Great Moments in Sports

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Giambi crosses home plate into arms of team

Wednesday, June 23, 2010: What a day this has been in sports! World Cup Soccer saw two crucial games played simultaneously. Later the Colorado Rockies come back in the bottom of the 9th. First, soccer: USA v. Algeria and England v. Slovenia. If USA wins, we advance to the next round. If England wins, then USA has to win to advance. A tie (OK, a draw) is not enough. That's why the games are played simultaneously.

Double the tension for everyone involved, because everyone knows how the other game is going. England scores early, so now there is real pressure for USA to score. USA has chance after chance to score and they keep missing! Then, miracle of miracles, the ball goes in!! But no, denied again. Referee says no goal - who knows why, and we learned earlier this week that the referees don't have to give a reason. Time is running out and hope is dwindling.

In the last few minutes of the game, Algeria steps up their play and almost scores. That energizes USA who starts playing with real intensity. They're about 3 minutes away from going home, after all. The game is 90 minutes long and then they add a few more minutes to cover whatever stoppages of play there may have been. Four additional minutes and we're out. USA drives down to the goal, our guy crashes into the goalie and it looks like it's over, but WAIT! The ball is loose! And Landon Donovan, the most famous American player (dare I say the only familiar face for non-soccer fans like me) comes out of nowhere and kicks it in! Score!!!! Wait, does that count? The goalie was down. Doesn't matter, this one counts. Pandemonium! Tears and hugs and screams and more hugs. "Oh, Oh, it's incredible! You could not write a script like this!"

Later in the day, the Colorado Rockies had a bottom-of-the-ninth squeaker against the Boston Red Sox. The last time we played the Sox, they swept us in 4 games to win the World Series. But tonight, it’s a different story. Ubaldo Jimenez, our star pitcher with an unprecedented 13-1 record, has an off night and comes out of the game in the 6th inning. Rockies down 6-5. He's looking at getting his second loss of the season. We came into the bottom of the ninth, still losing 6-5. Jonathan Papelbon is pitching for Boston, the best closer in baseball. He has only allowed one home run all season. Isn't it funny in baseball when those kinds of stats are mentioned, it always proves to be prophetic? Ian Stewart, in a batting slump, slams a home run to tie the game. So much for the mystique of the Boston closer. A few minutes later, the winning run is on 2nd base and Jason Giambi comes up to bat. Giambi, formerly of the New York Yankees, has faced the Sox more than anyone on the team. Giambi is always expected to make the big hit, but he hasn't been coming through much this year. But tonight is different. A towering home run to win the game! You'd think we'd won the World Series from the celebration on the field and in the stands.

This is why I'm such a sports fan. You never know when the amazing games will happen. There are so many stories; underdogs and miracle plays and last-second victories. We've seen a lot of them this year.

More memorable sports finishes:

  • USA Olympic Hockey, 1980. Enough said.
  • Olympic Hockey 2010 - several big games leading up to USA v. Canada for the gold medal. Sydney Crosby scores at the last minute for Canada's win. (Was it Overtime?) That was one time I didn't regret that my team didn't win. Sid the Kid becomes a national hero, winning the one gold medal that Canada was dead set to win on home soil.
  • Kirk Gibson's World Series home run. Pinch hitter at the end of the game – legs so hurt he can barely walk. This is one of my early sports thriller memories. It's a home run or nothing because he won't be able to run to first base. And what happens? Home run. "I don't believe what I just saw."
  • Colorado Rockies' unprecedented winning run to make it to the 2007 World Series, culminating in the stunning win in the play-in game.
  • Colorado Avalanche win the 2006 Stanley Cup on Uwe Krupp's goal in triple overtime. Triple overtime - that's nearly a whole extra game. The whole place screamed "KRUUUUUUUUUUPP!" Wow, what a feeling.
  • The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! 

The library has two great books with accompanying CDs of the calls of some of these moments. Check them out to hear some of the great moments of yore. Just remember, you never know when the next moment will happen.


And you didn't even get into the historically long tennis match...

Janet, you should consider a career in sports writing! What an entertaining and funny post.

Thanks! One of my fantasy careers (you know, like some kids want to be firemen or a ballerinas) was to be Bob Costas.

I enjoyed reading this play by play. Have fun watching your next game!

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