels truly special to not only meet a favorite athlete, but have a piece of memorabilia to remember the moment. Sure, it may just be squiggles on some leather, but every time the fan looks at it, he will go straight back to that moment.

    Unless, of course, the athlete was a jerk. Then the autograph goes straight to eBay.

21. Watch An Entire Day Of ESPN

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    ESPN is the only channel that covers such a wide array of sports 24/7, and has the personalities to make it worth watching.

    Sorry, FOX Sports Net, but Rodney Peete just doesn't cut it.

    Guys like Stuart Scott have made themselves into celebrities simply by talking sports all day long. Any true sports fan would love to switch places with these anchors for one day, just to see what it's like.

    But since soul transfusions are still in the lab, this is the next best thing.

    Cook some buffalo wings, grab a frosty brew, find your favorite nook in the couch and just relax. Turn on ESPN and just let it ride. Don't turn it off even if it's the 2007 Dominoes Championship or a replay of a 33-inning, 1-0 baseball game. 

    Essentially, remain comatose with sports. Shouldn't be too hard.

20. Be In A Marathon

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    Notice I said "Be" in a marathon.

    Not run.

    It's very clear how hard it is to participate in this kind of event. Runners train for years just to compete, and the difficulty should not be taken lightly.

    However, it's an activity everyone should do. The L.A. Marathon is open to all people, and, even if you walk the whole way, is a great way to feel active and get into the center of a highly anticipated event.

    Also, if you are a tourist, you also get to see a whole city. Two feet, one stone.

19. See All Of The Big Sports Live

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    With high definition televisions, it's hard to argue against saving the price of a ticket and simply watching from someone's living room.

    Sometimes, however, it's best to open the wallet.

    Going to an arena is a crucial part of being a sports fan, even if it's not a sports you know a lot about. The crowds are so different from one sport to another, no fan knows what the experience is like until they pass through the turnstile.

    The solution? See as many sports live at least once.

    Watch Tiger Woods line up a 50-foot putt. Witness two hockey players make Mike Tyson look civil. Get confused by rugby and cheer at inappropriate times at Australian rules football.

    Unlike Cleveland, we can all be witnesses.

18. Spend a Ton Of Money Traveling To a Game

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    Not everyone has a ton of cash to throw around.

    Some sports fans get jealous when Diddy shows up at a Jets game in the morning and dons the Lakers jersey at Staples Center that same night.

    No fan has to go that far, but they should definitely make a trip.

    Gather up a bunch of buddies, head across country, and cheer on your favorite team. Buy some cheap seats for $25 and have a blast with some beers.

    Yes, airfare costs more than D.J. Mbenga makes in a season and the only hotel room available is a Ritz Carlton presidential suite. Just do a no-look credit card swipe.

17. Take Your Kid To Little League Games

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    This should be prefaced by "Have a kid..."

    Nevertheless, the point still stands.

    Seeing his son or daughter light up like Disneyland after they make the winning shot or save the team is a moment that can make a sports fan's year. Yes, the kid may have botched three straight grounders beforehand, but having a kid that happy must warm a parent's heart.

    Just don't be the parent who argues from the crowd. 

    While it may be hard for me to grasp when since I don't have kids, it's obvious from how many parents push their kids to play sports about the joy it brings. Maybe they want to relive their childhood past, or maybe they realize that it's just great to watch kids having fun.

    Not like that, Roman Polanski.

16. Take Your Family To A Game

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    Speaking of kids, why not bring them to the ballpark?

    Hell, make it a family reunion with Dodger Dogs and $10 cans of Budweiser.

    While it can get pricey at times, a family trip to watch some sports can be very relaxing. Plus, if your wife tries to get your attention, you can just blame the game for being a distraction.

    Or the kids. Or the peanut vendor. It's really convenient.

15. Sit Or Stand On The Sideline

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    Another very pricey task, but one that can definitely not be missed.

    Who wouldn't want to sit between Snoop Dogg and Stephen A. Smith? You'd be deaf and high by the end of the first quarter!

