From The Orange And Black To a Tiger Attack: My Top Ten Sports Memories Of 2010
Perhaps you are a fan of a website known as JibJab. For those of you unfamiliar, JibJab creates funny political videos and other satirical material which it puts on the web. It even allows people to upload their own faces in some videos, such as the one they made for the 2008 Election, "Time For Some Campaigning." Anyway, every year since 2005 JibJab has made a "Year in Review" type video. I have watched all of them, and when I heard of this year's edition being released, I rushed to my computer and eagerly turned it on. But there was just one minor problem...
The video completely sucked. I mean, it was just straight garbage compared to the masterpieces they have produced in the past.
The video features Obama and Biden portrayed as puppets, which, whatever your political standing, isn't even remotely funny. They lament mistakes and events of the past year while singing to an unfamiliar, offbeat tune that changed throughout the video. The production was sloppy, the effects were non existent, and perhaps the worst aspect of all was that not a single sports event was mentioned. Not even one.
2009 mentioned Vick's return and the Favre drama, 2007 mentioned the Vick dog scandal in it's opening lines and even mentioned the Red Sox second World Series win later on. You would figure the 2010 version would have some sort of reference to the Olympics. Or LeBron James. Or the World Cup. Or the Saints winning the Super Bowl. Or something.
Nope, not there.
Which brings me to the point of this article.
While JibJab may have let me down, 2010 was actually a pretty good year for me, especially sports wise. My San Francisco Giants finally won the World Series, something I have wanted to see since before I can remember. The Sharkies made a good run in the playoffs before being blanked by the eventual champs, and the Niners and Raiders both made serious runs before being eliminated last week. Not to mention the Stanford Cardinal, who I remember following at 1-11, posted an 11-1 record and are set to play in the Orange Bowl on Monday.
With credit to fellow Contributor Jessica Hirshfield for giving me the idea, here are my top 10 sports memories of 2010.
The USA falling to Canada in OT in the Men's Gold Medal game of the 2010 Winter Olympics, Stanford women ending UConn's streak, the Saints finally winning the Super Bowl, the LeBron-a-thon, the 49ers and Raiders maintaining playoff contention thru Week 15 despite being below .500, Luck's Heisman chase, and my first game at Yankee Stadium while visiting the Big Apple all deserve honorable mentions.
10.) Butler ALMOST Upsetting Duke In The Men's Title Game
Duke 61, Butler 59.
The Bulldogs came much closer than anyone could realistically expect, but in the end could not pull of the upset over a basketball giant which was all too notorious for choking when it mattered the most.
It all came down to a buzzer-beater three which fell short, giving Duke the win and proving me wrong yet again.
As one of the greatest title games ever in a sport I don't care as much about as the others, this moment barely vaults itself into the top 10.
9.) The Giants Heartbraking Late Season Loss to The Rockies
Like the eventual top moment, this only ranks as high as it does because I was fortunate enough to see the game in person.
As a Giants fan living in Colorado, I usually try to make a couple trips to Coors Field each year to see the Jints take on the Rox, and this year my second game turned out much more memorable than my first on July 2nd. Coming into the game on September 25th, 2010, the San Francisco Giants pitching had been historically good.
For eighteen straight, it had held opponents lineups to three runs or fewer, including five shutouts. When Freddy Sanchez homered with one out in the first, I figured the G-Men were well on their way to another classic, low-scoring victory. It was not to be that night, however, as the teams wound up trading runs the entire night, ultimately needing a tenth inning to decide the victor. With two runners on base, Troy Tulowitzski did exactly what I thought he would by driving in his fifth run of the game and delivering his team a dramatic 10-9 win over mine. The annoying chants of *clap*clap*clap clap clap*clap clap clap clap* TULO! are still stuck in my head, and vaults this game to number nine.
8.) Vick Leading Philly To an Amazing Week 15 Comeback Against The Giants
Let me get this straight: I am in no way shape or form a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles. However, I paid attention to this game for one reason and one reason only. His last name starts with "V", and ends with "ick."
And he is only trailing New England's Brady in MVP voting.
