With the big game right around the corner, it has me wondering, have any Insiders traveled to a new city for a big sporting event, whether it was just an anticipated match up, or a big championship game? If so, tell us about it!
Did you go with friends, family or colleagues?
Did you win tickets or purchase them?
Did you have a VIP experience?
And, let’s throw the big ask out there, has anyone ever been to a Super Bowl?!
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Never travelled for a major sporting event. Most years I go, with my wife, to Baltimore to see the Red Sox play the Orioles. I usually stay at the Harborside Renaissance. It's a wonderful hotel and a ten minute walk from the ballpark. The CL is one of the best in the USA and twice I have been upgraded to a suite.
I do travel to sporting events and even concerts, but since this is sporting events I will stick to that for now or until deannad wants concert travels. I will also consider traveling to downtown Houston (after all it is some 36 miles) for sporting events as well and include one of two of them.
Most recently and last weekend I traveled with my longtime best friend (male, do not want to make the MRS made) to Chapel Hill, N.C. to watch the UNC Tarheels play the Boston College Eagles. Having lived in N.C. for a few years and my parents buying a summer retirement house in Blowing Rock, N.C.,
I adopted UNC as my favorite college basketball team following them ever since. So we left last Friday flew to Raleigh-Durham and drove to our hotel just off campus. I had been in the Dean E. Smith Center before looking around with my Wife and Son on one of our visits to see Mom/Dad in the mountains, but never seen a game there. It was incredible.....so much history in UNC Basketball, Championship Banners, Retired Jerseys and Carolina Blue everywhere was great. Attending with my pal made it even more special. We had excellent seats near mid court about eight rows from the floor and even though the Heels did not play one of their best games they won 89-62 and held on to the Number 1 or 2 ranking in the national poll depending on which you looked at (we won't talk about their next game here). I'd call those almost VIP seats and we purchased our tickets. More to come on that trip on another of my crazy blogs soon.
Another trip, have gone to see the AT&T Pro-Am golf tournament at Pebble Beach Golf Links, Monterey, CA., numerous times always staying at the Monterey Marriott. What a fun event to attend where you might see the likes Justin Timberlake, Andy Garcia, Kenny G, Huey Lewis, Ray Romano, Chris O'Donnell, Condolezza Rice, Charles Schwab, Jake Owen, Kevin Costner, Tom Brady, Aaron Rogers, Chris Berman, Darius Rucker, Billy Murray many others and one that we will not see again, Glenn Frey. RIP Mr. Frey you were an amazingly talented song write, performer, singer, family man and golfer.
I first started attending the tournament when my Son was probably a Sophomore in High School and was playing on the golf team. So like any good Dad would do, took his Son out of school for a four day trip to the Monterey Peninsula!! It was great, such gorgeous weather thankfully that year and for may more years after. The golf courses cannot be shared in written form they must be seen as well as the shoreline, the huge trees on 17 Mile Drive (a must if you are in the area), the homes and rubbing arms, talking with the celeb's who for the most part are very friendly. Have also attended one year with my Wife as she wanted to see Andy Garcia up close so why not. Most years I attend with my Buddy (since we are both retired now why not) and have had some interesting stories which are far to long to describe here, except for one.
This particular year the tournament was held a few months after the Eagles Melbourne Tour DVD had come out so I decided to take the cover from the DVD with us for some reason. It was the first day of the tournament and we had wandered out to a hole on SpyGlass Hill (one of the three courses played) only to find Glenn Frey and his group on the green. Glenn did not have an especially good hole by any stretch of the imagination and walked off the green down to where we were standing. So all alone I walked over with my DVD cover and Sharpie and asked Mr. Frey if he would autograph this for my wife. His face got this big grin on it and said "I'd love to". I told him her name and the correct spelling as you could spell it a few ways and he signed it. He then asked if he spelled her name correctly.....I couldn't lie, so told him no, but said "she won't care, it has your face and signature on it". He again smiled and thanked us for listening to their music as well as coming out to watch the golf tournament. We did not have VIP seats and bought our tickets, but we got VIP treatment for sure. Thanks Glenn, we miss you.
