It’s probably no secret to anyone who knows me that I am a huge sports fan. I follow literally every sport, probably as much as anyone I know follows their favourite sport. It all interests me. Tennis, Golf, Hockey, Football, Baseball. Doesn’t matter. If it’s on TV, I’m usually watching.
I love sports for several reasons. First and foremost are the stats. Ever since I was a young kid I loved numbers, and nowhere are numbers as important and exciting as in sports. They tell the whole story, and that’s what attracted me to it.
The second reason, and this came as I grew up, was the historical impact. It amazes me how one season, one game, one play, can have such a huge impact on a player’s legacy. For example, LeBron James is 2-3 in his NBA Finals appearances. Respectable by most standards, but not what is expected of an all-time great. He was one shot away from being 1-4, but teammate Ray Allen saved the Miami Heat in 2013 with a miracle three pointer. It’s barely brought up anymore, but that has always lingered with me. Anyways…. I love history. You get the point.
It takes so much to make a sports game/event memorable, and everyone has different opinions on them. Here are my top five:
5: LeBron vs Detroit Pistons, 2007 NBA Playoffs. Ok so it was actually Cleveland Cavaliers vs Detroit, but basically it was LeBron on his own. He scored 25 straight points for the Cavs, as they miraculously won against the Pistons. It was LeBron’s first “career-defining” moment, and I’ll never forget where I was when I watched it.
4. 2002 US Open Men’s Tennis Final (Pete Sampras vs Andre Agassi). One of the first major sports events I remember. Had no reason to cheer for either guy, because I didn’t know much of either. For some reason I wanted to cheer for Sampras, and he prevailed in four tight sets. He retired right after, and I have been hooked on tennis ever since.
3. 2006 AFC Championship game, Indianapolis Colts vs New England Patriots. Peyton Manning has long been one of my favourite athletes, so every year I was disappointed when the Colts lost. Not only that, but his rival Tom Brady was stacking up Super Bowls, with three to his name by this time. It seemed as if it was going to be the same old story again, with Brady winning his fourth and squashing the debate between the two. Not so fast. Manning led a miracle comeback with the Colts down huge in the second half, and won the game for the Colts. I’ll always remember my celebration when the Colts clinched it with an interception. They cruised in the Super Bowl, and Manning got his first championship.
2. 2009 French Open Semi-Final, Roger Federer vs Juan Martin Del Potro. Roger Federer is quite possibly my favourite athlete ever. I’ve followed his entire career since his Wimbledon victory in 2003, with an embarrassing amount of detail. I can tell you all 17 of his Grand Slam trophies, the year, who he beat, and how many sets, all from memory. It’s sad, I know. The French Open was the one trophy he lacked as of 2009. With his kryptonite Rafael Nadal out of the tournament, it really was now or never and he became a huge favourite to win. He almost blew it against Del Potro, needing five sets to beat him in the semis. Following this near-disaster, he cruised in the final against Robin Soderling and completed the “Career Grand Slam”.
1. The 2005 Masters As you can tell, a lot of my favourite moments are centred on athletes, not teams. That’s the history aspect I love, and number one is no different. This was the first time I watched Tiger Woods win a major championship. So glorious. After a two year drought with no majors (a walk in the park compared to today), Tiger returned to the top of the game with his memorable victory at Augusta National. Everyone remembers the chip-in on 16, but that only got him into the playoff. He drained a long putt in the playoff to win the tournament, a moment I will never forget. The fact he may never win another major scares me, but I will always have my memories.
– Both New York Giant victories over the Patriots. Hate the Patriots, hate Tom Brady. Kept Manning alive in the great QB ever conversation.
– The Ray Allen three pointer mentioned above.
– Roger Federer’s 2012 Wimbledon Championship
Close Calls: – Arizona Cardinals loss in Super Bowl against the Steelers (would be #1 if they would’ve won the game)
– Roger Federer losing to Novak Djokovic in 2014 Wimbledon (would’ve been top five if he won)
– If the Blue Jays ever win the World Series, straight to the top.
note: I left out Olympic achievements, because that would be the entire list. Canada trumps all.