On Sunday's "Sports Reporters" show, Bob Ryan made an interesting statement. He said that growing up as a youngster, there were two sporting events he really looked forward to: the World Series and baseball's All-Star Game. With the climate of athletics changing, he feels differently now. His interest has changed and the All-Star Game isn't among the top events he looks forward to.
I couldn't agree more with Sir Robert. Growing up as a youngster, the World Series was always No. 1. Then, seeing all the stars gather was next. But one of the things that troubles me now is the lack of loyalty -- not many stay in one place.
Winning the All-Star Game is not a golden moment like capturing a championship.
There are very few players like Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn these days. So many players move from team to team, so it's difficult to have the same allegiance and excitement that used to exist.
The All-Star Game is still special, but it's an exhibition. Winning the contest is not a golden moment like capturing a championship, which has so much meaning to it. With that said, let me lay on you my Super Seven events. These get my juices flowing -- they really excite me! I can't wait for these seven events each year.
1. Men's NCAA Final Four
Is there anything better? The entire three-week process -- from getting the teams ready to the ultimate battle to win the national championship -- is so special. The single-elimination format means you can't afford to stumble.
2. World Series
Being a lover of the game of baseball, having such a passion for it, there is so much excitement at World Series time. It is a high to see the best of the best going head-to-head. It's great to see that golden trophy awarded.
3. NBA Finals
The NBA playoffs are special because players really step it up. You can enjoy the emotion of the moment as they play for the championship. Everyone competes for a chance to wear that ring, baby! The millionaires can go out and buy whatever jewelry they want, but they can't write a check out for a championship ring. That must be earned, and the enthusiasm is special.
4. Bowl Championship Series
College football has moved to get No. 1 vs. No. 2 on the gridiron. The system to determine which teams battle for the national championship still has room for improvement. But there has been progress and the BCS gets me going as a lover of the college sports scene.
5. Super Bowl
The extravaganza, the parties, it's a real spectacle. Having attended several Super Bowls, the atmosphere is really special. It is magical as two teams battle for a championship. I work on my schedule to make sure I can get there.
6. U.S. Open (Tennis)
Being a big fan of tennis, there is a special feeling when you walk into Flushing Meadows. You see the PTPers of tennis hook up. I love going to the early rounds to see the young stars. It's a great environment when you can be so close to the players. You see the serves, the volleys develop, etc. The prices are outrageous but the atmosphere is special. What makes it unique is, like the NCAA Tournament, one little slip and the party is over. You have to win seven matches in a row to win the championship.
7. Championship Boxing
The environment of the big title fight with special meaning -- like Tyson-Holyfield, Sugar Ray Leonard-Tommy Hearns -- is unique. It creates a carnival atmosphere, bringing out celebrities. The buildup of each day, with the anticipation leading up to the bell ringing for round one, is incredible.