Houston Rockets and Houston Astros games my Wife and I will always stay downtown and make a minimum of one night stay. Most times we've stayed at the Courtyard and Residence Inn that are housed in the Old Humble Oil building. Nice spots for sure however; we have now found Hotel Icon an Autograph Collection property that is lovely. Each time we enjoy ourselves with an early appetizer dinner before walking to Toyota Center for the Rockets or Minute Maid Park for the Stros. Only once did we get the VIP experience and it was this year at Toyota Center vs the Champs Golden State Warriors. The tickets we purchased allowed us access to two clubs on the floor level underneath the stands. One of the clubs was right along the hallway to the Rockets locker room so with an all glass wall we were face to face with Hardin, Howard, Jones, Beverly, Ariza and the rest of them.....WOW are they huge. Our seats where in the third row mid court and you talk about up close to a game, that we were. For those basketball fans (like joshm) here on Insiders who think Steph Curry is small think again. This kid is not a skinny rail as he appears on TV, just a good sized Guard who is fabulous. VIP experience once and great time regardless of win lose or draw, wait you can't have a draw in basketball or baseball. We've been lucky to have quite a few of these events to attend.
Great topic so come on Insiders, bring it!!!
Wow, what an extensive answer! I love that your sporting events attendance profile (say that 5x fast!) is so comprehensive - college & pro basketball, baseball, golf - what a great hobby to pursue.
I like that you've adopted a love for UNC since living there - fan loyalty at it's finest
Your posts on stays whenever you head to a Rockets or Astros game with the wifey are always fun to see what new restaurants & activities you also incorporate - keep em comin!
Thanks for the feedback, can't wait to see what other Insiders have to say!
Thanks much deannad, I'm very happy you enjoy our and my little crazy jaunts around to different spots, it's a lot of fun for this old retired kid! More coming on the UNC trip I hope later today.
I like to incorporate major sporting events into travel. I have included,
Probably my favorite was the last 49er game at the Stick. Alas I Have never been to a Superbowl, but watched the first.
I usually pick one trip a year where there is a major sporting event and build vacation around it.
My two sons and I did a great trip to Denver last January to see the Avalanche play the Ottawa Senators, stayed at the Marriott downtown and had a fabulous time. We are also huge fans of March Madness and last year were in Syracuse to watch both the Sweet Sixteen and the Elite Eight, used points for rooms at the Springhill Suites in Syracuse. The year before we were in Buffalo for rounds one and two and stayed at the Residence Inn. All these stays were on points so that was great.
Are you thinking of coming to March Madness again this year? It's coming up quick!
I love watching ice hockey! My boyfriend used to live in New Jersey so he's a Devil's fan and I just went to my first NHL game in January for his birthday and it was so amazing (and they won against the Dallas Stars which made it even better )
Oh boy, now you're a confirmed hockey fan! My husband (he used to live in NJ like your boyfriend) and I met as co-workers, so we attended a lot of functions with groups. Our first official date was to a college hockey game since we both liked hockey. Here it is 18 years after we met, and we're still die hard hockey fans with season tickets since then for the same college team -- Dartmouth. We have one son who plays travel hockey, so I sit in an ice rink almost every day of the week. Buy yourself a really warm jacket and snuggle up to that boyfriend; sounds like he's a keeper!
First, a non-travel story:
Living and working in the home of UGA, outstanding collegiate sports are always just a walk away. UGA has been the home of the NCAA tennis championships 27 out of the past 40 years, and in the days before tennis academies and 18-year-old pros, the next batch of ATP stars would show their stuff in Athens. Stars-to-be whom I saw win NCAA titles here include John McEnroe (1978), Kevin Curren (1979), Tim Mayotte (1981), UGA's own Michael Pernfors (1984 & '85), Justin Gimbelstob (1996 doubles), Bob Bryan (1998 singles), and Bob and Mike Bryan (1998 doubles).
In 1978 McEnroe was a Stanford freshman and had stated the only reason he'd enrolled in school was to win the NCAA title. He was already a hothead, and the crowds at UGA's Dan Magill Tennis Complex delighted in jeering the young, scowling kid with the shock of flaming-red hair. Early in the tourney, McEnroe was quoted in the local paper as saying the crowds here were the "rudest, least-refined" crowds he'd ever seen. So of course the shouting, barking, and booing only increased with his every match. By the end of the fortnight, though, the crowd had come to respect this brash kid and his unbelievable talent, and McEnroe was actually playing to -- and enjoying -- the crowd, sometimes turning and acknowledging both applause and jeers with a grin and a slight bow. When he won the final point to take the crown, the crowd roared its approval, and at the trophy presentation, he received a several-minute standing ovation. True to his word, he left Stanford and turned pro immediately after the tournament, reaching the 4th round of the US Open that year and winning it the next.
