Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Top 10 Favorite Sports Moments

      Sports Fans, you know how those defining moments which gave you that adrenaline high remain in your minds forever.  I myself recall those moments like a video on replay in my minds eye.  I have elected to select my top 10 and it was not easy.  Hail Mary's to miracles, I share with you my "Top 10 Sports Moments". 

 10. Mario Lemieux's Last Goal Before First Retirement

      "Lemieux heading up the ice, here he comes, here he comes, Mario Lemieux hang on...HE SCORES!! Ya Gotta love it." Gary Thorne calling an NHL game was like bread on butter, which made this moment all the more special. For Mario Lemieux, who was set to retire after the conclusion of the 1997 Stanley Cup Playoffs, it was a fitting end (for the time being) to Mario's career. Lemieux was one of, if not, the best player to ever lace up a pair of skates. To hear the screaming fans show their love and support for one of hockey's all time greats was breathtaking to say the least. Time as we know it was put on hold to allow us to appreciate and cherish this moment, and give one last thanks to a player who gave so much to the fans as chills ran up and down our spines. Lemieux was, is, and always will be, "Mario The Magnificent"

9. "Hail Flutie"

     In what is probably the most defining moment in his entire career (college or pro) Doug Flutie led the Boston College Eagles to a win over the Miami Hurricanes in dramatic type fashion in what would end up being one of the most wild finishes in the history of college football. With six seconds remaining, Boston College had the ball at Miami's 48 and had one last chance to win the game. Flutie, a relatively short quarterback (standing 5f 9in) had his throwing abilities underestimated by the Miami backfield. Flutie who drew back after almost being sacked, threw the football all the way back from his own 37 yd. line. Brent Musburger with the call, "Flutie flushed...throws it down...CAUGHT BY BOSTON COLLEGE! I don't believe it! It's a touchdown! The Eagles win it! Flutie had fired the ball right pass the Miami backfield and right into the hands of
Wide Receiver Gerad Phelan to give BC the win in one of the most dramatic finishes in college football.

8. Music City Miracle

     The Buffalo Bills seemed destined to advance in the 2000 NFL Playoffs after Steve Christie kicked a field goal to give the Bills a 16-15 lead with 16 seconds remaining against the favored Tennessee Titans. Christie would then kick the ball off that was received by Titans Fullback Lorenzo Neal who would abruptly handed the ball off to Tight End Frank Wycheck, Wycheck then threw a lateral to Wide Receiver Kevin Dyson, who had nothing but greener pasture ahead. Dyson would scamper down the sideline, while everyone in the stadium were on their feet, realizing the improbable was happening right before their eyes. Dyson took the ball all the way into the endzone for a touchdown. In what would become known as "The Music City Miracle" Mike Keith of the Tennessee Titans Radio Network made the call that will forever give Buffalo Bills fans reoccurring nightmares (just like Scott Norwood's missed FG) "There are no flags on the field, it's a miracle! Tennessee has pulled a miracle! A miracle for the Titans!" (Tennessee would then coast through the AFC Playoffs before ultimately be beaten in the Super Bowl by the St. Louis Rams)

7. Kris Draper's Game Winning Goal of 1998 Game 2 Stanley Cup Finals

     Joe Louis Arena. Hockeytown. That alone already speaks volumes for itself. The 1998 Stanley Cup Final pitted defending Stanley Cup Champions Detroit Red Wings and the Washington Capitals, who were making their first finals appearance in franchise history. Washington was up by a score of 4-2 after two periods, and looked to tie the series up heading back to Washington with momentum on their side. Detroit however, would fight its way back and score twice in the third period to send the game into overtime. With 4:36 remaining in overtime, Kris Draper took a pass from Martin Lapointe, in front of the crease and scored! The crowed roared loudly with excitement as Gary Thorne's call on the play demonstrated how electrified the entire arena became "Martin Lapointe, center, shot SCORES!!! Kris Draper!!!!! The incredible comeback is complete" The goal gave Detroit a 5-4 win and a 2-0 series lead. (Detroit would go on to sweep Washington in 4) Draper's goal ended up being his first and only of the entire playoffs. Yet it could not have come at a better time.

