Monday, January 27, 2014

Great Sports Moments

The other night I was watching an HBO special about great moments in sport. People talked about how these moments provided hope, inspiration and brought communities together. As I watched I got to thinking about the great sporting moments I remember in my life. Here is what I came up with:

-Michigan vs. Colorado 1994: This was my recruiting trip to Michigan. We were sitting a few rows back on the 50 yard line. The game was "over" with one play left so we began to walk up the bleachers to leave. We turned around to watch the final hail mary pass which never work except that day it did. We just stood there. No one said anything. The stadium was silent except for the small bunch of Colorado fans in one corner of the stadium. As we walked amongst the 105,000 fans filtering out of the stadium it was eerily quiet.

Check out :45 into this video for the pass: 

-Michigan v. Ohio State 1997: Michigan was undefeated going into this game. Winning meant a trip to the Rose Bowl and a shot at the national championship. We had Charles Woodson. The stadium was so loud. Usually Michigan stadium is a little subdued and quiet. Not that day. When Woodson ran an interception back for a touchdown the place went crazy. Marcus Ray FLATTENED David Boston on a play, we won the game and then everyone tried to rush the field. We got pepper sprayed but it was worth it.

-Michigan BB vs. Ohio State 1992: I LOVED the Fab Five. Chris and Jalen were from Michigan so I knew of them when they played high school ball. Chris Webber's last game in HS was played against Albion HS in the state championship game so that was pretty cool. This game in 1992 was the regional championship and if they won they would go to the Final Four. I remember sitting on the couch at my house so nervous and excited. I was riveted by every basket. I think my mom was baking cookies in the kitchen---the memory is so vivid. They won and eventually got beat by Duke in the final.

-Michigan BB vs. UNC 1993: The Fab Five made it back to the Final Four. I was in Florida for spring break and I remember watching this game. Near the end, a timeout was called when they had none. It sealed their fate. I watched a documentary on the Fab Five and I still get upset when it happens. I want to make it go away. I bet Chris Webber does as well....

-Red Wings Stanley Cup Title 1998: I don't remember who they beat but I remember the team giving Konstantinov the Cup after the game. I was in tears.

-Derek Redmond 1992 Olympics: I did not know who this guy was before the 400m race. I just remember he tore his hamstring and his dad came out to help him to the finish line. I always cry a few times during the Olympics and this was no different.

Link to the video if you want to watch (his dad pushes the security away):
-Phelps vs. Cavic 100 Fly, 2008 Olympics: Unbelievable. All Cavic had to do was keep his head down (see pic). At that point I think it was just meant to be that Phelps would win all those gold medals.

Every swimmer should look at this picture and remember how important it is to keep your head down when finishing.
-4x100m Freestyle Relay, 2008 Olympics: Jason Lezak running down Alain Bernard to touch him out by .08. You can watch the video for some great (or not so great) commentating by Rowdy Gaines.

-Kerri Strug 1996 Olympics: I loved watching gymnastics in the Olympics. For a couple years I wanted to be a gymnast but then I figured out I was going to be tall, had more potential in swimming and I was not brave enough to do gymnastics so I focused fully on swimming. Kerri Strug doing that vault to help the team win after tearing up her ankle on the first vault is awesome and tragic at the same time.

I can't even imagine how painful running on that ankle was for her. 
-Floyd Landis, Stage 17 Tour de France 2006: pains me to remember this because I know it was a fallacy but it was so freaking exciting. I had the tour tracker on at work---I was a paralegal at the time. I was screaming at the computer. I could not believe the gap kept growing and growing... And then I remember when his positive test came back a few weeks later.

-Lance Armstrong, Alpe De Huez TT 2004: This is another one that creates a totally different emotion in me now. I knew it was probably too good to be true at the time but the story of it all sucked me in. Sheryl Crow was in the follow car and the crowds up the mountain were insane. I choose to remember the crowds and their enthusiasm instead of the athlete now.

-Patroits vs. Raiders, 2002 NFL Playoffs: The tuck play. The game was super snowy and for some reason I really like to watch football when they play in conditions like that. It is sloppy and not "good" football but it sure makes it exciting. Plus, the play was between Woodson and Brady---2 Michigan guys from my time in Ann Arbor. This play and the way it turned out could be difference between Brady being who he is now and just another QB in the NFL. Seriously, they won that year and everything changed. What would have happened if the call went the other way?

-Janet Evans, 1988 Olympics: She was 16 years old, weighed less than 100lbs and killed everyone in the 400 free, 400 IM and 800 free. Some of the records she set stood for 20 years. I remember going to watch Stanford vs Michigan swimming a few years later and I stalked her for an autograph. I remember saying "Janet, can you sign my program??"

All these stories made me believe and some made me cry. I love sports and everything that goes into it. The hard work, the sacrifice and the inspiration.


  1. Side note: Cavic was in one of my classes/discussion sections at Cal. Which like I didn't realize until after who he was.

    I don't know if the doping changes what I feel about those races. I mean does what we know now about how fucked up girls gymnastics is and the fact that Strug actually didn't need to do that for the team to win the gold change that she thought she had to and what it meant to lots of people watching?

    1. Yeah...doping aside it was great racing (and we all "knew" at the time). That is why I included them because in the moment I was riveted and I remember it vividly. Strug too. Made me cry.