Editor’s Note:Working for ESPN gives many people chances at great sporting experiences. For some, there remain some elusive, wish-list assignments.
ESPN.com senior writer Jim Caple will not be satisfied with his sports journalism career until he’s shivering in the summer sun at the bottom of the world.
“I recently saw a soccer game in Argentina, so I’ve now seen a sporting event on all six ‘populated’ continents, so that’s one more box checked off,” Caple said. “I’m still holding out to cover one of those short races Antarctica researchers compete in to keep from going stir-crazy.”
Chances are Caple will have to wait a while before he gets the assignment — let alone government clearance — to run among the penguins. During his career with ESPN and elsewhere, he’s earned the privileges of covering World Series, Olympics, Super Bowls, Final Fours, Rose Bowls, and NBA playoffs.
Let’s not forget Wimbledon, the Tour de France, British Open, U.S. Open, and College World Series.
What’s left to write about? Caple’s got his wish list:
Ride up Alpe d’Huez, the most famous climb in cycling: Caple, who loves cycling, would like to commemorate the 50th anniversary of this leg in the Tour de France with a ride. That’s nearly 10 miles of climbing a path with an average 8-percent grade. Did we mention the 21 hairpin turns?
“It’s like getting to bat at Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium — except you really can do it,” said Caple, who still revels in a base hit he had in a media baseball game played in the old Seattle Kingdome years ago.
Cover the World Cup: “I’ve got my fingers crossed for Rio in three years. I’m not a big soccer fan, but I’m fascinated by the passion people have for it,” said Caple, who was in a London bar when the U.S. tied England in the 2010 World Cup. The English fans “didn’t get angry, just depressed and quiet.”
Bike across a continent: “I turn 50 soon, so one idea is to bike across America, or bike across Europe, or live in Europe and cover sports there,” he said.
Cyclist David Sylvester’s rides in Africa and Asia have inspired similar thoughts for Caple.
“But how would I bring my laptop?”
Cover the Iron Bowl, Auburn vs. Alabama: “I just think it’s the best rivalry in college football,” Caple said.
Play Pebble Beach: “I’m not a golfer, but I love the view from the course,” said Caple, who has toured the historic venue. He’s still kicking himself for not visiting St. Andrews Links in Scotland when he had the chance a few years ago.
Climb Mount Rainier: The Washington state native, who has lived in the shadow of the mountain most of his life, has plans to make this happen. But a friend and veteran climber strongly advises Caple to consider a smaller mountain range first.
Cover the Masters: “Basically, it’s the last remaining big American event I haven’t covered,” Caple said. Because of his love of baseball and that season’s overlap with the major, most of Caple’s chances at Augusta evaporate before he even makes the suggestion.
Cover a sporting event in every time zone: “This is the big one. The more I cover sports, the more interested I am in how it is the one thing that binds us together,” Caple said.
“They say the Earth revolves around the sun, but really, it revolves around sports.”