The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Ten Greatest Sports Memories

Note: This has been sitting on my blogger dashboard for a couple of days now. Was actually writing about this a couple of hours before the London bombings and didn't really think that I could actually lead off the morning with a post on my 10 greatest sports memories. But I want to get this on the blog and off the dashboard, so here it is.

From Greg Wythe, what are your 10 greatest sports memories? This takes alot more time than you would think. Here's my list:

  1. 1999 NBA Finals, Spurs-Knicks, Game 5- A horrible game, but for a kid who lived and died by the Spurs, there was no greater feeling. Erased all those game 7 Blazers-Spurs, Spurs-Suns Barkley shuts down Hemisfair, 2 seed Spurs lose to 7 seed Warriors, Olajuwan ripping Five-oh to shreds moments.
  2. 2004 Southland Conference Men's Basketball Tournament Championship Game- When you attend a college in Texas without a football team, you're kinda stuck with zip until November or so. But there ain't nothing like watching a college basketball conference championship game, whether its the Southland or the ACC, especially when it was as close as this one (74-70). This was about as packed a game as you get at UTSA, and the game wasn't put away until the final seconds when Stephen F. Austin missed a three with the score 72-70.
  3. 1991 World Series, Braves-Twins, Game 7- The early '90s Braves made me a Braves fan up until today... even though I haven't known the majority of their players for a couple of years now. The greatest baseball game I have ever seen. Possibly made even greater by the fact that I just absolutely knew that the Braves were going to pull it off. And then they didn't. The only downside? That it was played in the god-awful Metrodome.
  4. 2003 NBA Finals, Spurs-Nets, Game 6- The first one is always the best, but the playoff journey in '03 was just amazing. Finally beating the Lakers, Steve Kerr willing the Spurs to win in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals against the Mavs, David going out a champ. What will be known as the championship that started the Spurs dynasty.
  5. Nolan Ryan's 6th and 7th no-hitters- Fudging a bit here with two in one spot, but my life consisted of watching Spurs games, Braves games (we had just gotten cable and TBS was a godsend) and seeing Ryan pitch in the early '90s. And on two occassions it was magic. It wasn't so much that they were no-hitters as it was that he was absolutely unstoppable. Looking up the stats, Ryan had a combined 30 strikeouts in these two games. He was two walks in both games away from perfect games. Oh, and he did all this well into his forties. Actually, we're gonna fudge alittle more on this one, and add the 1993 game where I got to see him pitch in person at the old Arlington Stadium. Don't even remember who they were playing, but it was Ryan's last year and he was kind of limping into retirement. I bugged my dad enough so he actually scheduled our summer vacation around Ryan's tentative starts. Not an easy thing to do as he was coming on and off the DL that last year. He stayed on the mound for 5 or 6 innings, and he didn't seem to have the juice, but it's was worth it. Even out in center field with general admission tickets.*
  6. 1997 NBA Finals, Bulls-Jazz, Game 5; 1998 NBA Finals, Bulls-Jazz, Game 6- The Flu Game and The Shot. Even though it's talked about nearly every time his name is brought up, I still think that MJ's will to win is the most underrated aspect of his game. Mostly because I believe it takes someone of Jordan's will to truly appreciate it. A lesser man would've sat game 5 and rationalized it away since the Bulls had home court advantage. Or the lesser man would've either not done every single thing or would have not successfully completed every single thing that Michael did when the game was on the line in game 6. Still one of the most influential men of my life.
  7. 1990 CYO Baseball Divisional Playoffs- My third grade year, my Little League baseball team went on a tear. The only thing I can really compare our team to is the 1927 Murderer's Row NY Yankees. Undefeated through the regular season and the divisional and zone playoffs, it wasn't until we hit the city playoffs that we lost a game. And which point and time we promptly decided to lose every game save one. To say that I was a valuable member of that team would be a gross overstatement. To say that I wasn't a very good baseball player when I was younger is probably the understatement of the decade. But I still feel that I did my part. Hitting at the all-important 8 or 9 slot for the majority of the season, I was up to bat in the bottom of the 8th (we were in extra innings) with the score tied 2-2, men on first and third with two outs. My coaches were (wisely) already strategizing for the ninth inning until on a 2-1 count I haphazardly swung my bat right into the baseball's path and lined a hard grounder towards the shortstop. Just hard enough to have the SS bobble the ball for a second before he fired it home, where he was a split-second too late with the throw. Game ends, pandemonium ensues, snacks are finally brought out of the coolers.
  8. 2005 NBA Finals, Spurs-Pistons, Game 7- This would probably rate higher if the Western Conference Finals had actually lived up to the hype. Not too much you can say about this year's team that hasn't already been said in the last month or so, so I'll just leave you with this. With the core locked down for several years now, this could be the playoff run that all the sportswriters and analysts look back on and say this was where the Spurs dynasty learned how to never give an opponent a extra chance.
  9. 1996 Olympics, 200m and 400m Finals- Michael Johnson becomes the first man to ever win the 200 meters and 400 meters at the Olympics. Johnson also shatters the 200m world record which he had just set at the Olympic Trials (he actually broke it twice there, once in the semis and once in the finals, but the wind was faster than allowable during the semis) after no one had come close to touching it for over 20 years.
  10. 1998 UT-TAMU football- The day Ricky breaks Dorsett's record. Doesn't matter that much now since Ron Dayne broke it a year later, but at the time it was absolutely amazing. Over 6,000 yards in four years, most great NFL running backs would be hard pressed to do that in their prime. Even with the four or five extra games they get. People also seem to forget that going into the game UT was unranked while TAMU was in the top 10.

So there's my list, what's yours?

*Of course we can't write about Ryan without bringing up the Ryan-Ventura fisticuffs. You could never do that a decade later. Ryan would've been suspended for 120 games or something while Steriod Barry is still out hitting homeruns off of his huge ass head.