At their essence, Sports are a chance for us to escape from the troubles of everyday life, and invest our emotions and love in a group of athletes we will likely never meet. Yet, we feel like their best friends, we experience the ups and downs with them, and if we are a "true fan" we always stick with 'em, even when the goin' gets tough. The reason we do so is so we can savor this group when they are at there most spectacular, astonishing, and miraculous. The moments in Sports that truly captivate us are moments that we will never forget-the miracles. So I decided to count down the Five Most Miraculous Moments of the Past Thirty Years.
5. The 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers provided baseball fans what may be the most memorable, astonishing, and simply MIRACULOUS Walk-Off Home Run of All-Time. Kirk Gibson, hobbled with a leg injury, improbably stepped up to the plate with the Dodgers trailing by one to the powerhouse A's, with the great Dennis Eckersley closing out what looked to be the first game of a four game Oakland sweep. Gibson worked the count full, hobbling after every time he had to swing the bat. Eckersley dealt the 3-2 pitch and,well, I'll leave the rest to Jack Buck..."You have a big 3-2 pitch coming here, from Eckersley. Gibson...swings and a fly ball to deep right field! This is gonna be a home run! Unbelievable! A home run for Gibson! And the Dodgers have won the game, 5 to 4! I don't believe...what I just saw!" Gibson's unbelievable Walk-Off would lead to a four game sweep of the A's, bringing a championship back to blue.
4. The 2001 World Series was perhaps the most emotionally charged, and uplifting World Series in history. In context, it looks like a matchup of David v. Goliath, upstart Arizona versus the big, bad Yankees. But this year, it was a different story. America had been rocked by the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centers in NYC. It brought tremendous grief to the country, and it was at this time that Americans needed sports most, an opportunity for them to embrace something bigger than themselves, and escape from the turmoil of everyday life. America found it's team in none other than the Bronx Bombers, the New York team that bled pinstripes. And when the underdog D'Backs met the Yanks in the Fall Classic, it turned out to be the most exciting series in decades. This series featured two extra inning games, two spectacular Yankee comebacks that came on consecutive nights, and of course, the rarest of things, a Walk Off Hit to win the World Series. Luis Gonzalez rallied the Diamondbacks in the bottom of the ninth in Game Seven off the greatest reliever of all time in Mariano Rivera, eventually delivering the dagger with his blooper into right. Nonetheless, it was one of the most inspiring World Series in baseball history, and one of sports' finest hours.
3. The 2005 Texas Longhorns had no shot. Plain and simple, they looked to be bludgeoned by the University of Southern California. The Trojans were "loaded" in every definition of the word, their forces included the likes of two Heisman trophy winners in the explosive Reggie Bush and the dynamic Matt Leinart, not to mention a workhorse Running Back in LenDale White. But, as cliched and overused as this is, USC couldn't stop Vince Young. Everything had gone, with a mild Texas rally hither and thither, according to plan for the Trojans, who had dynasty set in their minds, as they entered with an astounding 34 game win streak, and coming off National Championships. As the game headed towards conclusion, and what seemed liked destiny for the Southern Cal Trojans, USC took a 38-26 lead with 6:42 remaining in the Fourth Quarter. Nice effort, Texas, but ain't nobody gonna beat these Trojans, who had been declared to have the greatest offense in College Football history. VY took over and took the Hook 'Em boys all 69 yards for the score to bring the Horns within 5, with 3:58 to play. As the Texas defense made many a stop on the next drive, allowing only one first down, it left Pete Carroll to make a decision that he likely regrets to the day. He handed the ball to White on Fourth and Two, and came up one yard short of a chance to run out the clock to a Championship. Then, as the game neared it's end, Texas was forced to a Fourth and Five at the USC eight, Texas left the ball in the hands of Young, who subsequently galloped into the end zone, leaving Texas with the lead-for good. It was another rarity in Sport, the hyped-up game that actually excedes the hype, and it has left Texas fans elated for years.
2. The 2004 Boston Red Sox were down and out. It had been 86 years of disappointment, heartbreak, and embarassment, and this year had been no different thus far. In the previous year, at least they had put up an inspired fight against these Yankees and had a chance (Darn you, Grady Little!). Yet now, they found themselves victim of a throttling by the New York Yankees, whom had masacred them 19-8 in Game 3 to take a three nothing advantage. Little did they know that the Yankees would be the real choking victims. And Game Four had that same feeling for Boston fans, that is, until Dave Roberts came in to pinch run after good ol' Kevin Millah was walked by the great Mo Rivera. A series of pickoff throws to first base kept Roberts honest, but everyone in this hemisphere knew what Roberts was preparing to do: steal second base and rally the Red Sox. First pitch from Rivera, and Roberts was off to the races. Mueller took, and Posada's throw was just high enough to miss Roberts. Nonetheless, Mueller singled to right, and the Sawx won Game Four. Sure, Game Four was great and all, but they needed three more wins to pull off the incredible. Another extra inning duel for Game Five, and improbably, another late inning Red Sox comeback to win the game. Sniffle, cough, cough-what? This was certainly on track for a Pinstriper sweep-what's going on here? Surely a crucial error or blown save would sink the Sox in Game Six, right? Yet it was a Yankee who ruined Game Six, and passed the torch of America's team onto the Red Sox with Alex Rodriguez's bush league interference. The rest was an uncompetitive knighting, which capped the most awe-inspiring, remarkable post season run in the history of sport. God loves his Red Sox, doesn't he?
1. The 1980 American Hockey Team were something of a joke to the average American. They did not offer much hope during the Cold War Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. Most assumed that if they were to defeat the ruthless USSR Powerhouse Team, pigs would be seen flying immediately after. In an exhibition match prior to the Winter Olympics, the USSR strangled the Americans 10-3, the equivalent of losing a football game 70-21, a nail-biter to say the least. Yet, the Americans and Coach Herb Brooks played astonishingly well in Olympic Group Play, tying Sweden and shocking the Czechs 7-3. Meanwhile, the Soviets redefined DOMINATION, especially in an embarassment of Japan 16-love. This set the Soviets and the Americans up for a medal round matchup. The Soviets were so heavily favored that it led an American writer , Dave Anderson, of the New York Times, to write this gem,"Unless the ice melts, or unless the United States team...pulls a miracle...the Russians are expected to win the gold medal for the sixth time in the last seven tournaments." As gametime rolled around, the arena was packed with fiery American fans and fierce Soviets, both pulling for their teams with a passion uncomprehensible. Things started as expected in the matchup, with the USSR team scoring first, and eventually taking a two-one lead over the Star Spangled Hockey team. As the Americans fell into their one score deficit, United States goaltender Jim Craig heightened his play, and allowed the Americans to rally as the seconds waned down in the first period, with Mark Johnson dinging in a rebound to tie the score after one. In the second, Russia came out of the gate fast by scoring a power play goal off Craig, but no way in h-e-double hockey stick were these feisty boys of the red,white, and blue going to go down that easy. It was Mark Johnson, again, who brought back the tie and the game, 8:39 into the third and final period. That left one more goal for the Americans, delivered by none other than the U.S. Capitano, Mike Eruzione, with ten minutes remaining in the Cold War matchup. As the seconds on the game clock wore down to nothingness, I hand it over to none other than Al Michaels to deliver the most famous call in Hockey history..."Eleven seconds, you've got ten seconds, the countdown going on right now! Morrow, up to Silk...five seconds left in the game...Do you believe in miracles? YES!!!"