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Posted: Monday August 10, 2009 11:27AM; Updated: Monday August 10, 2009 3:20PM
Michael Bamberger Michael Bamberger >
VIEWPOINT

My Bucket List

maverick.jpg
At Mavericks, wipeouts, like this one for Darryl "Flea" Virostko in a 2008 competition, are often an unfortunate end result.
Daniel R. Harris/Icon SMI

1. Surf Mavericks

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 is thrilling, and fantastical. I also think it would be an effective way to deal with one of my phobias: fear of death.

2. Sail (From Jacksonville, Fla., to Key West in a Sunfish)

The Sunfish is one of the simplest and most elegant boat designs ever and a low-tech pleasure. I love the idea of sailing with no itinerary, just beaching the boat each night, setting up camp, catching a fish for dinner, and moving on, like a modern-day Thoreau, albeit with a credit-card and cell phone.

3. Spy

I'd like to be a fly-on-the-wall in the locker room at an NCAA championship men's basketball game at halftime in a tied game. With permission to write about everything I see and hear. I think the mix of Xs and Os strategerizing -- that's a new word, I believe -- coupled with the mental coaxing that must go on would be utterly fascinating. You'd have grown men relying on kids and kids relying on grown men with 20 minutes left to secure one of the great prizes in American sport.

4. Pinch hit

Preferably, I'd deliver a game-winning hit off the bench in a major-league baseball game. I have a recurring dream/nightmare in which I'm on the 1990 Phillies and every day I check the lineup card and every day I'm not listed. I'm on the team, but not doing anything to earn my keep. Very frustrating. If I could get just one at-bat, I think maybe I could bury that nightmare forever. A hit, of course, is better than a strike-out looking. Also, one at-bat would get you into the Baseball Encyclopedia. Which would be nice.

5. Bowl a perfect game

Now this is asking a lot, possibly even more than the goal to surf Mavericks, as my best game is maybe 172 and I roll the ball dead straight. But there are so few things that one can do perfectly, and rolling 300 is one of them. I also think that, with instruction and lane time, the ordinary bowler has a much better chance of narrowing the gap with the world's best bowlers than one would have the chance to do with most other individual sports.

My Favorite: Pakistan vs. India men's field hockey

The best event I ever attended was Pakistan-India men's field hockey at the 1996 Olympics. I'm not an ardent follower of men's field hockey, but I got swept up in the excitement: 50,000 screaming fans on a sultry Atlanta day, unwilling to sit down for even a minute. It didn't matter if you didn't know the name of a single player, you left drenched.

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Kelli Anderson
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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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