Our time away from work – the other half of that elusive work-life balance – is often frittered away, as we veg out in front of the television and find ourselves returning to work unfulfilled. If you are a sports fan – or perhaps even if you aren’t – Robert Tuchman has 100 ways for you to invigorate your off time, so you’ll be more refreshed (and have some stories to tell) when you return to the office.
A sports fan himself, Mr. Tuchman operates a New York-based company, Skylight Entertainment, which creates packages for fans to attend fabled sporting events. In some cases, companies buy tickets to thank clients, reward staff, or offer as a tantalizing prize in a sales contest. But often it’s regular folk buying tickets so they can attend a dream event.
It starts with The Masters golf tournament, continues with soccer’s World Cup, includes the Indy 500 and Professional Bull Riders World Cup, and concludes with an Ultimate Fighting Championship title fight. You may relax with some of those already, slumped on the couch on weekends, but he believes you can get more joy in your life by attending them in person.
“Is the life of a sports fan lived in front of the television a life lived to the fullest? What about the experience of actually being there and seeing it all without the need for commentary or commercials? The sights. The sounds. The smells,” he writes.
At the 2006 World Cup in Germany, sharing the experience with thousands of others from around the world, he decided to put together a book, 100 Sporting Events You Must See Live – the cream of the sporting crop, with background on each event, and tips on getting tickets, travel packages and accommodations.
It’s an eclectic list, developed after lively debates with sports fans. At the top is The Masters, even though he isn’t a golf fan.
“It’s an incredible experience, going to Augusta in early spring. It’s like a trip to sports Mecca for people,” he says in an interview.
With his previous company, TSE Sports & Entertainment, he oversaw charters of Canadians down for a day during the tournament, 200 to 300 people leaving in the early morning at a cost of $1,000 to $1,500.
“It’s our largest event for the Canadian market – even more so than the Stanley Cup and other major events. They tear it up,” he says with a laugh. “They have fun. They enjoy themselves.”
You may not have attended The Masters, but you may have attended the event in 30th place on his list: A Montreal Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs game in Toronto. Other Canadian events on the list are The Stanley Cup (well, sometimes Canadian) in 11th spot, Calgary Stampede at 43, and the World Junior Hockey Championship (often in Canada) at 92.
Mr. Tuchman has attended 45 of the events himself, but is behind Lesley Visser, recently selected as the top female sports broadcaster of all time, and her husband, Fox broadcaster Dick Stockton, who are nearing 60 events.
His favourite “Canadian” event was the seventh game of the 1994 Stanley Cup finals between the Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers. The Rangers are his team, and they won at home, 2–1 in double overtime: “That’s the most exciting event I ever went to. People don’t realize how great a live event hockey is. The Stanley Cup is incredible to watch.”
Many people, of course, use these events to mix business and pleasure. But others use it as a chance to take a child on a memorable trip, forge a closer bond with a fellow sports fan, or enjoy locales like London (Wimbledon), Paris (Tour de France) or Indianapolis (Indy 500).
As for the running of the bulls, Mr. Tuchman doesn’t recommend the frantic scramble itself unless you are fleet of foot and in good shape. But it is still a vivid experience, as you hang over the fences, remember Hemmingway’s description, and watch the unusual race between humans and animals.
“Most of the people we send just watch. They’re a bit older – probably more sane. They have families. It was always something I wanted to do until I had kids.”
You may have to surrender your digital devices at some important business meetings, but what about when you check into a hotel? If you are at the hotel to relax, why not? It makes sense, and so surrendering laptops, cell phones and PDAs is part of the Zen and Art of Detox package, continuing until Sept. 25, at Mariott’s Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel, as reported by Springwise.com.
100 Sporting Events You Must See Live
5.Army vs. Navy Football Game
6.New York City Marathon
9.Red Sox vs. Yankees at Yankee Stadium
10.UNC vs. Duke Basketball Game at Cameron Indoor Stadium
13.Tour De France
14.Cubs Game at Wrigley Field
15.BCS National Championship Game in New Orleans
16.Liverpool vs. Manchester United at Old Trafford
17.Michigan vs. Ohio State at The Big House
18.NFL Conference Championships
20.Final Four- NCAA Men’s Basketball
22.Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Weekend
23.Harvard vs. Yale at Yale
25.UEFA Champions League
28.Horse Racing at Saratoga
29.Late Season Green Bay Packers Game at Lambeau Field
30.Canadiens vs. Maple Leafs in Toronto
32.Professional Bull Riders World Finals
33.Dubai World Cup
34.Hong Kong Sevens
35.Monaco Grand Prix
36.Running of the Bulls
37.Rugby World Cup
38.Red River Shootout
39.Notre Dame Football Game
40.MLB All-Star Game
41.Iron Bowl at Alabama
44.Koshien Baseball Tournament
46.Soccer Game at Maracana Stadium in Rio
47.Texas Football Friday Night Lights in Odessa
48.U.S. Open Tennis Tournament
49.USC vs. UCLA Basketball Game at Pauley Pavilion
50.Le Mans 24
51.Ironman World Championships
52.Iowa vs. Iowa State Wrestling Meet at Iowa
53.Golden Gloves at Madison Square Garden
55.Baseball Game at Fenway Park
57.Kangaroos Australian Football Game
58.Heavyweight Title Fight at Madison Square Garden
59.All Blacks Rugby Game
60.ACC Basketball Tournament
61.Caribbean World Series
63.Indiana High School Basketball Tournament Finals
64.U.S. Open Golf Tournament
65.Midnight Madness at University of Kentucky
68.National Finals Rodeo
69.Basketball Game at Phog Allen Field House
70.Basketball Game at Madison Square Garden
72.MLB Opening Day in Cincinnati
73.Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest
76.Basketball Game at Rucker Park, Harlem, NY
78.Cowboys Monday Night Football Game in Dallas
79.Head of the Charles Regatta
80.Florida vs. Georgia Football Game
81.Lady Vols Basketball Game
82.NBA All-Star Game
84.Australian Open Tennis Tournament
85.Baseball Game at Rickwood Field in Alabama
86.Harlem Glodetrotters Performance
87.Spring Training Game at Tigertown
88.Backyard Brawl in Morgantown
92.World Junior Hockey Championship
93.Westminster Dog Show
94.NFL Hall of Fame Induction
95.NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship
96.College Baseball World Series
97.Beanpot Hockey Tournament
99.Little League World Series
100.UFC Title Fight
Source: 100 Sporting Events You Must See Live