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Posted: Monday August 10, 2009 11:29AM; Updated: Monday August 10, 2009 11:29AM
Richard Deitsch Richard Deitsch >
VIEWPOINT

My Bucket List

vin-scully.jpg
Vin Scully has been the voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers for more than 50 years.
AP

1. Dodger Stadium broadcast booth

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 of their bucket list but my top pick involves working for a night. I'd like to serve as Scully's stat man for a night game in L.A., helping baseball's Mozart compose another symphony.

2. Permian High (Texas) School football game

My high school Friday nights mainly consisted of driving down Hempstead Turnpike in Long Island, zigzagging through an endless series of would-be Joey Buttafucos. What I missed is the kind of atmosphere author Buzz Bissinger examined in Friday Night Lights, his seminal look at Mojo Pride and what high school football meant to a Texas community. I'd prefer tickets to the Midland or Odessa game, but I'm not picky.

3. Wimbledon

Many moons ago, as a wayward 20-something with a Lonely Planet guide and a Eurorail pass, I made it to the All-England Club. One problem: It was March. I could only sample the museum (nice towels!) and vow to one day return as a ticketholder. Ivan Lendl may have never conquered Wimbledon, but I will make it to tennis' grandest stage before the change-over into the next life.

4. SEC football

I've sat in the Big House, the Rose and Cotton Bowls, but never have I experienced the Iron Bowl, The Battle for the Golden Egg or The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. If you pin me down to one SEC locale, give me the Grove at Ole Miss. You'll find me sitting under a free magnolia tree sampling the black-eyed pea corn bread and fried chicken. The women in sundresses won't hurt the cause either.

5. Duke-North Carolina at Cameron Indoor

It lacks the bloodthirstiness of Celtic-Rangers, but it's the best American sporting rivalry outside of Michigan-Ohio State. "Detestable people," UNC grad and former Esquire editor Will Blythe once called Dukies. I need to judge for myself, preferably among the Cameron Crazies.

My Favorite: The the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

It was my second of four Olympics and my first Summer Games. Along with the general madness of Athens, an intoxicating mix of history and sophistication, the Games marked the scene of the greatest sporting event I've ever witnessed: Standing outside an outdoor café on a tiny street in the Plaka, the oldest part of Athens, I quickly realized I was the lone American among 300 Greeks. All were glued to a 15-foot TV screen watching Greek tennis player Eleni Daniilidou, who played the entire final set against Magdalena Maleeva, of Bulgaria, with a torn thigh muscle. Daniilidou collapsed on the court twice, tears welling in her eyes, before somehow pulling out the victory. Upon winning, Daniilidou collapsed again, the crowd screamed, and I drank frappes free for the rest of the night.

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 ...

Gallery: SI's Bucket Lists
 
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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