Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Bring on 2010!

As I wrote about last week, 2009 was probably the best year of my life, especially when it came to my sport and travel, so 2010 will have to be pretty good to be able to compare. Luckily, it’s already starting to look like a great year for sport, even if I wont be able to get to the biggest event of the year.

2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games and Paralympic Games
The Olympic games are the reason I’m in Vancouver. Well, that and I’m afraid of the ultra cold winters in the rest of Canada. Olympic fever has well and truly hit the city of Vancouver, with now less than 40 days until the opening ceremony at BC Place.
I’m starting to get pretty excited about the coming games, having started training for my new job as part of the 50,000 strong work force of paid and volunteer workers here in the Olympic city making sure the games go off without a hitch.
While I don’t yet have tickets to any events, I’m determined to find a way to be part of the crowd and witness some of the games first hand. Even if it is curling.

NBA, NBA and more NBA
I’ve stated previously that one of my goals, over my next 2 years in North America, is to see every NBA team play, and to see a game in each city. So far, I’ve seen nine games in seven NBA cities, featuring 13 of the leagues 30 teams. With Patrick Mills looking likely to get some action soon, another trip down to Portland before the Olympics start could be in order.

With the success of my November NBA journey from Toronto to Minnesota, in which I saw a number of amazing games, I’m starting to plan another NBA road trip for next winter, this time hitting the South of the US in around December 2010 and finishing in early January 2011. Once again the bonus is avoiding the cold Canadian winter, and getting a chance to see games in 10 NBA cities, from Miami to San Antonio to Memphis to Charlotte.

2010 FIFA World Cup, South Africa
No I’m not going. I wish I was, but then, maybe I’m just getting greedy? It is definitely an event that I do wish to get to at some point in the future though, and with Australia bidding to host in either 2018 or 2022, I may get the chance. It certainly wouldn’t be the same as travelling to some far off part of the world to see it, but having the biggest sporting event in the world come to me, would be pretty special too.

This years event, in June and July, sees Australia in a group with Germany, Serbia and Ghana, so I’ll be doing whatever I can to be in a bar showing these matches on June 13, 19 and 23.

With Canada not typically a “football country”, and having not made it to the finals, I expect the atmosphere wont be quite as good as the UK in 2006, where I watched the last World Cup Finals from. This is the world game, however, and if there is one thing you can be sure of is that you can find a football fan anywhere you go.

2010 FIBA World Championship, Turkey (Men) and Czech Republic (Women)
The Australian Boomers, once a consistent medal threat in international basketball, has struggled of late, however with the emergence of young players like Andrew Bogut, Patrick Mills, Nathan Jawaii and Joe Ingles, the current group looks capable of hanging with the best in the world when the championships get under way in late August
Australia’s womens team, the Opals, are the current World Champions, and despite having lost the 2008 Olympic gold to the Americans – once again – will feel confident of their ability to retain their title when the tournament gets underway in late September.

Like the FIFA World Cup, the two basketball world championships are two major events that I would one day like to attend in person, but at this stage will settle for watching them from afar.

"You got to know when to hold ‘em"
One of the few sporting events I will be partaking in for 2010 will be some Texas Hold ‘em Poker in (where else) but Las Vegas? While I’m certainly no Gus Hansen or Joe Hachem, I’ll be throwing my money down for a couple of small tournaments while in Vegas. As everyone knows, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas – I’m pretty sure my money will do that same

Is that all?
While I’ve started planning to get to sporting events for 2010 already, a lot of the time the best opportunities come when you’re not expecting them, and I’m sure I’m going to get to a few random events throughout the year. Among the other live events I’d like to get to are the US Open Tennis, an NFL Football game, an NCAA (College) basketball game and a WNBA basketball game.
Whatever way you look at it, its looking like being a big year in sport. Is anyone else planning any trips to see their favourite team play?

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