Before I get under way, I want to say two things about this article. First, this is by no means my list of the top-10 greatest plays of all time. These are 10 things that mean a lot to me.
They are from players and teams that I'm a fan of. So don't ask me why your favorite player, team or moment didn't make the cut.
Second, these aren't really in any order. They will be numbered to make it easier to read but other than that, they are in no particular order.
And away we go...
1. Alex Ovechkin: The goal, as it has come to be known
This is the goal the put Ovie on the map. Playing against the Phoenix Coyotes during his rookie season, Ovechkin had a break away. He got bumped by the defender and lost his footing. As he's sliding on his back, somehow he manages to get his stick on the puck and direct it into the net. Even Wayne Gretzky, the coach of the Coyotes and greatest player in the history of the NHL, was quoted as saying, "That was pretty sweet."
2. USA hockey team upsetting the USSR at the 1980 Olympics
I was eight or nine when this happened. There is really no need for me to describe it, since everyone knows about this moment. I will say this though: This is the reason that I'm a hockey fan today.
3. Rick Nash goal
In January of the 2007-2008 season, Rick Nash got a breakaway, also against the Coyotes. Gretzky is probably getting tired of seeing amazing goals scored against his team. Nash is one on two versus the defenders, dekes around both of them multiple times and then gets the goalie to commit to the wrong side, leaving the goal wide open. Nash then deposits the game winner.
4. Ray Bourque finally hoists the Stanley Cup
Ray Bourque is one of my all-time favorite hockey players. He had spent his entire career in Boston. In the 2000 season, he knew he was near the end of his career and wanted a chance to compete for the Cup.
The B's, in what I think was very classy move, agreed to trade him and give him that opportunity.
Bourque was sent to the Colorado Avalanche. The following season, Bourque and the Avs won the Cup. After 22 seasons, he finally got to raise the Cup. If there was ever a more deserving player to have his name embossed on Lord Stanley's trophy, I don't know whom it is.
He was the first player to carry the cup in a victory lap, even before the Captain of the team.
Ray played with class and grace and finished his career as one of the best defensemen ever to play the game. On his day with the Cup, Ray took it to Boston to share with his legion of fans.
I have the Denver Post from the day after the Avs won the Cup, with the headline "HURRAY", with a picture of Bourque lifting the Cup, framed and hanging on my wall.
5. Duke rallying from 10 points down with 54 seconds left to beat Maryland
Jason Williams scored eight-straight points, including two three pointers in 13 seconds. Nate James hit two key free throws to send the game to OT. Battier blocked a Juan Dixon lay-up attempt with four seconds left in OT to preserve the victory.
6. Christian Laettner's shot against Kentucky
In my opinion, this is the greatest play in college hoops history. From the pass to the shot, for my money, it doesn't get better than this one. I have the highlights of this game on my iPod, and every time it comes on ESPNClassic, I still sit and watch it.
This is one of the best games I have ever watched. I was in college in North Carolina at the time. Most of my friends were UNC fans, so of course they were ragging on me the whole time.
When Laettner made this shot, I screamed something to the effect of, "How about Duke now [expletives deleted]," and tore off across campus like an idiot screaming at the top of my lungs.
7. J.J. Redick breaking the all time scoring record at Duke
In an ACC tournament game, Redick scores 25 points to pass Johnny Dawkins as the all-time scoring leader at Duke. This was the culmination of one the greatest college careers of all time. I have this newspaper as well, though I haven't had it framed as of yet.
8. Ball bouncing off Jose Canseco's head for a home run
No, I'm not really a fan of Canseco, but this is one of the funniest things I have ever seen in a baseball game.
In 1993, Canseco was playing for the Texas Rangers when Carlos Martinez of the Cleveland Indians came to bat. He hit a long flyball that Canseco lost in the lights. The ball bounced off Canseco's head and over the wall for a home run.
9. Cal catching the final out of the 1983 World Series
Cal had just completed his first MVP season and was appearing in his only World Series. Though at the time, O's fans everywhere thought this would be the first of many deep runs into the playoffs.
Cal all but disappeared in the Series offensively, but made several great plays against the Phillies, including the leaping catch off Gary Maddox for the series-clinching out in Game Five.
I can still picture him leaping around in celebration after the catch.
10. Cal breaking Lou Gehrig's unbreakable streak
What do I really need to say about this. This is one of the greatest accomplishments in baseball history, and certainly one that O's fans will always treasure.
Well, there you have it. My top 10 favorite sports moments. Being from Baltimore, many of you will hate me for all the Duke stuff, but that's my team and I'm not going to apologize for it.