Carroll County Times

Commentary: Kicking around a sports bucket list

I am ready to root, root, root for I'll Have Another to win the Triple Crown.

I'm not naïve. Trainer Doug O'Neil has been nailed 15 times for shady medicating and drug practices. This could well be the Barry Bonds of horses and, much like every John Calipari Final Four appearance, I fully expect one or more of the wins to be vacated at some point.

But none of that will matter next Saturday during the Belmont Stakes. Nor will the larger significance of the boost horse racing would receive. It would just be really cool and exciting to see it happen.

I'm old enough to remember Seattle Slew in 1977 and Affirmed in 1978. Another Triple Crown winner holds a spot in my sports bucket list, as do ...

A long hitting streak.

No one has come within 10 games of Joe DiMaggio's hallowed 56-game mark, set in 1941. It's the best-known, most important record in a sport that treasures its records and it can't be achieved through chemistry. Any time someone hits in 30 straight, serious attention gets paid. If a player would get to 40 we'd be watching live look-ins, tuning into highlights shows and checking out box scores every hour. At 50? I couldn't go to sleep without knowing if the streak was still alive.

A run at the golf Grand Slam.

No one has ever won all four of golf's professional major tournaments in one calendar year. The "Tiger Slam" was an amazing feat, but it was over two years. If someone won the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open to head into the PGA Championship with a chance to do it, it would make the pressure of going after a Triple Crown look like nothing. The PGA would really matter! (The tennis Grand Slam would be great, too, even though it's been done before. But if it happened before Facebook and Twitter does it really count?)

A true college football champion crowned.

I'm not buying into any champion that got help from a computer or a Bowl chairman in a bad suit. The "plus-one" format isn't good enough either. An honest-to-goodness playoff, with at least eight teams, just like every other sport, legitimizes it. It's the only thing that might make America take it's eyes off the NFL for a few minutes.

A captivating heavyweight title fight.

Heavyweight champions used to rule the sporting universe. Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson were polarizing figures, but they were charismatic and commanded attention. There is no spectacle like a heavyweight title fight between a beloved (or hated, but never ignored) champ and a worthy challenger. Nothing more fun to watch in a group. And we haven't had one in nearly 20 years.

Only room for five in my bucket. And now I'll root even harder for I'll Have Another. Definitely my best chance to check an item off that list before I kick it.