For some people, sports appear to be nothing but a game, a way to pass time during the day. Then to others, sports are in another magical dimension. Throughout the course of the year, the world of sports contains powerful events that can happen anywhere, and anytime. Whether it be a last second touchdown or a buzzer-beater in the championship game, the excitement and adrenaline rush one can obtain is un-parallel to any other. With 2013 about to wrap up, here is a look at the top ten sports moments of 2013:
10. Super Bowl Black-out
The Super Bowl is the most watched television event in the United States year after year. Surely all the necessary precautions would be taken to ensure no malfunctions, correct? The Baltimore Ravens had a solid 28-6 lead over the San Francisco 49ers early into the third quarter before all the lights in the Superdome instantly shut off. The game immediately was halted for 34 minutes before being allowed to continue. The 49ers then rattled off 17 unanswered points to reach within five. Some think it was a conspiracy, that people in Vegas cut the lights intentionally to give San Francisco time to gain momentum back. Will we ever know the truth? Maybe not, but it was definitely interesting.
9. World Series Clinched In Boston
Flashback to 1918, where the Boston Red Sox traded away future baseball legend Babe Ruth to their arch-rivals New York Yankees. A ‘curse’ was then placed on Boston for the trade they committed, not allowing them to win a championship until 2004. The 86 year wait was dubbed “The curse of the great Bambino” and was a demon to the city of Boston. Although the Red Sox have won the World Series two times since 2004, it was never actually won in Fenway Park until 2013. Boston defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in six games to secure the first official World Series win in Boston since, you guessed it, 1918.
8. Blackhawks Win Stanley Cup
With a shortened NHL season due to a lock-out, the NHL regular season was shortened in order to continue a regular playoff schedule. The Chicago Blackhawks were heavy favorites entering the playoffs, and they sure did deliver. With 24 straight games won in regulation, the success wasn’t as amplified at first, going down 3-1 in a best of seven series against the Detroit Red Wings. However the Blackhawks battled back and pushed into the Stanley Cup Finals to take on the Boston Bruins. A thrilling series to say the least, Boston and Chicago fought their way to a pivotal game six. With 1:16 left before making plans for a game seven, Boston held a 2-1 lead. All momentum changed when Chicago scored a goal to tie, then another goal following that to take a 3-2 lead with only 59 seconds left. The Bruins couldn’t tie the game up, and Chicago had taken the air out of the arena, clinching it’s second championship in four years.
7. Pirates Finally Sail Over Hump
Historically, the Pittsburgh Pirates have been a competitive baseball club. With five World Series titles and nine National League Pennants, Pittsburgh has a successful past. Recently, the dark ages of the Pirates organization was shown to be more than just your average slump. Going 20 consecutive seasons in a row without posting a winning record, the only thing the Pirates had accomplished was the longest consecutive seasonal losing streak in North American professional sports history. The bleeding had to stop at some point in time, and that was the year of 2013. The year prior in 2012, the Pirates were leading the NL Central Division at the All-Star break before miraculously collapsing and sinking to the dark depths of the National League. However, 2013 was a different story, with all cylinders seeming to catch fire. With their first playoff appearance since 1992, brighter days appear to be ahead in the steel city.
6. Heat, Spurs Battle to Finish
Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs are perhaps one of the most disliked teams in the NBA due to their success. Across the country, it’s rare you find a team that is in a majority of dislike. However, one team was able to top that when assembling three NBA All-Star players together in the summer of 2011. The Miami Heat, since adding Chris Bosh and Lebron James, have easily became the villains of the basketball world. First losing to the Dallas Mavericks in the Finals of 2011, Miami bounced back strong to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder to win it’s first NBA Finals since 2006. The year of 2013 played the same story line, instead this time, San Antonio was in the mix. A seasoned yet talented roster sprinkled in with some young talent, the Spurs were able to battle pound for pound with arguably the most dominant team in the league. Going back and forth like a heavyweight championship boxing match, it was a must see series for all viewers and fans alike. San Antonio had a three point lead in game six with under 20 seconds to go before defeating Miami and reclaiming the championship. With a missed Lebron James three-point attempt, Ray Allen was fed the ball with the seconds winding down and hit a step-back three-pointer to send the game into overtime. Allen’s shot will likely be remembered as one of the most clutch plays in league history, allowing the Heat to win that game and go on to game seven to win it’s second straight championship.
