Sports competition guide of sport played each month Jan to Dec
I once read that Richie Benaud rarely experienced winter. He enjoyed the British summer commentating on his beloved cricket, and then when the clouds of early September started to appear, he’d up stumps and fly back to Australia.
As an Englishman living in Sydney, it was a lifestyle that appealed. My love of sport goes beyond just cricket though.
I’ve been lucky enough to see some great sport around the world and always loved combining it with travel and food and culture. I was lucky enough to celebrate France’s World Cup semi final win on home soil in 1998, celebrating with the French on the Champs-Elysees and in numerous bars afterwards. I flew back from Sydney to watch my home town Portsmouth win the FA Cup Final at Wembley just over a decade ago. I’ve watched cricket at the SCG and an AFL Final at the MCG.
But the thing is with sport, there’s always more you want to watch. And if I had unlimited resources, that’s exactly what I’d do. A big title fight in Vegas; the Monaco Grand Prix; strawberries and cream in London SW19; and a walk on the lush fairways of the Masters in Augusta. All combined with nice hotels, good restaurants and bit of shopping.
And it would all start somewhere bleak like Scunthorpe in England on a wet weekend in January …
SPORT IN JANUARY
On the first weekend in January, the FA Cup 3rd Round takes place. It’s always described as the most ‘romantic’ round of the cup, when the minnows get a chance against the Premier League big boys. Manchester United and Liverpool are often drawn away to a smaller club like Rochdale or Shrewsbury, with a dilapidated stadium; and on a boggy pitch in icy winter conditions the odd upset sometimes happens. Irrespective, I’d be there to watch a game, with the smell of cigarettes and fried onions in the air. And a ticket in my pocket back to Rod Laver Arena afterwards, for a fortnight of blistering heat and late night tennis in Melbourne.
SPORT IN FEBRUARY
After watching Novak or Roger or Raffa win a five-setter, I’d hop on a plane and try to make the Super Bowl final. The time difference would help me to get there on time, and it lasts so long anyway, that I could get there at half time and still have hours to watch.
Next stop would be back to the British Isles for the 6 Nations — gritty Northern Hemisphere rugby rivalries played out in Paris, Dublin and Cardiff. History and tradition and Barber jackets aplenty.
SPORT IN MARCH
Then I’d hope for a Vegas title fight on my way to Augusta. I’d love a week in the sun with the trash-talking pantomime of weigh-ins and boxing entourages. A heavyweight bout with Tyson Fury or a gritty Mexican like Alvarez would be great to watch ringside.
SPORT IN APRIL
Then I’d fly west coast to east coast — maybe fit in a small road trip if the timing was right — to Augusta, Georgia for the Masters.
The most iconic of all golf majors is something I’ve always wanted to watch. If Tiger was on a roll towards the green jacket, it would be even better.
Then back to Europe for Champions League semi-finals — hopefully in Madrid, or Munich or Milan.
SPORT IN MAY
In fact, most of the summer would be spent in Europe. If it was an English Ashes, that would be great. But I’d start with the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona and the Monaco Grand Prix a fortnight later.
Hopefully the Champions League Final would fit with my plans — in 2020 it’s in Istanbul, Turkey, where Liverpool famously lifted the trophy back in 2005.
Next stop Paris for the French Open tennis, plus great architecture and plenty of great meals.
SPORT IN JUNE
I’d stick around for the Tour de France — just follow the tour through France for three weeks. Enough said.
SPORT IN JULY
In 2020, July gets complicated. I’d have to decide between the Olympics in Tokyo and the Euro 2020 football in London. Decisions, decisions …
In any ‘normal’ July I’d be in the UK, as the British Open Golf, British Grand Prix and Wimbledon always coincide in a glorious weekend of sun and sport.
SPORT IN AUGUST
New York for the US Open Tennis. Not my favourite sporting event, but definitely my favourite city.
SPORT IN SEPTEMBER
This year I’d have been in Japan for the Rugby World Cup. Next year I’d maybe head to Wisconsin for the Ryder Cup.
At worst, I’d do the Monza Grand Prix in Italy (and enjoy a week in Milan), and then the Singapore Grand Prix with some shopping on Orchard Road and some decent noodles.
SPORT IN OCTOBER
SPORT IN NOVEMBER
I’m not a massive horse racing fan, so I’d miss the Melbourne Cup. I’d rather head south from the States for the Mexico City Grand Prix and then the Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo.
SPORT IN DECEMBER
And maybe just squeeze in a quick weekend flight to the UK to watch a Premier League match and see my folks for Christmas.