2013 In Review
January 2, 2014
I went back through the notes I kept this year and came up with a short list of memorable sports stories that surfaced this past year. As always, some of the stories are on the playing field and some are, sadly so, off the field.
Miami Heat Repeat
LeBron James, some say in a joking manner, promised upwards of five NBA titles when he joined the Miami Heat three years ago. He and the Heat got number two in 2013 as James clearly took over as the best basketball player on the planet.
LeBron is da best
Red Sox win World Series.
The 2013 World Series title was a gift for wounded Boston. The clincher came in Boston, six months after the city was shocked by the deadly marathon bombings. Soon after the disaster, the Red Sox emerged as a sign of hope for the city. The BoSox rebounded in a big way in 2013 after a terrible 2012 season. The Marathon will go on this year and the healing process will continue.
Red Sox triumph
Lance Armstrong finally came clean.
It took a long long time but Armstrong ended his years of denials about doping. He did so on January 17th of this year and his confession put him on a par with Canadian athlete Ben Johnson as the world’s most notorious drugs cheat. It was quite a confession. He stated it would have been impossible to win even one of his seven Tour de France titles without the drugs. He called himself a ‘flawed individual.’
Lance the jerk
Oscar Pistorius was accused of murder.
This one came out of nowhere. Of course we knew little about him except that he triumphed over disability to compete with able-bodied athletes at the Olympics. South Africa’s “Blade Runner,” a double amputee who uses carbon-fiber prosthetic blades to compete, will be tried for murder next year. He is accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day.
Andy Murray wins
Tennis fans had to like this story. Murray ended Britain’s 77-year wait for a Wimbledon men’s champion by beating Novak Djokovic in an amazing final at the All England Club in July. Cheered on by thousands of local fans on Centre Court and millions across Britain, the Scottish player won tennis’s most prestigious title in straight sets. His on-court interview minutes after the win was priceless and brought tears to yours truly.
Murray with his trophy
Mariano Rivera retires.
Speaking of tears. Baseball’s greatest closer was reduced to tears on Sept. 26 while on the mound as he ended a remarkable 19 year career. Calling the moment, “magical” after pitching yet another scoreless inning, Rivera closed out his career with 652 saves while being the Yankees closer for 17 seasons. “Mo” rose from poverty in Panama to be one of the most classy professional athletes this country has ever seen.
The Super Bowl Blackout.
I almost forgot about this one. But, yes, there was a blackout. A long one which delayed the game between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers for 34 minutes at the start of the third quarter. The lights finally came back on and what was a lopsided game became, shall I say, electric.
Before the blackout, Baltimore had taken a 28-6 lead after Jacoby Jones ran a kickoff back a record 108 yards for a touchdown. Afterwards, the 49ers came back, at one point scoring 17 unanswered points in four minutes. The delay seemed to faze Baltimore, while giving the Niners life. The Ravens finally prevailed, 34-31, but not before a stirring red-zone stand by their defense. Late in the game, the Niners had three chances to put the ball in the end zone from the five-yard line, and take the lead. But three times, Colin Kaepernick couldn’t connect with receiver Michael Crabtree.
Dancing in the dark at Super Bowl 2013
The Iron Bowl
My last one was just a few short weeks ago. It will be quite some time before we forget the ending of the Iron Bowl game between Auburn and Alabama.
The Crimson Tide was tied with arch-rival Auburn, 28-28, with one second left in this year’s annual matchup. Alabama, two-time defending national champs, sat atop the national rankings once again, and was riding a 15-game winning streak. The game appeared to be heading for overtime, but Bama coach Nick Saban decided to let a freshman backup kicker, Adam Griffith, try a 57-yarder for the win, rather than go for a Hail Mary. Or just take a knee for overtime.
Chris Davis after his Iron Bowl dash
Griffith’s kick – just his third field goal attempt of his college career, fell short, right into the hands of Auburn’s Chris Davis, who was camped in the end zone.
As Davis made his way up the sideline, it seemed as if Saban and the team had forgotten that missed field goals can be returned. Alabama’s field goal team hardly got near Davis. His dash–more than 100 yards–into the end zone won the game for Auburn, crushed Alabama’s hopes for a three-peat. And it ended up putting Auburn in the BCS Title Game next week.