Subject: Re: Travel and Sports

When some people travel, they go for the food. Others go for the shopping. My trips seem incomplete unless they involve some outdoor activity or sports event.

My love for hiking in the mountains has taken me to some pretty wonderful places - the Cascades, the US Rockies, the Sierra Nevadas in California, the Canadian Rockies, the Lake District in England and the Swiss Alps. As I think about where to go next, I am torn between returning to the places I have been before and those fabulous spots that other Ziners rave about like the Dolomites, the French Alps and the Pyrenees.

I also am a fan of college football and basketball here in the US and have travelled many miles to watch my teams play. I'll even attend a game in which I have no rooting interest if it is a good game or a great crowd or a great setting. For me, seeing a game at a place like Michie Stadium at West Point or Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, WI is a communal experience that lifts me up the way a church service might do for other people. I also really enjoyed watching international rugby at Twickenham and English premier league soccer at West Ham and Tottenham.

But the experience for me that was closest to worshiping at the shrine was the three week Irish and Scottish golf trip I took with three friends. We played 17 rounds in 20 days then went back to Troon, Scotland to watch the British Open. We played not only St. Andrews (I felt like a pilgrim), but also many other historic and world-ranked courses like Royal Dornoch, Carnoustie, Prestwick, Royal County Down, Ballybunion and Lahinch. I had been dreaming of a trip like that for almost 10 years but the actual experience still exceeded my dreams. The golf was terrific but equally memorable was the hospitality of the people we met along the way.

I am thinking next year of a baseball trip to the US midwest. I have been to 16 major league stadiums but not yet to the new ones in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, etc. When next year's schedule is released, you can imagine me with a map trying to see how many games I can hit in a week . . .

Mark Los Angeles