Being a keen tennis player back in the day, one of the best school trips I ever attended was to SW19 for a day at Court One. Although it was just a bog standard day at Wimbledon, this was an atmosphere like I’d never seen before and I can remember it so vividly. After observing some of the games on courts lower down the order and gasping at the food prices, we were lucky on the day we went to see the legend herself, Serena Williams take on Caroline Garcia and progress through to the next round. We also got to see part of Richard Gasquet’s match before rain stopped play and we had to trudge back up north (where we endured our minibus breaking down- but that’s a story in itself). It’s not a special day in any account, but it holds a special place in my heart, going to one of the most iconic annual sporting events and seeing some of the biggest names in tennis.
The best sporting event I’ve ever attended was played in front of a crowd of twenty including me, on a muddy pitch under leaden skies. Our team were playing our arch-rivals in the U12 girls division of the Bolton Bury League. We despised each other. They, unfortunately, were a slightly better team and, due to some tactical oversights, had destroyed us during our last encounter. On this morning, in a Mourinho-inspired performance, we were yet to concede- or manage a shot on target.
We were now in Fergie time. Defending a corner. There was a scramble. Somehow our forward picked it up on the edge of the box, she hurdled two potentially life-altering slide tackles, dribbled the length of the pitch and finally slotted the ball into the bottom corner.
Cue the celebrations.
When the Olympic games came to London in 2012, it was a sporting event like no other. With red and blue glittery stickers on my face as I looked down at the track and field from my seat high up behind the Olympic flame, I don't think much will come close to matching the buzz of that day. The great thing about it was the total mix of events I got to see. From witnessing Sally Pearson smash gold in women's hurdles to watching tiny athletes throw themselves over the high jump bar at the other end of the stadium, everywhere I looked there was something to see. I remember thinking at the time how amazing it was to be at a home Olympics and looking back, it really was.
I've been pretty lucky as far as some of the sporting events I've attended go- aside from the past few years of pain I've had to endure watching my beloved Stoke City of course. Nonetheless, one event which has really stayed with me is Day 15 of the Athletics at the London 2012. London 2012 had a magic about it which brought the British people together. Day 15 was stacked with star power, with Usain Bolt's Jamaica setting a world record and cruising to gold in the 4x100m relay. However, it was Mo Farah who stole the show winning gold in the 5000m for Team GB. The atmosphere that night was absolutely electric and seeing 80,000 people cheering Mo home is something I'll never forget.
For those lucky people who's formative years were graced with this beauty, I don't need to explain this choice. However, for those of you who are unfamiliar with this tournament, it was a football series run on YouTube which hosted a final at Wembley. The teams were built up of YouTube royalty, such as KSI and ChrisMD, alongside a few ex-professionals, such as Steven Gerrard and Robbie Fowler. I haven't been blessed with many sporting experiences in my life, so getting to go to Wembley and see some of the great football talents, alongside YouTubers who I've been watching since before I can remember, was an amazing day. I can vividly remember walking up to the arena and staring at it's famous arch. The score was 7-2 in the end, and getting to experience an unconventionally scrappy 9 goal thriller at Wembley was a day to remember.
In my twenty five years of existence I have attended a fair few sporting events but for me my all-time favourite will be the very first test match I attended as a six year old. It was the 2002 West Indies tour of India and attending the first test match at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai was a dream come true for someone who had cricket pretty much in my DNA growing up in India. There is no better feeling than seeing legends like Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Zaheer Khan, Chris Gayle and most of all Sachin Tendulkar in the flesh. Being part of a raucous mass of people cheering India is always something special but that being the first one is even more special. I have attended many cricket matches since including World Cup matches and India-Pakistan matches but none comes close to being my favourite memory. It also helped that India won the match by an innings and change.