Spectator Paradise

You're young, you're rich and you're bored. You haven't come to Harvard to study and learn. You've come to have fun. So why is everyone in the library?

You've seen all the movies. You've eaten enough ice cream to make you sick. You want to do something, but you've done it all.

You sure?

Have you been to Belmont? Have you laid down a cool $100 on the fifth race?

Have you been to Fenway? Have you seen Wade Boggs slash a double down the left-field line? More important, have you devoured a Fenway Frank?

Have you been to the Garden? Have you seen Larry Bird hit a three-pointer? Or Ray Borque operate the Bruin power-play?

Boston is the intellectual capital of the world only in its spare time. The rest of the year, Beantown is the sports capital of the world. Or, at least, of the East.

Name a sport, any sport, and you'll find it in the area. Baseball at Fenway. Basketball and hockey at the Boston Garden. Football in Foxborough. Even horse racing in Belmont.

If you've got the time, Boston's got the sports.

Baseball: Your favorite American League teams pass through Boston at least once a year to battle the Red Sox. Because the baseball season is so long, you can catch a game at the beginning and the end of each school year. Take your roommates, or go alone. Fenway's only a handful of T stops away.

Bill "Whoops" Buckner, Dave Henderson (of dramatic homerun fame), and Kangeroo Court judge Don Baylor were all recently traded to make way for the youth movement at Fenway, but this is pretty much the same bunch of guys who came within one strike from winning a World Series last year.

See Wade Boggs, the perpetual American League batting titlist. See Dwight Evans, the underrated right fielder cum first baseman who is turning in an MVP-type season. See Roger Clemens, the strikeout master.

Or, buy an obstructed view seat, see nothing and eat Fenway Franks all day. Either way, it will be an enjoyable time at the ballpark. Tickets start as low as $4 for bleacher seats.

Directions: Red Line to Park Street; Green Line to Kenmore Square.

Basketball: Larry Bird. You've seen him on TV. But if you wait much longer, you may never see him in person. Bird, one of the best players of the modern era, is thinking of retiring soon.

The problem with catching Bird live is that the Garden is perpetually sold out. You might have a better chance of seeing the Celtics if you flew out to San Antonio or Seattle for a road game. It might be less expensive, too.

Be prepared to pay a steep price for scalpedtickets.

P.S. Regardless of what you've seen on TV, theWorld Championship banners and retiredjerseys--which really do hang from therafters--are guaranteed to send a chill down youspine upon first visit to the Garden.

Directions: Red Line to Park Street; GreenLine to North Station.

Hockey: The Bruins are a good team. But,let's face it, the pro game just isn't any funanymore. A bunch of guys banging each otheragainst the boards as the crowd screams for blood.

However, if you want to see gore, tickets areavailable.

If you want to see a better brand of hockey,check out the Harvard hockey team. Unlike theprofessional game, college hockey features moreskating skill and less brutality. This year, theCrimson plays 12 homes games at Bright Center,including one against the U.S. Olympic Team, and apair of games in the Boston Garden. The latteraffair is the Beanpot Tournament, a hockey battleroyale featuring four of the areas bestteams--Boston College, Boston University, Harvardand Northeastern.

Directions to the Pros: See above.

Directions to Bright Center. Cross CharlesRiver via North Harvard Street Bridge.

Football: It's a long, long way toFoxborough. But if you've got a car, and you don'tmind making the 45 minute drive, you can catch thePatriots--picked in many pre-season polls to winthe AFC East--in action.

Directions: Route 95 South.

Horse Racing: Admission is cheap. But ifyou don't pick the right ponies, it'll cost you.World-famous Belmont is only a bus ride away. Packup your troubles, stuff your wallet and head overto Belmont.

Directions: Hop on a bus at the Square'snew terminal.

Dog Racing: Yup, they also racegreyhounds in Boston. If you won't be embarrassedto tell your parents' friends that you frequentedthe dog tracks while at Harvard, load up thatwallet again and watch the mutts go 'round.

Directions: Red Line to Park Street; GreenLine to Government Center, Blue Line toWonderland.

Professional Wrestling: The WWF makes amonthly stop at the Garden and occasionally evendraws a full house. See the Hulkster, George "TheAnimal" Steele and all your favorite tag-teams inaction.

Just don't take it too seriously.Directions: See above.

In addition to great sporting events, Bostonfeatures several solid sources of sportsinformation:

The Boston Globe: The latest gameresults and box scores, plus a top flightcolumnist in Leigh Montville and an excellentbasketball writer in Bob Ryan.

USA Today: The world of sports in livingcolor. Just like at home.

The New York Times: All the sports newsthat's fit to print. Unfortunately, it's the earlysports news. The Times has good writers, but ifyou want the results of the late game, buy theGlobe