    Every game is so different when close up. Hearing the players curse, smelling the sweat and giving them a high five as the walk to the bench makes fans feel like they are in the action, which is a dream for many a sports enthusiast.

    If that isn't enough, just look at who else is on the sidelines. You won't even see this many celebrities if you just keep E! on the entire day.

    Which I strongly do not suggest.

14. Wear The Road Team's Gear

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    Raiders fans have always been known for their guts, so it makes sense this guy is taunting people in 49ers' territory.

    All sports fans should take a page from his playbook. 

    Throw on the Yankees jersey and sit front and center in Fenway. Wear Lakers gold to the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston. Take your Antonio Cromartie autographed condom and strap it on when heading to Gillette Field.

    Just don't use it afterwards.

    Fans sometimes get afraid of this due to a fear of being heckled. But if you are at the game rooting for the other team, the home fans will hate you regardless. So just go all out and taunt back.

13. Tailgate Way Too Early

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    Some fans don't have the pleasure of doing this because they get shafted with all the early games.

    *cough* Northwestern Football *cough*

    Still, if the local team is lucky enough to have a night game this upcoming weekend, get ready to show up at around 10 a.m. Park the car, turn on the stereo and blast music until the 7 p.m. kickoff.

    Remember to go all-out to. A true sports fan figures out how to bring the Direct TV connection and four televisions with them, so the whole tailgate can watch every game around the country. 

    Oh, and don't go easy on anything. 5 bratwurst will not be enough, so make it 50. Bring a couple changes of clothes and four coolers of every drink from Yoo-Hoo to Absinthe. 

    It should be a party.

12. Go To The Kentucky Derby

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    This is the only "event" on the list, and for good reason.

    Fans at the Derby are part of the most exciting two minutes in sports.

    Fans at home are part of the most boring two days in sports.

    Need I say more?

    Horse racing has lost a lot of steam since the days of yore, but this event is as popular as ever. The entire culture at the Kentucky Derby is not something to be missed, especially for fans who also love sun hats.

    And gambling.

11. Catch A Foul Ball Or Home Run

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    People go absolutely bonkers over catching a ball.

    For good reason.

    In a normal game, around 30 balls may go into the stands. At said game, there are usually more than 30,000 people, making the odds of getting a souvenir roughly 1 in 1,000. 

    Unless at a Tampa Bay Rays game, where the odds are 1 in 2.

    My dad broke his finger trying to catch a foul ball, and he has a story to keep with him the rest of his life. If that's not something worth throwing a kid over a banister for, I don't know what is.

10. Use Sports As An Excuse

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    This isn't supposed to be a dig at USC Trojans fans, they just happen to be the most recent example of this.

    On the opening weekend of the college football season, the men of Troy played in Honolulu, one of the more beautiful vacation spots in the country. It was obvious the perennial powerhouse of Southern California would win.

    So why bother going? Because it's an excuse to take a vacation.

    Leave early from work, spend $600 on a ticket, and go party it up on the beach. Who cares if your wife has to do all the back-to-school shopping for the kids and take them to little league?

    Your team needs you, and that's what matters.

9. Hit A Hole In One

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    Maybe 9A should be "Learn how to golf."

    This can be 9B.

    Sports fans know that their a some moments in life that they will remember forever, and a hole in one is one of them. Even the pros dance around when they hit a one on the scorecard.

    Now imagine how great amateur sports fans could feel. Their first child's birth won't be the picture they keep on your office wall anymore.

    When my grandfather hit his hole-in-one, my grandmother framed his club and ball and put it in their house for everyone to see. He tells the same story about how it happened twice every time I see him, but I can tell it made his life complete.

8. Go To Vegas And Bet Big

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    OK, maybe not like Pete Rose. Just big enough where sweat starts dripping.

    The sports gambling areas in Las Vegas casinos may be the only thing more bustling than Wall Street. Decapitated chickens are running around everywhere, and once you step in, it's almost impossible to step out.

