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Derby definitely a 'bucket list' event

Columnist Bruce Penton writes about his sporting event 'bucket list'
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Now that the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby is in the books, it’s time to bemoan the fact that Louisville’s Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May remains unvisited by your weekly sports columnist.

If you’re a real sports fan — and you must have at least a passing interest or you probably wouldn’t be reading these words — then drinking mint juleps, joining more than 150,000 people outdoors on a Saturday afternoon in Kentucky —many of them wearing colourfully weird hats — and watching the horses parade in the paddock prior to the run for the roses is probably on your sports bucket list.

If money were no object, and family and work commitments were low, I’d purchase one of those open-ended plane tickets and fly around the globe catching some of the best the sports world has to offer. Getting tickets to a UFC main event wouldn’t be on the list, but just about everything else where they keep score would be up for consideration.

How long is your list?

Here’s mine, in no particular order:

— The aforementioned Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby.

— The Brickyard in Indianapolis for the Indy 500. Not that I’m a big auto racing fan, but there’s something to be said for iconic events in famous locations, and that certainly ranks.

— Augusta National Golf Course in April when the Masters is played. If you have enough cash, and you know ‘some people’ you can probably get tickets. Many of my friends and relatives have ticked this one off their bucket list, but it remains merely a dream for me.

— A Premier League soccer game in Wembley Stadium, preferably featuring Man U.

— Courtside seats at Wimbledon in July.

— A Stanley Cup final series.

— Every game in a World Series, preferably played in Atlanta and Boston, because the Braves have been my team for more than 60 years and Fenway Park is … well, it’s Fenway Park. Yankee Stadium is in my ‘been there, done that’ category.

— One more: The hillside beside the island green at TPC Sawgrass, where the Players Championship is held in March. The trickiest and scariest 9-iron or wedge shot in golf.

What would be on your list?

  • RJ Currie of sportsdeke.com: “Johnny Manziel has split up with Bre Tiesi after just one year of marriage. The guy has spent more time in detox than he did in wedlock.”
  • Janice Hough of leftcoastsportsbabe.com: “Tight end Benjamin Watson, who said he would retire after 2018 with Saints, now is considering returning to NFL for 16th season. ‘The first time is the hardest,’ said Brett Favre.”
  • Patti Dawn Swansson in the River City Renegade, on the future of Jets’ Nikoli Ehlers:  “He’s paid to score. Instead, he’s doing triple salchows and sit spins, like he’s auditioning for Ice Capades.”
  • Norman Chad of the Washington Post, on Twitter: “I just watched third period of Golden Knights-Sharks game. Knights got a terrible, terrible call – uh, it happens – then allowed four power-play goals in four minutes. I think they robbed themselves.”
  • RJ Currie again: “Manitoba curlers Reid Carruthers and Mike McEwen said they didn’t team up years ago, because they were on successful squads. Now they’ve joined forces to form a highly unsuccessful team.”
  • Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times: “Oregon is producing more marijuana than it can legally sell, as in a surplus of 1 million pounds. In a related story, demands to be traded to the Portland Trail Blazers just shot through the roof.”
  • Perry again: “An Arizona woman was jailed after sending 159,000 texts to a man after just one date. Thus breaking the record previously set by overzealous Alabama fans to a five-star recruit.”
  • Comedy writer Jim Barach, on the Babe Ruth jersey expected to fetch $4.5 million at auction: “It was ruled authentic after researchers found traces of three mustard and two beer stains.”
  • Comedian Argus Hamilton, after a bobcat attacked a Connecticut golfer who ventured into the rough: “The USGA immediately put the course in the U.S. Open rotation.”
  • Bob Molinaro, of pilotonline.com after the Hampton Roads (Va.) market finished No. 1 this season for percentage of TVs tuned into NBA games on ESPN and ABC: “We like our sports around here. As long as it doesn’t require buying tickets.”
  • Patti Dawn Swansson again, on Winnipeg Jets’ off-season challenges: “Thirty-goal men Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine, along with top-pair defender Jacob Trouba, will line up like oinkers at a feed trough. Snort, snort snort…munch, munch, munch. There goes the salary cap.”
  • Another one from Dwight Perry: “Colts owner Jim Irsay forked over $718,750 to buy John Lennon’s famed piano. Hey, Jim, when the player-personnel people said they wanted Peppers, they meant Julius, not Sgt.”

Care to comment? Email brucepenton2003@yahoo.ca