I’m not a massive sports nut. Apart from swimming, I haven’t played any other type of sport for over 10 years. I do however, like most Aussies, love watching it!
My favourite sport is definitely tennis and I follow along with how the Aussies are doing throughout the year and always try to get to a match over the summer in Sydney.
I’m also an Aussie Rules (AFL) fan, supporting the Sydney Swans. Mick is a die hard fan and during AFL sessions we have to organise our life around him catching the matches on the TV or seeing the occasional game live. I have never heard the end of it from Mick about organising two overseas trips that coincided with grand final weekends. Oops!
With Super Bowl on in the US last week I started reflecting on some of the great sporting events and venues I have been lucky enough to visit around the world over the past few years. This led me to thinking about the great sporting events around the world that I still haven’t gotten to but hope to someday soon.
So for all you sport mad travellers out there, here the sporting event I have managed to catch around the world so far and a few I am hoping to very soon.
Wimbledon tickets can be pretty hard to get your hands on. You can register in the Public Ballot around December each year and hope it comes through. Join “The Queue” as they call it, outside the venue and hope to be one of the lucky ones who gets in. Then there is how I got my tickets. The day before play on Ticketmaster they release several hundred tickets to centre court and court no.3. I have been lucky enough on two occasions now to get these Ticketmaster tickets on centre court.
Being a massive tennis fan, walking into Wimbledon was a dream come true. I felt quite overwhelmed and even little teary entering through the gates into what is regarded the home of tennis.
Sitting on centre court for two days I got to watch all the big names in tennis, Federer, Nadal, Murray, Williams, Sharapova, Na and my personal favourite Lleyton Hewitt. Despite my seats being up in the nose bleeds it was an incredible experience that I hope I can do again one day.
Baseball in NYC
When we decided to go to the US in 2012 one of the things we simply had to do was watch a Baseball game. I played a lot of Softball as a kid and although I don’t follow Baseball I really like it and understand the rules.
I would have loved to have seen a game at Yankee Stadium but unfortunately there wasn’t any being played during our sevens days in NYC. There was however a Mets game being played at Citi Field in Queens. After doing some research I found the best way to get tickets was direct through the Mets website.
We wanted the experience to be as stereotypical as possible including eating giant hot dogs purchased from the vendors walking the aisles, waving foam finger’s purchased from the merchandise stand and yelling “Charge” with the other revellers when the da da da da dada song played. And we did all of it!
We got to see a few home runs and sliders into the plate and of course our team, The Mets beat The Phillies giving us something the cheer about at the end of the game.
Sumo in Japan
When we decided to visit Japan last year, one of the first things we looked into was whether there were any Sumo matches being held in the cities we were visiting. Not only were we luckily enough to catch some Sumo in Tokyo it just happened to be the Grand Sumo Tournament held six times a year and it was Grand Final day!
I did a lot of research about where to get tickets as most of the official websites are in Japanese and being the Grand Final we didn’t want to risk trying to get tickets on the day and miss out. I ended up finding this website who specialise in Sumo ticket for English speaking people. They managed to get us some really good seats and post our tickets out to Australia.
A day at the Sumo is a whole day. Matches start at about 9am and the day finishes up at about 5pm. We spent a few hours in the later part of the day watching the best of the best battle against one another until the Grand Champion was crowned. Watching the sumo’s go through their rituals and intimidation techniques was quite something to behold. And just as interesting is watching the normally quite reserved Japanese people get so passionate about their sport and their favourite sumo’s.
It was another great experience that I think anyone with the opportunity to experience this interesting sport should go for it.
Cricket at Lord’s
The home of Cricket in the UK and one of the most historic sporting venues in the world. We go tickets and went along to a county T20 match a few year back while living in London. I would have loved to have seen an international match between the Aussies and the Poms but our budget doesn’t stretch far enough to be able to afford the notoriously expensive Ashes tickets.
The ground lived up to my expectations especially the beautiful (if you will allow me to use such a word to describe a sporting field) members pavilion. The atmosphere was electric and the crowd of family’s and die hard cricket fans were all supporting there team with passion and enthusiasm.
It was the perfect day out of beers and great mates enjoying cricket at one of the worlds best venues.
Rugby at Wembley
While living in London I become very patriotic to my country and whenever there was a major sporting event involving an Aussie team you would either find me at a pub at 5am watching a live stream from across the world or on one occasion watching the Aussie Rugby League team play at Wembley Stadium.
It was a double header (four teams, two matches, one night) with the Aussies playing and beating England and the Kiwis playing and smashing Wales.
Decked out in our green and gold beanie’s and scarves, we drank beer, sang songs, booed the umpires and opposition and participated in one too many Mexican waves. It was a fun night out at one of the best sporting venues I have been in to date.
Now for the sporting events I’d still love to get to.
Soccer (or football depending on where your from)
Although I am not much of a Soccer fan I have heard that the atmosphere at a Soccer match is second to none. When living in London we tried on many occasions to organise a group to head out to a match but it just never happened.
Hopefully one day, maybe in South America, I can catch a passionate game of Soccer.
Basketball in the US
Basketball is another sport I have a slight connection to having played the less contact version of Netball most of my childhood. I find netball so boring to watch but have managed to catch the odd basketball game on the TV over the years and it looks so much more exciting.
When I travel to LA in the next few years I will be looking to go to an LA Lakers match for sure!
Ice Hockey in Canada
Made famous in Canada, watching an Ice Hockey game would be an awesome experience to have on my trip to Canada in the next few years.
I want to see the guys slam each other against the barriers right in front of me, fighting to defend their hockey puck. It that a little cruel of me?
Tennis (yes more)
Did I mention I love tennis.
High up on my bucket list is to visit all four tennis grand slams one day. Having already accomplished one, Wimbledon, I am yet to make it to the Australian, US and French Opens.
With the Australian Open being just a short flight away from me in Sydney I don’t know how this one has escaped me to date but hopefully I can get down to Melbourne in the next few years and tick this one off my list.
Over to you now. What great sporting events have you seen in your travels or which ones are you hoping to get to?
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