When I saw New York leading 24-3 in the second half, I tuned in to see if Vick could pull it off. When an Eagles TD strike was countered by another Giants one, I figured that the Birds were done. But Vick wound up leading the Eagles to three more touchdowns, which evened the score.
The game was capped by an amazing punt return for TD by a guy who's alma matter my older brother will never let me forget (see number three), and left the Giants reeling. In my mind, this game clinched the MVP Award for Vick, while being memorable to earn the eight spot on my list.
7.) TW Coming Oh So Close To Winning The Chevron World Challenge
I don't know about you, but I have been a fan of Tiger my entire life, and the scandal really did nothing to change that.
In fact, I am like the many who only really pay attention to golf when Tiger is involved and contending, otherwise golf is as intriguing to me as a seniors' curling tournament. He wasn't involved to start the year, and when he finally got back in, he wasn't contending.
But the Chevron World Challenge changed all that.
Tiger took a four-shot lead into the final round and gave people like me a reason to believe we would finally see him win on Sunday after a year of frustration. But it was not to be as he ended up squandering a four-shot lead to Graeme McDowell, eventually losing in a one hole playoff. Still, seeing Tiger contend was worthy of recognition as number seven on my list.
6.) Landon Donavan's Winning Goal In Stoppage Time Against Algeria
For 90-plus minutes, me and a good bulk of the rest of a nation that had caught soccer fever watched in despair as the Yanks stared elimination in the face, tied 0-0 in stoppage time. Then, just like that, one shot by our hero, Mr. Donavan, changed the mood of an entire nation and sent the US into a frenzy, as well as it's first advancement past the group stage in 80 years. The fact that they would wind up eliminated after a 2-1 loss to Ghana days later doesn't matter. The thrill of this victory puts it at number six.
5.) The Giants Win The World Series!
Although this wasn't quite as dramatic because I viewed it from a couch in my living room rather than a hard, green chair in the ballpark stands, the thrill of seeing my favorite team finally burst the championship bubble is still good enough to crack the top five. Especially since I was yet to be born when the last Bay Area team, the San Francisco 49ers, were crowned World Champions in their respective sport.
4.) Success Is But a Fantasy
I know this may sound kinda lame, but I have been playing Fantasy Football for three years now, and this year was by far my best. My ESPN standard league team, the "San Francisco Progressives," recovered from a tough opening week loss to win four straight and nine of it's last ten to clinch the league's second seed with a 9-2 record. Quarterback and first round draft pick Drew Brees led the way, while proverbial diamonds in the rough such as RB Peyton Hillis and WR Mike Wallace provided a boost to the lineup after being picked up during the season. They ended up losing in the first round of the playoffs, but it was still a great and exciting season, well worthy of a number four spot on the list.
3.) Stanford Whoops Cal In Big Game
Similar to number two, I wouldn't put a regular season game this high except for personal convictions. My brother is a huge Cal fan, and I'm a die hard Cardinal supporter. For as long as I can remember, the game was either close or a Cal blowout. This year, however, I finally got to taunt my brother about his Golden Bears becoming Cardinal stew rather than the other way around.
In Berkley, no less.
2.) Sharks Thrilling 6-5 OT Win Over Avs
Normally, I wouldn't put a first rounder this high, but as a Bay Area native living in Colorado, this one is a bit personal...
1.) Uribe's Sac Fly Wins Game Four of The NLCS For The Giants
In a game which I was lucky enough to attend thanks to my school's crazy schedule, the Giants came into their half on the ninth all tied up with the Phils at five. Freddy Sanchez lined "a bullet" to right for out number one, as my dad put it, before back-to-back singles by Huff Daddy and Posey gave the Giants runners on the corners with just one out.
Uribe stepped up to the plate, and I could feel the rush of the Giants/Rockies game retuning, only more positively this time. The guy in front of me yelled for Uribe to just "hit it into the outfield," which is exactly what he did as it allowed Aubrey Huff to cross home plate, moving the Giants within a win of the World Series and absolutely electrifying the already jolted San Francisco crowd.
Amazing. Incredible. The best ball game my dad says he ever saw. And good enough to earn a video as well as the top spot on my list.