5. Auburn Hail Mary
When a team is down and it’s season on the line, it will do whatever it takes to keep the hopes and dreams alive. Sometimes that will require some luck or divine intervention, depending on who you ask. This was the case for Auburn’s football team, losing to Georgia and with only a few ticks remaining on the clock to save their season, quarterback Nick Marshall threw a deep bomb on a 4th and 18, hoping his receiver would come down with the ball. With the ball thrown across the middle of the field, two Georgia Bulldog defenders went for the big interception, only to allow a failed interception attempt to turn into a miraculous catch by Auburn, who ran it in for a last second touchdown and won the game. This miracle of a play will be remembered for ages by not only Tiger fans, but all who witnessed that game. The win over Georgia propelled Auburn to knock off number one ranked Alabama for their next game, allowing them to make a bid for the SEC championship.
4. Manning’s Historic Week One
In 2012, Peyton Manning had just come off of neck surgery, and had doubters everywhere across the National Football League. After a solid regular season with his new-found Denver Broncos team, Manning lost in the divisional round of the playoffs to future Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. After a long off-season that included the acquisition of receiver Wes Welker, Manning and Bronco faithful wanted a chance to redeem themselves for the year before. Denver got exactly what they asked for, hosting the Ravens on the NFL’s very first game of the year. With last year in mind, the Broncos went on an offensive tear of Baltimore’s defense, led by who else but Peyton Manning. Showing no mercy in the opening week of 2013, Manning torched what typically is a solid Ravens defense for 462 passing yards and seven touchdowns. The performance was historic, with only 5 other quarterbacks throwing for seven touchdowns in one outing, the last being 1969.
3. High School Student With Down Syndrome Shines On Field
Noah VanVooren, a senior at a small high school in Wisconsin, is usually the football team’s water boy throughout the year. Noah has down syndrome, limiting his abilities mentally and physically. However, in his teams very last home game, VanVooren was told to strap the pads up, and he was able to play in his very first game. In the winding minutes of a blowout win, he was inserted into the game as a running back, and sure enough, received a handoff. Noah, with the charitable help from the opposing team, went the distance and scored his very first touchdown. A heart-warming moment for everybody watching, including his parents. “It’s amazing” said VanVooren’s father in a interview with a local news team, “You can’t put it into words.”
2.Kevin Ware Breaks Leg, Inspires Louisville to Win Title
The Louisville Cardinals held the number one overall seed heading into the 2013 NCAA Tournament, and the teams performance did not disappoint. Going all the way to the Elite Eight, Louisville ran into powerhouse Duke for a showdown and opportunity to reach the Final Four. The teams runs went back and forth in the first half, before a season changing play occurred. Kevin Ware ran full speed across the court to attempt to block a shot, before missing and falling to the ground. When he fell, his leg landed awkwardly, propelling his bone to come out of his leg live on national television. At first shaken, the Cardinals pulled together and played inspiringly to go the distance, winning the National Championship. Pictures of Kevin Ware holding the trophy in his hospital bed remain a image for a lifetime in any college basketball fans memory. “It was awesome to see the team rally like that” said UL student Ashley Young, “it was really special.”
1. 7 Year Old with Brain Cancer Scores TD in Nebraska Spring Game
Jack Hoffman lived every little boy in Nebraska’s dream on a 4th and one in the Nebraska football spring game. Hoffman, a seven year old with brain cancer, was offered the chance to participate in the game by Nebraska. A day him and his family would never forget, Hoffman took the handoff and went the wrong way, before being guided by quarterback Taylor Martinez. Jack then went the distance, running 69 yards for a touchdown. Nebraska players followed Jack to the endzone and picked him up after he scored, hoisting him to a already wild crowd. Hoffman’s story and run is truly inspirational and heart-warming.