Friday, July 08, 2005
Top 10 Sports Memories You Saw in Person or on TV
OK, I was going to do this when I saw it on MgoBlue, then I wasn't, but then I saw it on Cursed to First and I figured, ah heck, I'm getting hit with it from all sides, I may as well.
10. David Ortiz's walk-off homerun June 2, 2005 against the Orioles (in person)
It's probably a little early to declare this truly memorable, since it only happened a little over a month ago. But it was the first walk-off I'd ever seen live, and it was beautiful. So I think it's fair to say I won't be forgetting this one anytime soon.
9. Senior year Powderpuff football game, first Swampscott possession (in person)
Obviously in person, since I was our starting right offensive guard and was, you know, on the field. Having talked to some people at Michigan, it sounds like a lot of towns play their Powderpuff games within the high school, seniors vs. juniors. We didn't do that. We played against our big football rival, the town next door, Marblehead, and it's our seniors vs. their seniors. It's a big deal and can get kind of bloody at times.
Anyways, the very first time Swampscott touched the ball we ran it all the way back down the field for a touchdown. Set the tone for the whole game (which we won 29-21) and, as part of the offense, was something I'll probably never get over.
8. The Steal, Dave Roberts, Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS (on TV)
In retrospect, of course, it seems like this should be much higher. But at the time it was just a really, really good stolen base. It didn't gain the immense significance it has now until the Sox went on to actually win it all. I was watching this game in my friend's dorm room at Tufts (Michigan had a short break and I'd flown home for a few days), and I did scream with absurd glee and frighten all her friends at the time, but I didn't remember it so intensely until after the World Series. After all, this isn't a list of the best sports events I've seen, just the most memorable.
We didn't know it at the time, but this is an image that will never, ever die.
7. The Kick, Adam Vinatieri, Superbowl XXXVI, 2002 (on TV)
With the Patriots as heavy underdogs to the St. Louis Rams, the game was tied at 17 going into the final minutes. The Pats drove down the field and then, with the clock expiring, Adam Vinatieri kicked a 48-yard field goal to win the game. This was the game that ushered the world of football into the Tom Brady Era and the attendant Patriot Reign of Utter Domination except for the '02-'03 season which didn't happen.
6. Thanksgiving Day game, Lions/Patriots, 2002 (in person)
This game was memorable for a number of reasons, and the score wasn't one of them (I know the Lions lost, I can't remember by how much). It was my first game at Ford Field, since it was the first Thanksgiving Day game after the team moved from the old Silverdome. I remember being amazed by how natural the turf looked, after the neon glory of the Silverdome surface, but I sorely missed the Flyin' Lion... still do, actually.
Off the field this one was notable for the large women sitting directly behind us screaming, "Char-lie Batch! Char-lie Batch! We want Batch!" for half the game to express their displeasure with Joey Harrington, an occurrence that both terrified me and made me even more determined to root for Joey. This was also the game where a gentleman several rows back from us had a bit too much to drink and leaned out over the stairs and began vomiting... and vomiting... and vomiting. The result was a literal cascade of vomit, pouring down the stairs for at least 10 rows. A truly majestic and vile sight.
This was also the game where Jason Hanson became the Lions' all-time leading scorer, and where Tedy Bruschi intercepted a pass and ran it in for a touchdown.
Yes, my jersey was like 5 sizes too big, and yes, it's a John Jett jersey. He was the punter back then. Don't ask.
5. Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS (on TV)
Curt Schilling pitching on a bloody sock. Police getting called onto the field to control the irate Yankee fans. A-Rod girly-slapping Bronson Arroyo. The Red Sox becoming the first team to force a game 7 in the ALCS after being down 3-0 in the series. Need I say more?
4. Michigan/Ohio St., 2003 (in person)
My freshman year, so I was still relatively new to the whole 'actually getting to go to Michigan games' thing. We won, 35-21, but what was most memorable was the crowd. The Big House had 112,118 people in it that day, which set the record for the most people to watch a football game (pro or college) in one place, ever, and let me assure you that it certainly looked like it from inside the stadium. It was a Wolverine offensive showcase, as Braylon Edwards caught two TD passes and Chris Perry ran for two TDs.
Oh yeah, and after we won, this happened. Kind of hard to forget a game where you win against one of your biggest rivals, break the record for the most people at any kind of comparable event ever, and afterwards rush the field so thoroughly that you can't tell where the stands end and the field begins.
3. The Muffed Snap, Lions/Vikings, 2004 (on TV)
I did say this was a list of the most memorable stuff, not the best. This was the game where Joey was playing through the flu, and playing brilliantly. The Lions got a touchdown late in the 4th quarter and only needed to complete the routine extra point to send it into overtime against their hated rivals. The game was in Detroit, so the domed field meant there was no inclement weather to contend with. Routine, routine kick.
Only Muhlbach muffed the snap, the ball never got to the holder or the kicker, and that was the game, a one-point loss. We'd been riding high from the unexpected quality play of the Lions, the last-minute touchdown, and to have the game taken away so abruptly was one of the most painful losses I've ever experienced. It was really a time when all Lions fans just sort of sat back and thought to themselves, "Wow, they went and found a whole new way to lose a game."
It also scarred me for life, which is why it's so high on this list.
2. Michigan/Michigan State, 2004, triple overtime (in person)
We sucked in the first half of this game. We sucked hard. In the fourth quarter we were down by 17. By the end of the fourth quarter, the game was tied and heading into overtime, thanks in large part to the steady arm of Chad Henne and the velcro hands (and acrobatic leaps) of Braylon Edwards. Michigan Stadium had gone from disgruntled to ecstatic in under 8 minutes.
Tied after one overtime.
Tied after two overtimes.
In the third overtime, Braylon caught another touchdown pass and Tim Massaquoi caught the 2-point conversion. Michigan State couldn't respond, and some 5 hours after the game began, we had a Wolverine victory. The Spartans, who had played so well for much of regulation, were absolutely crushed.
The only game I've ever seen at the Big House that went into the night, and let me assure you kids, it got cold. It was worth every second, though.
1. Game 4 of the 2004 World Series (on TV)
"Back to Foulke! Red Sox fans have longed to hear it... the Boston Red Sox are World Champions!" --Joe Buck, FOX TV announcer.
"Swing and a ground ball, stabbed by Foulke. He has it. He underhands to first. And the Boston Red Sox are World Champions! For the first time in 86 years, the Red Sox have won baseball's World Championship! Can you believe it?" --Joe Castiglione, WEEI radio announcer.
"You're shaking... you're actually shaking." --my friend Brad, who was watching the game with me and whom I attacked in a complete mess of insanity at the very end.
Memorable in the best way.