6. Lorzeno Charles Game Winning Shot In 1983 NCAA National Championship

     Was it a shot? Was it a pass? Who cares! The fact was, Lorzeno Charles made the game winning shot for North Carolina State to defeat Houston 54-52 in the 1983 National Championship. Charles caught an air ball, (which was actually a desperation heave by Dereck Whittenburg) and quickly dunked the basketball as time expired. What also made this moment even more memorable (and personally I think it was even more so than Charles game winning shot) was Jim Valvano's reaction. Valvano, amidst all the chaos, would proceed to run around the court looking for someone to hug and eventually would be lifted in the arms by one of his players as the Wolfpack celebrated their national title.

5. Dan Jansen Wins Gold at 1994 Winter Olympics

    In 1994, Dan Jansen had one last chance to win Gold at the Olympics. Six years prior, Dan's sister Jane inspired him as he was set to compete in the 1988 Olympics and made a promise that he would win gold for her. On the day he was set to do the 500 meter in speed skating, Dan received news that Jane had died. Dan ended up bombing the event. Yet a few days later it seemed Dan was going to make good on his promise as he began with record breaking speed, but ended up falling again, leaving the Olympics with no medals. In 1992, Dan returned to the Olympics as a Gold Medal favorite but once again fell short, and again would leave without any medals, as well as the gold medal he promised his sister. Dan returned to the Winter Olympics in 1994 with one last shot at winning gold, as well as fulfilling the promise he made to his sister that he would win gold. Already finishing 8th in the 500 meter, Jansen had just one chance left to win gold, and would have to do it in the 1000 meter. Jansen, who was up against huge odds, began the event by quickly dashing at the sound of the gun. Jansen remained flawless and was in 1st place after his run where he would remain at the conclusion of the event. Finally fulfilling the promise he made to his sister Jane six years prior by winning gold, Jansen would then take a victory lap around the rink with his daughter... Jane (whom was named after his sister) in his arms

4. Kirk Gibson's Game Winning Home Run in 1988 World Series

     Game 1 of the 1988 World Series matched up the L.A. Dodgers and Oakland Athletics. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, with a man on, Dennis Eckersley was on the mound to close out the game for the A's and take a 1-0 series lead. The Dodgers called for a pinch-hitter. To everyone's surprise, Kirk Gibson was stepping up to the plate! After falling behind quickly 0-2 in the count, Gibson fought back and the count was full. Gibson then took a moment to step outside of the batters box and remembered Dodgers Scout Mel Didier saying "That with a 3-2 count against a left-handed hitter, Eckersley would throw a backdoor slider." Gibson now with that mental note in the back of his mind, stepped back into the batters box. Sure enough, Eckersley threw a backdoor slider which Gibson had expected and with everything he had in his body, swung at the pitch and drove the ball to Right Field and over the wall. "This is gonna be a home run!" said Jack Buck, "I don't believe what I just saw!" Buck had been referring to the fact that Gibson had two bad legs and on top of that, had a stomach virus. Gibson would end up not playing at all in any situation for the rest of the series. Nevertheless, his contribution would not go unnoticed, and the Dodgers would go on to win the World Series thanks in part to Gibson's heroic efforts.

3. Christian Laettner's Game Winning Shot In 1992 Regional Final

   . Christian Laettner and the Duke Blue Devils would face the Kentucky Wildcats in the 1992 Regional Finals in what would go down as arguably the greatest game in the history of college basketball. Up by two, Duke fouled Kentucky's Jamal Mashburn who made the basket and drew the foul. Mashburn would hit the free throw. Putting Kentucky up 101-100 with 19.6 seconds remaining. Christian Lattener was fouled with 14.1 left on the clock, and would hit two free throws to put Duke back ahead. The game was a see-saw battle coming down to the final seconds. Kentucky's Sean Woods would help the Wildcats respond by driving the ball into the paint by making a running hook shot, putting Kentucky up 103-102 with just 2.1 seconds remaining. The Wildcats looked as if they would advance as it seemed improbable that Duke would get a good shot off with the very little time remaining. Duke called a timeout to set up a play. Grant Hill would inbound the ball from their own end of the court and threw it down to Kentucky's. Laettner was called upon once again, (who at this point was perfect from the field all game) caught the inbound pass, faked to the right, took a dribble and took the shot "YES!!!!" as Vern Lundquist screamed and the crowd erupted after witnessing one of the most dramatic finishes of all time in college basketball!

