You're Excited!? Feel These Nipples!!
Who did you think it was gonna be? Taylor Coppenrath?
Talk about your no-brainers, this week Sports Illustrated's Man/men/woman/Corporate Logo of the Year was the BoSox. Certainly deserved, as when I think back upon the sports memories that really stick out for me, the ones where I can remember where I was 'Kennedy Assasination' style, this year's run by the Sox is right up there.
So in chronological order, here are my favorite lifetime sports moments:
1) 1979 - Sonics win 1st and only NBA title - I specifically remember, at 9 years old, running out in the middle of the street and going ape-shit for a little while. Okay, sure, I didn't tip over a police car, but this was suburban Seattle, not 8-fuckin-mile.
2) 1980 - Do You Believe In Miracles? - Well, not as such, as I personally think God and Jesus is a bunch of bullshit. But watching that scrappy bunch of New England drunks beat those uppity Russians who had the nerve to at one time desire a society that left no one out and frowned on the concept of the 'greedy asshole' was close enough to divine intervention for me.
3) Mid-80s - Bird Stole the Ball and that bastard Magic's sissy running hook - I'll defer to the much better writing of Chuck Klosterman in his book "Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs" wherein he basically breaks down the Celtics-Lakers matchups of the 80s as fully defining who you are on every level. A must read.
4) 1992 - Laettner's shot to beat Kentucky - The mushroom's had just kicked in. That's really all I need to say. The only other two things I remember from that night are Thomas Hill crying like a girl at a Duran Duran concert and eventually drinking Yarder beers in Westwood, California. Holy fuck I miss drugs (Oh wait, did I say that or just think it?).
5) 1993 - Nolan Ryan's final game - Due to the dumb 'dorm room selection process' luck of being paired up with a completely hateable sports geek with no friends, I got tickets to see Nolan Ryan pitch against the California Angels shortly after moving into the dorms at Long Beach State University. It wasn't scheduled to be his last start, but he got injured during the game and it wound up being the last time he would ever pitch. Not terribly important to me on a personal level, but impresses sports geeks with no friends something fierce. Thanks to that same sports geek, I got tickets to see the Oakland A's play against the Angels in Oakland and was nearly killed by a foul ball from Dave 'Hendu' Henderson.
6) 1994 - Sonics lose to Nuggets in first round - As soon as the Sonics appeared on Sports Illustrated as the 'team to beat' I should have known it was all over. That image of Dikembe (7 languages, none of them well) Mutombo clutching the ball is forever burned in my brain.
7) 1994 - Brazil beats Sweden, World Cup Quarterfinal - I didn't have tickets, but was on the streets of Pasadena, California as 100,000 elated Brazilians stormed the streets in musical ecstacy. I think I was trapped under a 100 square foot Brazilian flag slowly moving down Colorado Street for about an hour. It was like 4 hits of ecstacy fucked Brazilian independence day and cut it with the security of knowing that the uber-racist L.A. police would break things up if the brown-skinned people got out of control. Fun as fuck. The Italian team had just won as well, so it was quite the culture clash of drunken bastards.
8) 1994 - New York Rangers beat Vancouver Canucks - Never having a real hockey team growing up in Seattle, the Canucks were the closest thing. But when I moved to New York to go to school in 1989, I adopted the loveable loser Rangers as my own. I suppose in retrospect if the Canucks hadn't always had such awful uniforms I may have felt differently, but the red, white and blueshirts appealed to the jingoistic patriot in me and it seemed like one of those RedSox type teams that you could root for forever without looking like a bandwaggoner since they never won. But this year they did win and I ran out onto 3rd avenue in Long Beach, California and pumped my fist for awhile. Strangely enough, no one in Long Beach cared.
9) 1996 - Mariners beat Yankees on Martinez hit in the 9th - watched it alone for fear of jinxing it in any way. Punched myself in the face celebrating when Griffey slid under the tag. What a dork.
10) 2004 - Schilling's game 6 versus the Yankees - Until he started opening his pie-hole about his love for jesus and George Bush, Curt Schilling was the most awe-inspiring motherfucker that had ever walked the earth. The man put what might as well have been 200 years of pressure on his back and carried it on his fucked up ankle for 7 innings. Now that's balls. I sometimes think the stitches were purposefully done poorly so he could cash in on the whole 'red sox' thing.
10a) 2004 - Keith Foulke's final inning against the Cardinals - There's no one, NO ONE who'd ever seen the RedSox play that thought the series was over until shortly after that ball rolled back to Foulke. As much as you wanted to concede that a Cardinals comeback was impossible, so was a RedSox comeback 2 weeks earlier, and after all, this was the RedSox as well. Seeing them pour onto the field was truly incredible, and I don't think I'll ever forget where I was and what I was doing. I was drunk and sitting on my couch. On second thought, I probably will forget it, but I'll make up something much cooler to take it's place.
Honorable mention goes to half a dozen NCAA tournament moments such as; James Forrest beating USC watching at Legend's Sports bar in Santa Monica, filled with USC fans. Princeton beating UCLA watching at Rich's Sports bar in San Francisco. And several more that only come to mind with the right combination of booze, music and the sound of Brent Musberger.