No fan can be everywhere all the time. And as the century draws to a close, some of our scribes have grown a little wistful as they look back, wondering what it might have been like to have sat ringside at Dempsey-Tunney, to have stood on the sideline as Jim Thorpe rumbled by or to have watched from the press box as the Babe called his shot (and to have asked him afterward, as nobody else seems to have: "Babe, what was that about?").
There are a goodly number of events that continue to fire the imagination in ways that next week's 49ers game won't. Jesse Owens getting his gold in front of the smoldering Hitler. Lou Gehrig's speech. And how about that poor guy who ran the wrong way in the Rose Bowl?
Since SI joined the scene in 1954, we've been pretty good at registering the appropriate excitement at the moment—we know the difference between a day at the park and Bill Mazeroski's home run—but we haven't always had genius on our side. Who could possibly have recognized Cassius Clay's first drubbing of Sonny Liston as the beginning of a social, cultural and political revolution? Who's that smart?
It takes time to sort out stuff like that. So we asked our writers to look back, to sift through all the plays and games that changed the world, and many that didn't, and to choose the one they most wish they'd seen. So, if you will, grant us the power of omniscience (of omnipresence!) while we return to Fenway and Pimlico and Wimbledon and enjoy the views.