1. A Super Bowl that I care aboutBy 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. Ho hum.
No complaints about the seats, which fell along the railing, front and center, of one end zone -- alas not the one where Ben Roethlisberger or Hines Ward scored. But I just couldn't get psyched about the sixth-seeded Steelers against the boooring Seahawks. And at halftime: The Rolling Stones. If I had to choose, I'd say I'm more of a Beatles guy, actually.
Now, in a perfect world I'd have landed such a sweet seating assignment at a game involving the Bears (my favorite team) with a halftime by Prince (my favorite artist). Alas, there I was in 2006, one year early, yawning through Super Bowl XL. (Note: In Super Bowl XLI, the Indianapolis Colts defeated the Chicago Bears 29-17. Prince performed at halftime.)
The gods seem against me on this one. When I was a teenager, my family booked a skydiving outing in southern Florida -- sort of a side trip from our annual Disney World stay. Alas, when we arrived in the morning, the place had burned to the ground. Pretty ominous stuff, and it'll be a while before I build up the courage to try again. If ever.
3. Net a game-winner
I play soccer -- which is to say I try to keep up with former collegiate athletes nearly half my age -- every Friday night in Manhattan. I've been doing it for the past four years, 12 months a year. And in all of my time on the pitch I've buried my fair share of goals, but never one to win a game. In Year One, when my upstart team was particularly miserable, I netted a last-second goal, a complete shanker to tie a much-better team. Back then we were the Senor Swanky All-Stars, named after the crappy NYU Mexican joint where we'd decided to form a squad, and we completely lost our composure, jumping up and down and hugging and acting all infantile. And then we walked away with a tie. Which kind of killed the whole moment.
4. The Running of the Bulls
From above. I'm a sports fan, not an idiot.
5. Win a fantasy football league
I've played every year since sophomore year of high school, back in 1994, when we manually transferred stats from USA Today into a spiral notebook, preferably during calculus class. And though I've many times made the playoffs and even made it to the title game a few times, I've never been able to win the whole thing. Just one championship would be nice. Or I'd settle for a win in an NCAA pool or at Off-Track Betting on the Kentucky Derby. I'm practically oh-fer-ever on both.
My Favorite: 2006 Big East Tournament
Of all the events I've covered, it's those involving teams close to my heart that have stuck, and the 2006 Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden stands out above the rest. Having lived in Syracuse during the Billy Owens/Sherman Douglas era, I developed an affinity for the Orange. My first year at SI (2003), 'Cuse won the title behind 'Melo, but I fell for the freshman Gerry McNamara. An invisible bond was formed. And thus, to witness a senior McNamara carrying the unranked Orange through the first round (a three-pointer with half a second left), the quarters (an OT-forcing three with 5.5 remaining) and the semis (one more three, plus a big assist and a steal in the last .52) has meant the most.