We're about 70 miles or so from downtown Atlanta, so taking in a Falcons, Braves, Hawks or (at one time) Flames or Thrashers game requires intra-state travel. And every now and then we'll make it an overnight stay or, in the case of a Braves series, a weekender. Other Georgia venues we've been to that require some in-state travel include Atlanta Motor Speedway (NASCAR), Road Atlanta (USAC, SCCA, and IMSA Road Racing), and Augusta National (the Masters).
Been to New Orleans twice to watch UGA in the Sugar Bowl, both times playing for the (pre-BCS) national title. The first was New Year's Day 1977. I was a student at the time, so a bunch of us scored student tickets and 4-car caravanned our way to the Big Easy. Georgia's opponents were the Johnny Majors-coached Pitt Panthers, led by Heisman Trophy winner Tony Dorsett, playing in his final collegiate game. Sadly for Dawg fans, Dorsett and Pitt QB Matt Cavanaugh were too much for Georgia, with Dorsett rushing for 202 yards and Cavanaugh passing for 198. Pitt won the game 27 -- 3 and the Panthers were named national champs. Long trip to see a loss, but New Year's Eve on Bourbon Street made it all worthwhile. Interestingly, Dorsett's very first college game was also against the Bulldogs, when as a freshman, he and Pitt came to Athens to kick off the 1973 season, and Dorsett led the Panthers to an improbable 7 -- 7 tie (or so it seemed at the time).
The second time was New Year's Day 1982. Georgia was back in the Sugar Bowl for the second year in a row to defend its national title, which it had won the previous year behind freshman tailback Herschel Walker, beating Notre Dame 17 -- 10. (Wish I'd been at that one!) The opponent was once again Pitt, led by senior QB Dan Marino. Walker once again led the Dogs, rushing for two TDs in a close game that produced six lead changes. Georgia led 20 -- 17 with 35 seconds left in the game, but Marino threw a 33-yd desperation TD pass to TE John Brown to seal the win. Keith Jackson, who called the game for the ABC television audience, would later call it the greatest bowl game he'd ever seen.
Of course, been to the annual World's Largest Cocktail Party, otherwise known as the GA -- FLA game in Jacksonville, many, many times. Mid-November's always a good time to ditch the chill and cheer on the Dogs!
Look at you tossing those names about the Insiders pages, great great story foxglove for sure. You've got some awesome memories listed there over the years. Loved the McEnroe the best, he was quite the player and hothead as well, guess that's why I liked him so.
Although as a tennis player my game never got beyond recreational weekend duffer, I've always enjoyed watching tennis played at the highest level because what the best players can do is absolutely astounding. I became a Johnny Mac fan at that tournament and enjoyed watching him throughout his career, and now I love his commentary in the booth.
Your comment made me think about future NFL greats I've seen play here in Sanford Stadium, so I'm gonna toss around few more names: Tarkenton, Archie, Peyton, Eli, Champ, Steve Young, Favre, Cutler, Stafford, A.J., Megatron, and Bo.
One other indelible memory: In spring 1978, I witnessed an incredible 100m sprint in a triangular meet between UGA, Florida, and Auburn. Harvey Glance (Aub) had won Olympic gold in the 4x100 in Montreal in 1976 and was the reigning NCAA 100m champ. This tri-meet's featured event was the 100m, with world-class speedsters Glance, Florida's Houston McTear, and UGA's Mel Lattany. The buzz surrounding the showdown drew the largest crowd in UGA track and field history. On a beautiful spring afternoon under perfect conditions, local hero Lattany edged Glance at the tape by a split second, with McTear a split second behind for third. Lattany's 9.96 was only the 5th time anyone had run a sub-10.0. All three would qualify for the 1980 Moscow Olympics, but the US boycott of the games wiped away Lattany's and McTear's chances for a medal. Lattany would go on to a long, successful career in international track and field, and Glance would eventually become the Univ. of Alabama's track coach for 14 years from 1997 to 2011.
Mel Lattany takes first in a meet in Athens in 1981. And, yes, that's Herschel Walker taking second.
