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Posted: Monday August 10, 2009 11:29AM; Updated: Monday August 10, 2009 11:29AM
Jack McCallum Jack McCallum >

My Bucket List

The author fell in love with Wimbledom in 1976 while watching Bjorn Borg win one of his string of five straight championships at the All England Club.

1. World Series

In 1980, I was covering the Philadelphia Phillies for a newspaper in Allentown, Pa., when, in early August, I left to take a job at the now defunct Baltimore News-American. So I missed that team's memorable run to the 1980 championship. After a short time in Baltimore I left to become the baseball beat writer for the now defunct Philadelphia Bulletin -- I've worked for four newspapers and three of them are now dead; I hope there's no connection -- but never covered that 1981 team because I took a job at SI. So though I've come closer, I've never covered the granddaddy of America's professional sports pastimes.

2. Wimbledon

In 1976, my wife and I were bumming around London and somehow scraped together a few shillings for Wimbledon tickets during the second week. We saw Bjorn Borg in action in the first of what turned out to be five straight championships. We both fell in love with the whole strawberries-and-cream scene, and, though I've been back to Merry Olde, I've never made it back to Wimbledon.

3. The Ironman

I have a son who as of last year decided that he wanted to swim, bike and run himself into exhaustion. He's done it five times, including one half-ironman, and now he wants to take on the entire 2.4-mile swim/112-mile bike ride/full marathon boat next year. I've fallen in love with the whole thing ... as long as I'm just watching with a full complement of ice water.

4. Palio

During a recent vacation in Italy, we spent a day in Siena, whose grandest attraction, the Piazza del Campo, is also the site of one of sports' craziest events. Twice a year, on July 2 and Aug. 16, bareback riders take off on three wild laps around the square, on which a thick layer of dirt has been laid. Invariably, a jockey or two gets tossed. Italy loves a pageant under any circumstance, and this one must be insane.

5. National Senior Games

I read a story recently about a 100-year-old tennis player, who also competes in the Senior Games, which I never knew existed. This year's Games are in San Francisco in August. I mean, how cool is it that there's a 90-94 division ... in the freakin' pole vault? What's the winning height, 2 feet, 6 inches? With my 60th birthday hard upon me, I'd like to find at least one event in which to compete. When I get older, of course.

My All-time Favorite

I've covered several Super Bowls, a few Finals Fours, too-many-to-count NBA Finals and only one Masters. I'll take the Masters. Compelling storylines invariably develop over four days, and you can't find a more pleasing venue at which to do your work. Plus, you can sneak out to play a round or two, and the pimento sandwiches at the course take care of hunger pangs.

SI's Bucket Lists
Kelli Anderson
I love tennis, but I've never covered it at the professional level. Why not start at a Grand Slam in my favorite city? I know the red clay at Roland Garros poses a grueling test for the world's best players ...

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Lars Anderson
NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson had the ultimate "Man's Day" -- his term -- a few years back when he was on the sidelines for both the AFC and NFC championship games. (A bottle of Grey Goose also was involved.)

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Michael Bamberger
Mavericks, in Half Moon Bay, Calif., a half-hour south of San Francisco is one of the best large-size surf breaks in the world. As I can barely stand on two feet of warm Atlantic mush, the idea of surfing one of the most radical waves in all of wavedom ...

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Mark Beech
When it comes to watching livestock race through the streets of an ancient European city, this turf writer remains partial to the 90-second spectacle of the Palio di Siena. Twice a year, every July and August, the cobblestones of this Tuscan hill town's Piazza del Campo are covered with a thick layer of dirt, and its stone walls are layered ...

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Richard Deitsch
The legends now broadcast from the booth in the sky: Mel Allen and Red Barber came and went long before my time; Harry Kalas recently passed and Ernie Harwell has long retired. Only Vin Scully remains, a lyrical constant between Jackie Robinson and Manny Ramirez. Others will rank exotic sports destinations at the top ...

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Adam Duerson
By some stroke of luck I got to attend Super Bowl XL in 2006 as a "photo assistant" (meaning that I had to hand rolls of film to Walter Iooss Jr., who sat next to me, every several minutes). It was the Steelers versus the Seahawks ...

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Michael Farber
Bone weary of a manicured lawn and you-da-man/in-the-hole galleries, and distinctly unmoved by the self-consciousness of Augusta, I yearn for golf au natural. A little rain. A lot of wind. Gore-Tex instead of Spandex. Bump and runs. Fescue up to Anthony ...

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Damon Hack
I don't remember my first brush with Wimbledon, but my mom does. I was 3 years old in the summer of 1975 when Arthur Ashe defeated Jimmy Connors in the men's final, a moment that she celebrated by picking me up, holding me in front of the television ...

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Lee Jenkins
I have never been to Omaha, but I imagine a baseball utopia smack in the heartland where for two weeks every June teams from the South and West Coast gather to eat grade-A steak and settle the one major college championship that is still relatively pure. I watch at least half-a-dozen games on television every year ...

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Peter King
Not sure where, but in places like Billings, Mont., and Casper, Wyo., with the sun setting over the left-field fence, with purple mountains majesty above thy fruited plain. Preferably with a local microbrew in my right hand.

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Tim Layden
I was once a good runner. Not Olympic/NCAA good, but better-than-most-road racers good. I ran 32:50 for 10K and 50:59 for 15K and several times tried training for a marathon, but on each occasion got injured. This was 25 years ago ...

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Jack McCallum
In 1980, I was covering the Philadelphia Phillies for a newspaper in Allentown, Pa., when, in early August, I left to take a job at the now defunct Baltimore News-American. So I missed that team's memorable run to the 1980 championship ...

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S.L. Price
I really wanted to do this when it was run on the purist Paris-Dakar route -- the ultimate marriage of wine and dust -- but instability in Africa the last few years has led the looniest road race on the planet to be cancelled or moved to South America ...

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Alan Shipnuck
I grew up in the area and have attended the tournament since I was a kid, spellbound by the beauty of Pebble Beach and intoxicated by the commingling of golf and entertainment royalty. A 49ers fan is never going to get inside the huddle but every year 150 or so regular guys -- albeit well-connected and usually filthy rich ...

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Gary Van Sickle
Hockey, like baseball, is a game of anticipation. Except there's not much anticipation factor during a Vancouver-Columbus game in January. Ah, but the Stanley Cup playoffs are different. Every game is vital. Every rush up the ice you can feel the excitement swell. This is the time, this is the play something could actually happen!

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Alex Wolff
In the magazine I've described Duke and North Carolina in basketball as "the one rivalry all other rivalries secretly wish to be." But I don't stand by that comment quite as stoutly as I would if I'd seen the Tigers play the Tide, a feud I've been curious ...

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