Friday, December 30, 2011

Favorite Sports Stories of 2011

Another year of sports is coming to an end. Last year I put together my top ten sports moments but this year I want to focus on the stories so here are my top ten.

10. The NCAA College Football National Championship Game: Yeah, Oregon lost, but it was great to be there. What an amazing experience to get to see the team you love play in the biggest of games.

9. Emerson Middle School Boys Basketball Buzzer Beater: Our boys got to play at the NBA All-Star Jam Session at the Convention Center downtown. They earned there way by winning several close games but the most dramatic was their come from behind victory over Gompers with Jordan hitting a jumper as time expired. "Jordan hits the game-winner!" Has a familiar ring to it, doesn't it?

8. Tim Tebow: I have not been a fan of Tim Tebow but his late game dramatics have been a pretty incredible story to watch and I love the Tebowing phenomenon.

7. Game Six of the MLB World Series: I was not all that excited about watching the Cards and the Rangers in this year's fall classic and at the start of game six, with all those errors, I wondered if either team really wanted it. But with the Cards down and the Rangers a strike away from the title, the Cards come up with the hit. And then they come up with more hits and in the eleventh they win it. And then they win it all. Pretty crazy and I was super happy for former Dodger, Furcal.

6. Matt Kemp's Triple Crown Run: There was not much to cheer for from the empty stands of Dodger Stadium this season. But with a Cy Young pitcher on the mound and Matt Kemp vying for the triple crown, I was still watching our boys in blue this past September. And as Dodger fans say, "Wait 'til next year."

5. Emerson Middle School Boys Flag Football City Championship: Once in a while a special team comes along. Five years ago it was a special Emerson girls basketball team who won the city title and this year our boys' flag football team made an incredible run. They finished their undefeated season with a come-from-behind win on a catch by Jordan with no time on the clock (yes, the same Jordan who hit the game-winning basketball shot at the All-Star Jam Session).

4. Uganda's Little League Team: My hometown of Bend, Oregon made it to the Regionals of the Little League World Series but their story wasn't as powerful as the one from Uganda, a team who never made it to the Little League World Series because of paperwork discrepancies. They are still playing baseball in Uganda and there is no doubt we will see them in Williamsport one of these summers.

3. VCU V. Butler at the Final Four: When Number 11 seed Virginia Commonwealth was set to play against Number 8 seed Butler I didn't know which Cinderella to root for. But after watching VCU coach Shaka Smart getting his team fired up with his Iron Man drill, I knew who I was pulling for. 

2. The Japanese Women's World Cup Soccer Team: A devastating earthquake and tsunami, and a bunch of short soccer-playing girls. Yeah, I wanted them to upset the Americans in the World Cup Final and when it came down to PKs, Hope Solo couldn't make the save. A few key misses handed Japan the crown and I'll just try to forget all of the racist slurs that cluttered the twitterverse shortly thereafter.

1. The Final Day of the MLB Regular Season: Okay, so the scenarios on the final day: Boston and Tampa Bay were in a dead heat for the AL Wild Card, and Atlanta and St. Louis both still had a shot at the NL Wild Card. When the Braves lost to the Philllies, the Cards watched and waited after their own victory over Houston and then celebrated Atlanta's collapse. Then, in the course of moments, with the Rays down 7 in the eighth against the Yankees, it looked like the Sox had slammed the brakes on their fall skid, but then they blew the lead, and the Rays walked off on an Evan Longoria homer. The Red Sox were eliminated ending an incredible final day of the regular season.

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