Why We Should Never Forget September 12, 2009
Saturday was one of those days where it was acceptable to spend the entire day on the couch with my endless supply of Fritos and Gatorade. Sports nuts, like myself, were able to watch dozens of different events on the television.
From college football games that shocked and impressed, to a NASCAR race that set the tone for the stretch to the championship, to a PGA Tour event that exhibited a Tiger Woods that we have come to appreciate, we fans had the chance to witness great sports at all times of the day.
Because we don't seem to have days like those too often, I thought I would take the time to make a dedication to September 12, 2009. I only hope that all viewers realized what kind of a day it was: a day that should never be forgotten.
Let's start with what we called the "Collision in Columbus." Being from Los Angeles, the town had been talking non-stop about how USC was going to have a tough matchup in the game that will define its season and prove to the sports world that last year's demolition of the Buckeyes was no fluke.
The Ohio State fan nation had gone into this game hoping that Jim Tressell would shake off his losing record in games against top-five teams, touting their superb sophomore quarterback, and praying that their team could prove they are a great team this year.
The game itself was very different than what was expected from this fan. What had been touted as a battle between two young quarterbacks was really a battle of field position and defense.
The only time the pundits were right was during "The Drive" at the end of the game and the ensuing Ohio State possession. A 22-year-old man in a freshman quarterback body led his team his team 86 yards in 14 plays to take the team's second and final lead of the game.
The sophomore sensation then took control of the ball to only waste valuable time off the clock and then turn the ball over to the Trojans for a victory formation. It was exciting, unexpected, and gut-wrenching for four quarters.
In NASCAR, we saw which the twelve drivers were going to compete for a championship. Vickers, Biffle, Montoya, Newman, and Edwards all solidified their places in The Chase. Drivers were racing hard and fast for as long as they could, but those five drivers put themselves in position, throughout the entire race, to challenge the other seven drivers for a championship.
Back in college football, two impressive upsets changed the landscape of the BCS. Oklahoma State, a team that I believed would challenge for a national championship last week, lost a shocker to Houston. Not only did the Cowboys lose to a team that they should have beaten, they likely lost their chance to play for the BCS title.
Michigan was able to put aside the strange accusations of two weeks ago and win against a highly regarded Notre Dame squad. The week in college football proved that a week can truly, and emphatically, change a season.
The PGA Tour also gave sports fans something to smile about. Tiger Woods put up a score of 62 for a new course record at Cog Hill. That performance put Woods into an enviable position to win the BMW Championship and give himself plenty of points in the FedEx Cup standings. The pressure that Steve Stricker put on Woods didn't seem to mean to much to the world's No. 1 golfer.
But perhaps the most memorable event of the 12th was in New York. In a day of the U.S. Open that was about the lack of play, the final match of the night was decided by a non-played decision.
After being called for a foot-fault, Serena Williams, in a moment of complete fury and embarrassment, went "John McEnroe" on the line judge and threatened to shove the tennis ball down her throat. She ruined her own "rags to riches"-like story and was completely unapologetic about her words.
This action was one of complete disrespect. The line judge was probably the most interesting character in all this activity. After she was disrespected, she took a moment to think about whether to report the threat that had been made upon her. She didn't want a match of this magnitude to be decided by a judge. However, the correctly decided that any lecture like that cannot be tolerated, and she reported Serena, ending the match.
Another player in this whole ridiculous excuse for sportsmanship is the U.S. Open crowd. Instead of actually assessing the situation that Serena and the line judge had, they booed against the official.
It was a moment that every member of that crowd surely regretted when they got home and saw the replay. The crowd didn't cheer for the right person; it only cheered and booed in favor of the person it seemed to relate to: the top American player.
Hopefully, that crowd learned its lesson, and it should be one of the first groups to apologize to that line judge.
Overall, a great day for sports fans, despite the lack of character and sportsmanship from a top athlete. The Collision in Columbus was fantastic, NASCAR added plenty of excitement, college football gave all of us something incredible to watch, and Tiger Woods was....well, Tiger Woods.
The 12th gave all of us something that reminded all of us, in our own ways, why we are fans of sports. I only hope more days like these happen in the coming weeks and months, with the baseball playoffs getting involved in the frenzy.
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