The Big Miss: A Series Of Sporting Events I Missed For Various Reasons


Earlier this year, Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post wrote an article titled "Legendary sporting events can leave tail of wouldas, couldas, shouldas" in which he compiled a bunch of stories of people who gave up tickets or missed a classic game for various reasons.

It made me think about all the sporting events that I've missed in my lifetime, whether it was a case of not being there, or not seeing a classic game live as it was unfolding, or even moments where I've actually been there but still missed out of something historic. As sports fans -- casual, slightly more than casual, even the most serious of them all -- we try to consume all the sports we can, but inevitably, things get in the way. Below is a not very comprehensive list of some of my own personal big misses. Some were my own fault. Some, I blame other people because it's easier that way.

May 13, 2004. Western Conference Semi-Finals Game 5 Los Angeles Lakers vs. San Antonio Spurs, series tied 2-2.

This was a Thursday. Not that I'm a savant with dates, I had to trace this one back to Basketball Reference to remember that. I was in second year university at the time, and I was one of those guys who hopelessly went to the local casino with friends all the time and chose to only remember the times I won, which were few and far in between. Seriously, thinking about the times when I'd just lose a couple hundred dollars in a matter of minutes at blackjack just makes me cringe now.

Anyhow, I got a call from my friend that night to make a trip to the local charity casino, which I said yes to without even considering what I'd be missing that night. I remember watching Derek Fisher's .04 shot on Sportscentre as I was being dealt a couple of useless cards at a limit poker table. That was probably the only highlight of that night for me.

As for the gambling thing, there was one time when I was in the casino for over twenty four hours, to the point that I got home at six in the evening the next night, fell asleep, and missed Mother's Day dinner with my mom. I think that was the tipping point for me, and the fact that I realized I should probably start saving money and stop being stupid.

January 6, 2008. Cleveland Cavaliers at Toronto Raptors. 

This was back in a simpler time when LeBron, Wade and Bosh all had their own teams. Toronto was in control of the game, leading by 13 points headed into the fourth quarter. This was when LeBron scored 24 of his 39 points in the final quarter and led the Cavaliers to the 93-90 win.

Some of you might remember this as the one where Bosh's girlfriend and cousin were heckling LeBron from their court side seats. If you watch the game highlights, you can see LeBron saying "it's your fault" to them late in the game.

I watched all of this unfold on television, so I didn't really miss the game. But, it's still a regret because I could have been there at the arena to witness the hilarity live. You see, I had splurged on a couple of lower bowl seats to see the King live. But before Christmas, my parents -- who are pretty big basketball fans themselves, although they never wanted to bother with the travel and parking to see a game live -- mentioned off-hand that they would love to go to a Raptors game. Instead of getting them tickets to another game against a lesser superstar, I gave up my tickets for them to experience a live basketball game for the first time.

So they got to see a great game, and I'm here regretting it years later. And yes, I am who some people would refer to as an Indian giver.

August 10, 2010. Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays. 

This one's a different type of big miss because I was actually at the game, but it's a different type of regret for me. You see, the Rays were in town for a three-game series with the Jays, and catcher J.P. Arencibia was making his major league debut. In the first game of the series, he hit two home runs and got four hits in his first game, so my friend Eric and I decided to head to the park on the Saturday to see what the hype about this guy was all about.

The Jays were going through another season of irrelevance so this August game mattered little in the standings. The stadium reflected that, as it was only half full on a really nice summer afternoon in Toronto with the roof opened.

We were seated in the upper deck, and I still remember how there was a family with four kids in front of us who were all falling asleep (parents and children) during the game. Which I suppose is okay if it was just another game, except our starter Brandon Morrow carried a no hitter in the ninth inning.

The Jays have a long history with near no-hitters. Google Roy Halladay or better yet Dave Stieb (who did end up getting one after being so close several times), so nothing felt certain even as Morrow was just three outs away from it.

Now, here's the thing. People remember perfect games and no-hitters. It doesn't matter if you're Justin Verlander or Jose Jiminez, people remember history (okay, bad example, maybe we don't remember Jose Jiminez). One hitters? They're a dime a dozen, they're near misses, they get filed into a box score, beat writers will applaud a magnificent pitching performance and we move on.

So, there I was, with about 20,000 or so other fans in a half empty stadium, three outs away from being able to say I witnessed a no-hitter live. Three turned to two, two turned to one, and then Evan Longoria stepped to the plate and hit a ground ball to second base, which Aaron Hill dove for but was unable to get off a throw. Safe at first, infield single, history gone.

I was so close. But I guess you actually do remember one-hitters sometimes.

rangers cardinals world series

October 27, 2011. World Series Game 6 St. Louis vs. Texas, Rangers up 3-2 in the series. I think we all remember this one. The one where the Cardinals were down to their last strike in the ninth and the tenth inning and managed to come back both times, eventually taking the game and the World Series an evening later. The game was long (surprise, it was a post-season playoff game), it was sloppy, as the two teams combined for five errors and fifteen pitchers.

Even with no rooting interest in the series, it always feels like an obligation to watch a potential elimination game. I'm always partial to the post-game celebration, the interviews, the conclusion to a season, no matter how detached the results are from the teams I root for.

But just before midnight, with the Cardinals trailing 7-4 headed to the bottom of the eighth, the power went out in my condo. I realized later that it was actually a scheduled maintenance thing that would run from midnight to the next morning. I guess I should have read all those flyers posted all over my buildings, but really, I'm not trying to join the run club or meet up with my fellow tenants for drinks on Fridays.

Anyhow, after waiting ten minutes for the power to come back, I followed the action on Twitter for a bit, and went to sleep thinking all I would miss was the Rangers celebrating a World Series win.

When I woke up, yeah, I realized I missed one of the greatest endings to an elimination game ever.

That sucked.

Those are some off the top of my head. I'm curious as to what "big misses" you've had as a sports fan. Feel free to share in the comments below.

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