The avid sports fan —admittedly, I’m part of that constituency — loves the big events. Every month, seemingly, has its big games, its big events, its season-ending championships. But if you were limited to only one per year, which big event would you choose to absorb from the comfort of your couch and the embarrassment of the largest TV screen on the market?
Here’s my countdown, from 10 to No. 1, of the best events to watch.
10. Wimbledon finals — The most prestigious tennis tournament in the world has its women’s and men’s finals on a Saturday-Sunday in mid-July and because of the time difference between England and Western Canada, the men’s final is shown early on a Sunday morning. But definitely worth setting the alarm for.
9. Canadian Grand Prix — The mid-June Formula One event shows off the beauty of Montreal. It’s where Lewis Hamilton won his first ever race in 2007.
8. Kentucky Derby — Not a horse-racing buff, nor do any of the horse’s names strike a chord, but there’s something about the big race on the first Saturday in May that makes it must-see TV.
7. Super Bowl — The sports event with historically the largest viewing audience is something I rarely miss, but some of the lesser playoff games (involving underdog wildcard teams, etc.) are actually more compelling.
6. Game 7 of the World Series — Now, if my Atlanta Braves are involved, this number moves up in the rankings, but generally speaking, baseball’s ultimate game has to be on every sports fan’s must-see schedule.
5. Grey Cup — I’d pick the Grey Cup over the Super Bowl any year, and I will in this column. Maybe it’s the flag-waving involved, but Grey Cup Sunday is like a national holiday.
4. Scotties final — Curling is such a great sport for TV, and the best women’s teams in Canada do battle to see who goes to the world championship. Watch the Scotties all week, and then see the final on Sunday evening.
3. Brier final — So call me sexist, placing the men’s final ahead of the women’s. They’re both great, but the Brier has more history — and usually a stronger field.
2. Game 7, Stanley Cup final — Hopefully the drama of a Game 7 occurs every year. The hockey season is long (far too long, according to my wife), so the finality of a Game 7 can’t be missed.
1. Masters Sunday — Yes, if I was being punished and could only watch one sports event on one day in a year, it would have to be the final round of the Masters. The Augusta National course is beautiful, it’s the start of spring, always a strong field. Give me a soft couch, some potato chips and a soft drink, and Jim Nantz saying hello to all his friends.
- Larry Brooks of the New York Post, after the Rangers were eliminated in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs by New Jersey Devils: “The Luxury Liner known as The Good Ship Ranger turned into the S.S. Minnow while sailing to and fro across the Hudson, springing so many leaks that it simply sunk into a river of despair.”
- Janice Hough of leftcoastsportsbabe.com: “How much worse do the Oakland A's have to look before Las Vegas says, ‘Never mind, don't come, we're holding out for a major league baseball team?’”
- Bob Molinaro of pilotonline.com (Hampton, Va.), on Saturday, May 5: “With the Derby in Louisville and the coronation of King Charles in London, Saturday will be a big day for silly hats.”
- Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “With the Oakland A's moving to Vegas, the Tampa Bay Rays are now on the relocation clock (Note: Rays, riding an historic 14-game home winning streak, drew 9,900 fans to last night's game.)”
- Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, on the brilliance of Warriors’ Steph Currie: “New rule: Curry baskets don't count unless he beats three defenders (minimum).”
- RJ Currie of sportsdeke.com: “A Minnesota mom sank a half-court shot at Bethany Academy in Bloomington. She got $4,000 off her daughter’s tuition and a contract offer from the Detroit Pistons.”
- Another one from Currie: “Reuters reports a Chinese farmer has invented a zipline so his pigs literally fly from one truck to another. In a related item, after 11 straight failures, the Maple Leafs finally won an elimination game.”
- Headline at fark.com: “Leon Draisaitl becomes the first NHL player to score four goals in a losing effort since yesterday.” (Joe Pavelski of Dallas did the same thing the night before.)
- Steve Simmons of SunMedia.com: “Do you remember that (the Leafs’ Brendan) Shanahan offered a front office position to Kelly McCrimmon when he was running the Brandon Wheat Kings? McCrimmon stayed in junior hockey and then left for Vegas, where he is currently GM. The Golden Knights have won eight playoff rounds in McCrimmon’s time in Vegas. The Leafs have won eight in the past 24 years.”
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