San Diego Has Much to Offer Sports Fans

    To all the incoming freshman sports fans that are depressed to be entering a school without a football team or a Triton squad that belongs to Division I: I am here to inform you that San Diego is not a bad place to spend your next four years — or more — if you’re an avid sports fan.
    To start, UCSD is the proud host of a constantly overachieving women’s soccer team, a men’s water polo team that squares off against D-I opponents like UCLA and a women’s volleyball team that started the season with a No. 4 ranking.
    But if you’re too much of a sports elitist to join the Triton Tide, choosing instead to religiously follow the University of Southern California football team because it is in the national spotlight, then at least be thankful that you reside in the city of San Diego, a hotspot for professional sports and extreme sports alike.
    Besides the Padres, poised to make a run at their second straight National League West title, and the Chargers, a perennial playoff contender with the no-doubt star of the NFL in LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego plays host to many of the most exciting events in the sporting world.
    One such event took place over the weekend, and as the sports editor of the Guardian, I worked my way into an invitation to the Red Bull Air Race World Series 2007. To those who didn’t catch the commercials that aired every minute, it is an event held in the San Diego harbor that combines “flying with the most exciting elements of motor racing,” according to the media guide. This means pilots in propelled planes flying upwards of 250 miles per hour and forces pushing 10 times the force of gravity.
    As a spectator among the thousands of San Diegans that were also welcome to view the race — for a price, though — I witnessed these pilots maneuver their planes just 50 feet above the water through a course that had them doing ridiculous tricks and turns. The event had the intensity of any competitive time-oriented event, with pilots turning in times that were just hundredths of a second ahead of or behind their opponents’ times. But unlike any old NASCAR race, this event offered the thrill of high-speed flying, all set in front of the beautiful backdrop of the harbor, the Coronado Bridge and the rest of the San Diego sights.
    The Red Bull Air Race is just the latest event to stop by “America’s Finest City.” Just two years ago, San Diego’s PETCO Park played host to the final rounds of the inaugural World Baseball Classic. Once again I was present — this time by paid ticket, not press pass — when the Japanese team, led by Ichiro and pre-Red Sox “Dice-K” Matsuzaka, surprised the world by blowing past the stocked American and Dominican teams.
    The itinerary for prestigious San Diego sporting events is likely to stay packed in the near future. PETCO Park is one of the most luxurious new ballparks in the nation and should therefore host the MLB All-Star game soon enough. And with all the surfing and skating fans in the area, an X-Games San Diego isn’t a far cry from reality.
    Who knows what’s in store for San Diego sports fans? A month from now, San Diego could be hosting a World Series game and in January, an American Football Conference Championship game in San Diego would be better for players and fans than one in frigid New England.
    So, fret not you fresh-faced San Diegans. I urge you to give the UCSD teams a chance — trust me, you will not be disappointed. But if D-II college teams don’t do it for you, you can find plenty of occasions to paint your chest, lose your voice and cry your heart out in the local sports scene.

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