Also at UGA at the time (and darn near as fast) was 4-time NCAA champion and 5-time Olympic medalist Gwen Torrence. She took 3 golds, a silver and a bronze in the sprints in Barcelona and Atlanta.
IAHFLYR That's how fast Lattany was -- 10 feet faster than Herschel. The Olympic boycott cost him the U.S. fame that surely would have come his way if we'd been there. In 1984, he ran the year's fastest outdoor 100m and again qualified for the LA Olympics in the 4x100m, but a muscle pull forced him out of the line-up, and his teammates took the gold. (He still received a gold medal , as he'd already run in a preliminary heat before the pull occurred, but no podium. ) Afterwards, he trained and raced mainly in Europe for another decade, both in the 100m and the 200m.
While at UGA, he won the 100m at the Drake Relays 4 straight years and never lost a race -- preliminary or final, something that still has never been repeated.
In 1985, he "retired" from racing, and Tom Landry signed him to an UFA contract with that team to your north, but he was released in the final cut. (Lattany joked that he took a substantial pay cut to play in the NFL.) Because he never played in an actual regular-season game, the IAAF reinstated him in 1987, and he returned to racing in Europe, eventually competing in the Masters division (35+ years old). He retired in 1995 and now lives with his wife in London.
Thanks, jakeal. Watching those three go at it was truly incredible, as was the roar that went up from the home crowd as the times flashed up on the scoreboard showing Lattany had taken it. To the naked eye, it practically looked like a 3-way dead heat.
I love baseball and do travel for it. We live 3 hours from AT&T Park in SF and make 2-3 trips/year to see our G's play ball. I also have a mlb stadium bucket list.
Last year I visited Petco Park (with Mom), Chase Field (with Hubby) and Wrigley Field (by my big, bad self), flying to each of these destinations. Tickets were purchased, with a special splurge on a killer seat behind the visiting team (that would be my Giants) dugout at Wrigley, since I only had to buy one ticket. Any time a stay at a JW is involved, it's also a splurge (as in Chicago), and the same with The Buttes property in Phoenix (a nice place to just relax.) Always a VIP experience at Petco Park, since the Padres play the Marlins once/year and Marlins starting pitcher, Tom Koehler, is married to the granddaughter of Mom's bestie, Miss Ruby. Tom, being a great guy, takes good care of Granny and her cronies.
This year, I am planning to visit Coors Field and National's Park, as well as Spring Training in Phoenix next month. I had hoped to visit Minute Maid Park later this year, but my two scheduling assistants (tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum, you know who you are) let me down. Perhaps next year.
Here's my list:
Spring Training in Phoenix
Minute Maid Park
Slowly gettin' there...
LOL, too funny pluto77, tweedle 1 and 2 did not know of your change in plans and had we, well it might have turned out different just so you could get to "The Juice Box"!!!! It's great to read of your VIP treatment from Tommy, that's good stuff for sure.
Oh yeah, and your Wrigley Field trip got ya on a Dreamliner as well so you can't leave that out.
pluto77, that's a great list but you really should add Orioles Park at Camden Yards to your list. It's a great venue and the original of the retro stadium designs. Other than Fenway, it is my favorite ballpark! If you ever try it, do check out, the Baltimore Harbor Place Renaissance, perhaps the best CL in the USA.
Hey thanks, phctourist. I've been kind of curious about Inner Harbor anyway. I just took a look, and the Orioles will play in town the day prior to the dates I am considering for Nationals Park. That just might work out!
pluto77 Even though I hate Peter Angelos, Orioles Park is a much better venue than National's Park. Unfortunately, for me, living in Northern VA, it is a lot longer trip and we usually stay over!
Incidentally, if you choose to see the US Holocaust Museum, while here in the DC area, I can get you immediate entry tickets. Otherwise, you have to order tickets on-line, and those sell out quickly, or you have to line up foran hour or longer, outside the museum. If you choose to take me up on this, send me DM. (Tickets are required from March 1 until the end of August, though they become fairly easy to get by mid-August.)
If you come to DC with some frequency, I'd recommend that you visit the museum between late August and early February.
If I come, I will definitely take you up on your offer, and thank you! I'm looking at the first weekend in August. Not my fave time of year to visit our nation's capitol, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. I guess. (Honestly, I don't like going anywhere during the summer months.)
