In addition to travel, one of my greatest passions is following sports. Luckily these passions are linked, as traveling to see live sporting events is an incredibly fun experience (and more viable than ever if you stay with locals on Tripping)!
Here is my list of the best sporting events to see while traveling this summer:
1. Any World Cup Match – Now until July 11th, South Africa
The World Cup is one of the biggest sporting events in the world and, with national pride at stake in every match, Cape Town is an exciting place to be right now. But only go if you can stand the sound of those vuvuzelas!
2. Formula 1′s British Grand Prix – July 11th, Silverstone, UK
The halfway point in the Formula 1 Championship, this race will be an absolutely amazing experience for many reasons. First, the racetrack at Silverstone always makes for a fun and exciting race, even for those who haven’t followed F1 since they were 6 (I have, so everything is exciting to me). Second, it is the British Grand Prix in a year when a British team (McLaren) is winning the constructors’ championship with its two British drivers (Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button) leading the drivers’ championship. And Button (2009) and Hamilton (2008) are the two most recent F1 Champions. The story lines almost write themselves. So if you love sports and have never been to an F1 race, pack your bag and head to the UK.
3. A Stephen Stasburg Start – Every 5th Day, Washington, D.C.
For those who don’t follow Major League Baseball, Stephen Stasburg is the latest, and potentially greatest, phenom pitcher to hit baseball. He’s been hailed as the savior of the Washington Nationals ever since they drafted him last summer. Since hitting the big leagues earlier this month, Strasburg and his 98 mile-per-hour fastball have dominated, striking out 53 batters in only 36.2 innings pitched (trust me, those are gaudy numbers indeed). If you can make it to Washington DC next Friday, there’s a good chance you’ll see one of the next great pitchers.
4. Any game at AT&T Park – April to October, San Francisco, CA
This may be my San Francisco Giants homerism showing through, but AT&T Park is absolutely the best stadium to see a baseball game. If you’re visiting San Francisco you’ve got to go to a game – from the classic SF Garlic Fries to the home runs hit into the Bay to the incredible views from the upper deck, the stadium offers memorable experience for any sports fan. Ticket prices can be slightly expensive, so stay with a Tripping member while in San Francisco to save money for those delicious ballpark hotdogs!
5. Tour de France – July 3rd to July 29th, Rotterdam to Paris
Can Lance Armstrong win again? He placed 3rd last year after taking a three year break from 2006 to 2008. A break which, as we all know, was preceded by an unrivaled 7 consecutive Tour de France wins. Armstrong will be fighting last year’s champion, Alberto Contador, for the title. For those who want to see this historic event in person, follow ESPN columnist Rick Reilly’s advice: “Pick a climbing stage, bring friends and a bike, ride the course in the morning before the race (you’re allowed), have lunch in a hamlet atop some exquisite Alp, watch the heart-skipping finish, have a bottle of Bordeaux, spend the night, bike down in the morning. Rinse and repeat.” Indeed.
6. The Ashes – October 2010 to January 2011, Australia
The Ashes is a biennial series of cricket matches between the English team and the Australian team. It is widely known as one of international cricket’s biggest rivalries, as the series dates back to 1882. The teams play a series of 5 matches all over the host country (in this case Australia), any one of will be an incredible experience as England attempts to hold the Ashes that it won back from Australia in 2009. Sporting rivalries rarely have as much history behind them as this one does, and the history definitely informs and enriches the action. If you’re in Australia later this year, one of these matches should be high on your to-do list. Of course, be ready for a long sporting event – the Ashes is “test cricket”, the longer form of cricket that is considered a test of endurance for the players.
7. The U.S. Open - August 30th to September 12th, Flushing Meadows, NY
The U.S. Open is one of tennis’ four major tournaments, and also one of the four tennis events I actually watch regularly. Like the British Grand Prix, this tournament will be all about the story lines. Roger Federer is one of the greatest players to ever play the game, but he has not been nearly as dominant in the last couple years as he was in his heyday. Meanwhile, his rival, the much younger Rafael Nadal, is slowly but surely gaining on Federer as the number one player in the world. The tension alone (heightened by the near silence that tennis matches require of their fans while the match is being played) is worth a trip to NY.
Are you traveling to any of these events? If you are, please tell us all about it so we can live vicariously through you and share your story with other Trippers!