    The key, however, is to find a game and just go wild on it. Sure, you can end up losing a lot of money, but the fact you are already in Vegas shows that money isn't a huge concern.

    For the religious sports fan who thinks gambling is sinning, just know that even God likes the Tennessee Titans as a 5 point favorite over the Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend.

    And Jesus took the over.

7. Dunk

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    No, no one expects the average sports fan to throw down a double pump reverse jam after jumping from nearly the free throw line.

    Although, it would be amazing.

    Dunking is a great feeling. However, holding onto the rim, screaming at the top of your lungs, and making the defense look silly are things that most people can't do in a normal game.

    The solution? Lower the rim or buy a trampoline.

    Sure, it's not a legitimate dunk, but making friends look stupid should be what sports fans love. And when someone asks if you can dunk just go with "I've done it before, I just don't like to show off."

    That makes you a gentlemen, and not a liar.

6. Sit In The Nosebleeds/Bleachers

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    Some people might want me to flip this with sitting on the sidelines.

    They are flat out wrong. The bleachers are the place to be.

    They are home to all the fans who know more about your team than the almanac does. They own jerseys of more than 30 different players, and will wear a different one for each inning.

    Sports fans who like a lively debate will love these seats. Sports fans who like a possible fight will love them even more.

5. Get Extremely Aggressive In a Non-Competitive Game

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    At this point, everyone knows Rex Ryan has quite the potty mouth.

    But that's fine, he's an emotional guy and coaches a team where that language is colloquial.

    So if he can doit, why can't you?

    Sports fans normally have some sort of recreation park league or office party where they can play a little. While it may make you look like a complete jerk, sometimes, it's fun to get hyper-aggressive.

    If it's flag football, call offsides penalties. If it's baseball, yell at your supervisor for calling strike three. If it's basketball, run a box-and-one until the offense turns the ball over, then set up the triangle.

    Just do it once, and you won't want to do it again. But when you win, it will feel amazing.

4. Sit In The Other Team's Student Section

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    See the one guy in the yellow towards the top left of the photo?

    That man is wearing Michigan yellow in the middle of the Notre Dame student section.

    Ballsy, my friend.

    But everyone should take after this fella. Rooting for the other team in the student section can get thing pelted at you, special chants that include more curse words than Bob Knight's diary and plenty of shoving.

    Which makes sense, when you are surrounded by thousands of drunks.

    This may not be for everyone, so sports fans should try it once, and decide from there. If the team the fan likes wins and he gets to celebrate while everyone around them wells up with tears, he's likely to come back for more.

3. Lose A Significant Other Because of Sports

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    Don't worry, no one is naive enough to think those two broke up due to sports.

    Real sports fans, on the other hand, should definitely have it happen at least once. 

    Sure, your girlfriend may have an anniversary reservation at Ruth's Chris Steak House, but the Miami Heat were down 0-2, only to take a 3-2 series lead over the Dallas Mavericks and you have one ticket to the possible championship-clinching game.

    How can you say no? If she loved you, she'd understand.

    Right, ladies?

2. Storm The Field Or Court

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    Only one word describes storming the field:

    Pandemonium.

    People jumping over the railings, sprinting in every directions, tackling and kissing people they don't know and just going complete insane. It's almost like the fans aren't celebrating the victory, but instead playing "Who can look dumbest first?"

    And everyone ends up tying.

    Nevertheless, the fun can not be understated. Sports fans not only get to grace the surface their heroes play on, but celebrate feet away, in a moment of pure joy.

    Also, without storming the field, the world would never have...

1. Tear Down A Goal Post

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    This is something that a very small portion of the population can ever be a part of, because it can't happen at every game.

    The team has to win in such a dramatic fashion that letting 20,000 people on the field to go insane simply isn't enough.

    The victory has to induce vandalism.

    Tearing down a goal post is a memory that people who didn't even attend the game will never forget, and that's saying something. 

    But this entire list is full of things that have that same potential. So which one's do you want to get in on?

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