My Bucket List
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.
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.