Because I was so inspired by my "One Word Wednesday: Hope" post this morning that honored President Obama, I decided to do a sports version with my 20 favorite sports photos that symbolize the word Hope. Like everything else I try to take on, this endeavor took on a life of its own, and grew far bigger than I had originally planned.
Over the next five days I will be bringing you my newest “countdown.” It’s similar to my "Top Sports Moments / Top Commercials of 2008" series that I did a few weeks ago, except this time I’m not going to rank them.
I don’t feel like these moments can be judged or ranked because they are all so iconic. So symbolic. So powerful, inspirational, and meaningful that they can not be put in an order. Instead, the photos have each been placed in a one word category:
Hope. Believe. Inspire. Imagine. Dream.
Each day I will post a new category with pictures or moments I believe truly define those words. Feel free to email me if you have a photo you think needs to be in one of those lists!
How do you define Hope? How do you put a finger on how it feels? Yesterday marked a day of Hope for Americans, and for the world. Hope that a change is coming. Hope that anything can happen. Hope that if we work hard, one day our dreams will come true.
I picked today’s moments because they too, had the same effect. They gave Hope to millions of people all over the world in times when they needed it the most.
I just recently watched "Cinderella Man," and the impact that this man, this fight, had on America was profound. The fight took place in the height of the Great Depression. Like most Americans, James Braddock had lost everything, and in this fight, he was the quintessential Every Man.
He represented not just the hope of every man, but every family, that they too, could fight back and win.
Like Braddock, Seabiscuit was another figure that gave great hope to America during the Great Depression. The little horse that was a nobody, who became a somebody.
The race in Pimlico against favored War Admiral became the “match of the century.” Over 40,000 people came from all over the country to watch. To give you a reference, the New Yankee Stadium holds a little over 52,000 people.
Over 40 million listened to the race on the radio. And this was in 1938! Not the technology- and transportation-friendly times of today. After the win, Seabiscuit was proclaimed Horse of the Year.
The other story that inspired hope in all of the country was the tale of Seabiscuit's down-on-his-luck jockey, Red Pollard. The two overcame so much together–twice–to become legendary.
Many sports fans were devastated to find out that boxing legend Muhammed Ali had advanced Parkinson’s disease. People didn’t want to imagine him as old and frail. They needed to see him as a fighter. And they got their wish at the Opening Ceremony of the 1996 Summer Olympics, when Ali was revealed as the surprise finale of the Olympic torch relay, being tapped to light the cauldron. Ali stood powerful and tall as he once again ignited the hope of people all over the world.
I don't feel this moment even needs words. The 1992 USA Dream Team was inspirational enough. And hearing the crowd roar and salute Magic Johnson was a moment that made you feel proud to be an American.
And a slight bit of humor.....
Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio show that once upon a time, the Red Sox and the Yankees could co-exist peacefully. I hope one day…
For more pictures in the series, head to Stiletto Sports at http://stilettosetsports.com