Ahhh come on, what could possibly be cooler than meeting up with pluto77 our resident Marine, Av Geek, AS traveler extraordinaire, World traveler and almost a retiree.....what I ask?
That was easy. Orioles baseball at Camden Yards is now sorted. Since I'll be in Baltimore on a Thursday for the baseball trip, will save the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum for October, when I def can visit on a Thurs. I'll DM you the date when it gets closer. Thanks again for the suggestions.
Now this is a comprehensive bucket list! I love that you split up where you go with different family members, and that you go by yourself sometimes too! It's nice to splurge on great seats sometimes, would be nice if you could do it whenever you wanted, but treating yourself for a specific game almost makes it a little more special. Let us know of your time during spring training - my grandfather used to go every year and he loved it! He was an Oriole's fan living in CT, traveling to FL to see them train haha
Looks like you've been around the block jerryl! What was your favorite / where did you travel the furthest to?
Everything you ever wanted to know about Sprint I mean Spring Training and the Grapefruit League. Florida Sports Grapefruit League - Florida's Grapefruit League - Major League Baseball's Pre-Season in Florida
Haha, thanks for catching that typo IAHFLYR! In my defense, did you see the time I posted? 1:48AM Hahahahaha! Thanks for the links, I'll check them out. You're a wealth of information! Btw, Grapefruit League? What a name!
Sporting events? Are those the things I see on TV at my local bar? Never been.
Actually, that's not true. While living in the Seattle area, I went to a few Mariners games. Likewise I've seen a few Columbus Clippers games (AAA affiliate of the Cleveland Indians) since I know someone who has season tickets (getting to see a game or two when he's out of town).
As for traveling to sporting events. Nope. Not for me, though on one of my county collecting trips, I stayed at the SHS in Scranton. It sits on a hill above the minor league baseball park. The night I was there Scranton was playing Norfolk and I watched half an inning. Being half a mile away and a couple hundred feet up provided an interesting perspective.
Nothing as exciting for me as compared to what others wrote, but we like to frequent Bruins games when my son's schedule allows. It's almost a 3 hour ride to get there, so we choose to stay at the Residence Inn Boston Harbor on Tudor Wharf. They have a great location for walking to the Garden and sometimes I can find a Bruins game rate if it's midweek -- that's a bonus! We used to get comp tickets for one game a season, but alas, that avenue is no longer available. The RI is a great base also for visiting the North End and all the food delights available there. My husband will kill me for mentioning his special spot, but one of our faves is a tiny place called Pushcart Pizza. Simple fare, great prices, and when the weather is nice they open up the front window which is a glass garage door. There are many dining options available in the North End and I've never been disappointed.
I have gotten comp tickets to the NH Motor Speedway Nascar races, but I choose to drive the two hours as it's such a zoo and there aren't many lodging properties near there anyway.
Super Bowl -- not really my thing. Stanley Cup playoffs, heck yes!
Just back from another fabulous three days on the Monterey Peninsula watching the AT&T Pro Am with my dear friend. Once again I wore him out traipsing all over Spyglass Hill and Pebble Beach Golf Courses watching the likes of pro golders Jordan Spieth (world #1 Golfer), Phil Mickelson (Lefty), Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson and the younger brother of one of my Son's old High School golf team teammates from The Woodlands, Bronson Burgoon who actually held the lead on the first day. It was great fun watching Bronson at Pebble Beach even though he didn't play well, just knowing he is from our home town and getting a chance to talk with him and his brother who remembered my Son was great. As of this morning he was -3 for the tournament tied for 36th place and made the cut for the final round.
The most fun is of course watching the Celebs and Amateurs playing along side of the Pro's. Always fun to watch and listen to Bill Murray, Justin Timberlake, Andy Garcia, Jake Owen, Charles Schwab, Ray Romano, Kenny G, Huey Lewis, Aaron Rogers, Alex Smith, Larry Fitzgerald, Toby Keith and many more. Amazing how good some of these guys actually are and to play that well in front of many onlookers is great to witness.
The weather was incredible for the second year in a row as were the accommodations as always at the Hotels in Monterey CA | Monterey Bay Marriott Hotel. Make sure to check out the TV coverage today as you will not find very many places in the world with the views you find at Pebble.
Sounds like a great trip, IAHFLYR. Loved our visit last year to Monterey and watching the bagpiper come in at Spanish Bay. Can only imagine Pebble Beach is an even more beautiful course.