2. 2008 U.S. Men's 4x100 Relay Swim Team Wins In a Photo Finish Against France and Help Keep Phelps Dream of Winning All Gold Alive

     Had the top spot on this list not happened, this would easily have been number one. Heading into the race, there were quite a few stories headlining it. One was Michael Phelps quest to go 8 for 8 in obtaining Gold Medals in each of his events. The other was comments made byAlain Bernard of the French team stating "The Americans? We're going to smash them. That's what we came here for." adding even more hype for the race. Now with a fire lit under them, the Americans were set with their showdown with France. Phelps went first for the U.S. Surprisingly the race was actually dominated early on by Australia, but Garrett Weber Gale gave the U.S. the lead after the second 100 meters. But then halfway into the third 100 meters, France's Frederick Bousquet suddenly went into another gear. Giving France a wide open lead in the race and total control. Heading into the final 100 meters France's Bernard (who made the bold and controversial remarks) looked to put the final nail in the coffin. With his 6ft 5in. stature and lightning speed, nothing seemed to come in the way of stopping France from obtaining gold. Victory was almost certainly guaranteed. Even the announcers were acknowledging that Bernard was poised to claim victory for the French. But then all of a sudden, Jason Lezak of the United States would have the swim race of his life! Quickly Lezak was tightening Bernard's lead and everyone in the venue suddenly came to their feet, with loud roars of cheers at the epic finish they were about to witness. Steadily Lezak kept gaining ground until literally at the last second he pulled ahead for the U.S. Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines with the call "Bernard is losing some ground, here comes Lezak, Unbelievable at the end, HE'S DONE IT!!! The U.S. has done it! He did it! He did it! A World Record! Phelp's hopes are alive!" The crowd was electric as Michael Phelps let out a big scream "YEAH!" as the Americans upset the heavily favored French team in what is one of, if not, the greatest swimming race of all time.

1. 1980 Miracle on Ice

     Just close your eyes and you can still hear Al Michaels saying those famous words "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!" As cliche as it seems, this truly is the greatest sports moment of all time given the circumstances. The U.S. Hockey team (whose roster was filled with just college kids) was up against the U.S.S.R who at the time was the best in the world. Not only did the U.S.S.R defeat the U.S. in a 10-3 blowout 13 days prior in an exhibition, but had even beaten professional teams, beating the NHL All-Stars 6-0 in the Challenge Cup. This was the ultimate David vs. Goliath matchup. The rematch surprisingly saw the U.S. only down one to the Soviet Union after two periods. These young college kids had the whole country watching and supporting them. The Soviets maintained a one goal lead in the third until the 8:39 mark when Mark Johnson fired a shot past Soviet Goaltender, Vladimir Myshkin. The game was now tied at 3 a piece and suddenly the impossible became the possible! Then only moments later the possible became probable when Mike Eruzione shot the puck into the net to give the U.S. a one goal lead and put the Soviets in an unfamiliar situation. U.S. Head Coach Herb Brooks made sure his team did not let up and made them keep playing an aggresive offense. The U.S. continued to get more shots off and applied more pressure on the Soviets. All the while the U.S. kept playing hard with more intensity, time kept winding down. The impossible that became possible, turned into probable, was now a certainty. Al Michaels legendary call to go along with the countdown from the crowd would edge its way into history. Again, if you just close your eyes you can actually hear and relive the moment, "11 seconds. You've got 10 seconds. The countdown going on right now! Morrow up to Silk. Five seconds left in the game. Do you believe in miracles? Yes!"

     These are my Top 10 Favorite Sports Moments. What are some of yours? Are any of them on this list? If not, what are they?

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      Also, I would like to give a special thanks to my friend Marilyn who helped me with editing this blog!

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  1. Thanks for the Kudos Layton the talent is all yours:-) Marilyn