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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    Mike Powell/Getty Images

    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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    LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28:  ICC director Giles Clarke (3rdR), MCC President John Barclay (2ndR) and Yorkshire CCC Chairman Colin Graves (R) present a commemorative cap to Herbert Sutcliffe's daughter-in-law Laurel (3rdL) and grandchildren Victoria (2ndL
    Tom Shaw/Getty Images

    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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    NEW YORK - APRIL 16:  Owner George Steinbrenner (R) is seen on the jumbotron during an opening day ceremony at the new Yankee Stadium on April 16, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City. This is the first regular season MLB game being played at the ne
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    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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    HAMPTON, GA - SEPTEMBER 04:  Dale Earnhardt Jr. (R), driver of the #88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, signs his autograph for fans during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Emory Healthcare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on September 4, 2010 i
    John Harrelson/Getty Images

    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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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 14:  ESPN talent Stuart Scott and guest arrive at the 2010 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 14, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images for ESPY)
    Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images

    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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    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 16:  Australian winter Olympic gold medallist Torah Bright and Glenn McGrath pose during a Sydney Running Festival Press Conference at Sydney Opera House on September 16, 2010 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Ge
    Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

    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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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 17:  Actor David Arquette sits courtside at Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals at Staples Center between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers on June 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowl
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    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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    PAU, FRANCE - JULY 20: Tens of thousands of fans lined the roads of stage 16 of the Tour de France on July 20, 2010 in Pau, France. The stage, between Bagneres-de-Luchon and Pau, featured four major climbs including the Col du Tourmalet. French rider Pier
    Spencer Platt/Getty Images

    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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    SOUTH WILLAMSPORT, PA - AUGUST 29:  Justice Nakagawa #10 of the United States Little League team fields a ground ball during the game against Japan on August 29, 2010 in South Willamsport, Pennsylvania. Japan went on to win the Little League World Series
    Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

    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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    MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 15: Expelled Ajax player Luis Suarez (R) hold his baby daughter Delfina while seated next to his wife Sofia prior to the start of the UEFA Champions League group G match between Real Madrid and Ajax at the Estadio Santiago Bernab
    Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

    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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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 15:  Rapper Snoop Dogg talks with radio host Stephen A. Smith as they sits courtside in Game Six of the 2010 NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on June 15, 2010 in Los Angeles, Califor
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    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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    SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 18:  An Oakland Raiders fan celebrates a Raiders touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during a pre-season game at Monster Park August 18, 2007 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Greg Trott/Getty Images)
    Greg Trott/Getty Images

    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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    SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 04: Fans tailgate outside of Notre Dame Stadium before a game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Purdue Boilermakers at Notre Dame Stadium on September 4, 2010 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty I
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    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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    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 16:  World champion racehorse Big Brown is paraded at the Inglis Stables on August 16, 2010 in Sydney, Australia. The American horse has earned four group 1 wins in his career including victory at the Kentucky Derby and will ent
    Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

    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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    SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 15:  Fans react to a foul ball by Marco Scutaro #16 of the Boston Red Sox during the game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 15, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    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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    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 24:  Fans of the USC Trojans dressed in team colors wave pon pons and yellow towels in the autumn sun during the game against the Oregon State Beavers on October 24, 2009 at the Los Angeles Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.  U
    Jeff Golden/Getty Images

    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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    LEMONT, IL - SEPTEMBER 12:  Dustin Johnson reacts after making a putt on the 18th green to win the BMW Championship at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club on September 12, 2010 in Lemont, Illinois.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    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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    CINCINNATI - SEPTEMBER 12:  Pete Rose waves to the crowd during the Pittsburgh Pirates game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark on September 12, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    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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    NEW YORK - AUGUST 15:  Rudy Gay #8 of the United States goes up for the dunk against France during their exhibition game as part of the World Basketball Festival at Madison Square Garden on August 15, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Ima
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    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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    BOSTON - AUGUST 01:  A view from the bleacher seats in the second inning of the game between the Detroit Tigers and the Boston Red Sox on August 1, 2010 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
    Elsa/Getty Images

    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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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 13:  Head coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets yells from the sideline during their home opener against the Baltimore Ravens at the New Meadowlands Stadium on September 13, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    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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    SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 04: Players from the Notre Dame Fighting Irish walk to the field through the student section for warm-ups before a game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Notre Dame Stadium on September 4, 2010 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dam
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    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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    PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 21:  Honorary Standford Cardinal captain Tiger Woods his daugher, Sam, and wife, Elin Nordegren, stand on the sidelines before the Cardinal game against the California Bears at Stanford Stadium on November 21, 2009 in Palo Alto, C
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    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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    WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - APRIL 24:  Fans storm the pitch after the Barclays Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers at Molineux on April 24, 2010 in Wolverhampton, England.  (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    Only one word describes storming the field:


    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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    BERKELEY, CA - NOVEMBER 23:  Fans of the California Golden Bears tear down a goalpost following the 105th Big Game against the Stanford Cardinal at Memorial Stadium on November 23, 2002 in Berkeley, California.  California won 30-7.  (Photo by: Donald Mir
    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    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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