As 2008 comes to a close, I thought that I'd take a moment to reflect on some of my favorite moments in 2008. This has certainly been a monumental year on a number of levels. Here are my top 3 sports stories of the year.
1. Michael Phelps wins 8 gold medals in Beijing
This was truly incredible. As an American, it instilled a great sense of pride in me. Though I don't follow the Summer Games as closely as many people do, I couldn't help but tune in every time Phelps would dive into the pool to try and chase down another title. Every win was different; he dominated, he won on a team, he won in dramatic fashion by .001 second, but in the end, his was undoubtedly the most dominant performance ever in a single Olympic Games. It will be difficult for anyone to match.
2. Roger Clemens vs. Brian McNamee
Perhaps this one was as overblown as any, but it carried on into the summer. I think that we were all tired of it soon after it began, but this is something that really shook the baseball world, as much as Bud Selig wants to deny it. Clemens is, and always will be, a legend, but this story transformed him from a legend to an icon. He went from famous to infamous in the span of a few weeks. Of all the players that may have taken performance enhancing drugs, the Rocket was the last one that I suspected of doing so. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here - in baseball, it's trending more toward guilty until proven innocent, rather than innocent until proven guilty.
3. The Denver Broncos fire Mike Shanahan
This one is still fresh in everybody's mind, as it only happened yesterday. I think to fully understand and appreciate the magnitude of this move, you had to be at least a fairly close observer of the Denver Broncos. Nobody - and I mean nobody - thought that Shanahan would ever be fired in Denver. This story transcends anything that has happened in Denver sports since the Broncos' last Super Bowl victory. It will be interesting to see how this plays out (and more than a little unnerving to this Broncos die-hard).
Honorable Mentions: The Brett Favre Saga, The Tim Donaghy Scandal
Here are my three favorite blogs that I posted this year, from The Centennial Soapbox:
Actually, my entire 65 Roses series could qualify. I deliberated over posting this one right up until I clicked 'Publish', but I am very glad that I did. It is a very inspirational story about a tremendous young man, and I hope that it has touched a few lives during this holiday season.
This was the first blog that I posted on FanNation, way back on Flag Day, June 14. Three weeks prior to that, on May 22, my hometown of Windsor, CO, had been ravaged by an F-4 tornado. The following night, I went to Coors Field to watch the Colorado Rockies take on the New York Mets. It was a pretty surreal feeling for me, and you can read the entire account in this blog.
In the days following the Rockies trade of Matt Holliday, there were a lot of emotions that went through my head. I even posted an angry blog about the Rockies owners. This blog here lays out one simple question, which I call the Fan's Paradox - by buying tickets to a game, am I supporting the owners, or am I supporting the players on the field?
Happy New Year, everybody! Here's hoping that 2009 is a great one for you, and here's looking forward to many more great sports memories next year.