For the fifth year in a row, I am publishing an account of my top 10 best and worst sports moments of the past year. (Scroll down below for the 2012-2009 editions). Keep in mind that these are given from a purely subjective viewpoint. When I say “best/worst moments” I’m not talking about great or horrible sporting events. I’m talking about moments that affected me the most positively or negatively. Overall, this was a pretty solid sports year for me, so I enjoyed writing this article.
1. Andy Murray wins Wimbledon Men’s Championship (July 7, 2013)- Some years it takes me a while to decide what the top sports moment of the past 365 days has been. This year the decision was an absolute no doubter. That’s because my life goal # 4 was accomplished this July when Andy Murray ended the 77-year British drought and captured the Wimbledon Gentleman’s Singles Championship. Before then, I had been blessed by God with three incredible sports moments in my life: Kentucky’s 1996 national championship, the New England Patriot’s first super bowl win, and Wake Forest’s 2006 ACC Football Championship. Andy Murray’s 2013 Wimbledon Championship joined that exclusive club. There are now only three major sporting events that could possibly bring me as much happiness as those. They are (in order of personal significance): 1) seeing a 16 seed beat a 1 seed in the first round of the NCAA tournament, 2) having Wake Forest win a national basketball or football championship, 3) seeing a Triple Crown winner in horse racing.
2. Florida Gulf Coast becomes first 15 seed to make Sweet 16 (March 24, 2013)- Dunk City was one of the great early round Cinderella NCAA Tourney stories of all-time. They had a charismatic coach with a supermodel wife and a cast of players who all seemed to be able to dunk like Michael Jordan and shoot like Larry Bird.
3. South Carolina football stuns Missouri in Double Overtime (October 26, 2013)- Even though this game didn’t ultimately affect the SEC East title race, it was still awesome to see one of my favorite teams pull off a thrilling come-from-behind road overtime upset of a top 5 team.
4. Wichita State makes Cinderella Run to Final Four (March 30, 2013)- If it wasn’t for FCGU (see moment # 2), the Shockers would have been the story of this year’s NCAA tournament. It was really cool to be able to see this team play in person when I made my trip to my first final four this year in Atlanta.
5. South Carolina football defeats Clemson for fifth-straight season (November 30, 2013)- Beating up on Clemson certainly isn’t new for the Gamecocks but it never gets old! The only reason this isn’t higher on the list is that the sweetness of this victory was slightly dampened by the fact that Missouri beat Texas A & M minutes later to deny the Gamecocks the SEC East title.
6. Oracle Team USA completes epic comeback to beat Emirates Team New Zealand in 2013 America’s Cup (September 25, 2013)- There may never have been a comeback like this in sports history! The U.S. trailed by a score of eight races to one with nine races needed to clinch the cup. Somehow, Oracle won the last 8 races to retain the cup.
7. Justin Rose wins U.S. Open (June 16, 2013)- Rose has been one of my favorite golfers ever since he made his Cinderella run to a fourth place finish in the 1998 British Open as an amateur. Ever since then, I have been waiting and hoping he would finally claim major championship glory. That finally came this June with Rose’s U.S. Open victory.
8. Wake Forest hires Dave Clawson as head football coach (December 9, 2013)– This is the only mention of my alma mater on this entire list, which just goes to show how stagnant the Wake athletic program has become. Finally, the Deacs took what appears to be a step in the right direction by hiring Dave Clawson as their next head football coach. The guy has succeeded, slowly but surely, everywhere he’s been, and here’s hoping his run continues in Winston-Salem.
9. Adam Scott wins Masters Playoff over Angel Cabera (April 14, 2013)- The inclusion of this event on this list has as much to do with my hatred of Angel Cabrera as it does with my like of Adam Scott. I’ve never been a huge Scott fan, but he’s just one of those guys I always hoped would breakthrough and win a major championship at some point in time. For it to come in a dramatic playoff victory over Angel Cabrera, makes it extra sweet.
10. Oxbow wins Preakness Stakes (May 18, 2013)- Rarely, if ever, will a Preakness Stakes be enjoyable for me when the Kentucky Derby winner fails to win and setup a Triple Crown opportunity. However, Oxbow was my strong sentimental favorite for the Derby. D. Wayne Lukas has always been my favorite trainer. Stevens is one of my favorite jockeys. And the Oxbow name brought back memories of my Theta Chi fraternity roots, where our Greek Alphabet name grew many comparisons to an Ox.
1. South Carolina football loses to Georgia in SEC opener (September 7, 2013)- Most South Carolina fans would probably tell you that the loss to Tennessee hurt a lot more this year than their early season loss to Georgia, but I would disagree. I expected at least one loss in South Carolina’s brutal three-game October road stand, but I didn’t expect the Gamecocks to get dominated by a team whom they had beaten the past three seasons. This loss didn’t officially knock South Carolina out of either the conference title race or even the national title race, but it became obvious during this game that the hype had gotten to Clowney and that this defense was vastly overrated.
2. Courtroom 2 Patriots lose Fantasy Football Super Bowl to The Frozen Gophers (December 23, 2013)- Losing a fantasy super bowl hurts bad enough, but losing to a co-worker who is going to have bragging rights on you for the next year makes it even worse.
3. Miami Heat wins second consecutive NBA championship (June 20, 2013)- It was just a matter of time before this heinous squad starting winning multiple championships, but the Spurs were so close to preventing this one for happening.
4. SEC extends BCS National Championship streak to seven (January 7, 2013)- With Alabama’s dominance of Notre Dame last January, SEC elitism reached a whole new level. Here’s hoping Florida State can end the streak in a few weeks. Otherwise, that game will inevitably end up near the top of my 2014 worst sports moments list.
5. Baltimore Ravens beat New England Patriots in AFC Championship Game (January 20, 2013)- Once again, my favorite pro sports team, the Patriots, looked poised to win a fourth Super Bowl in the Tom Brady era before falling short with an epic late season meltdown. It’s unbelievable to think that it’s been nearly 10 years since this squad has won a world championship.
6. Boston Bruins sweep Pittsburgh Penguins in Eastern Conference Finals (June 7, 2013)- The Penguins are my second-favorite hockey team and the Bruins are my second-least favorite. So naturally when Boston swept Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference Finals to deny the Pens a Stanley Cup berth, I was quite unhappy.
7. UCLA beats Mississippi State to win NCAA Baseball National Championship (June 25, 2013)- I am not a huge MSU fan or anything, but did you know the state of Mississippi has never won a consensus national championship in any sport… ever? That streak continued thanks to a victory by a school that has won more than its fair share of national championships in basically every sport.
8. Louisville wins NCAA Basketball National Championship (April 8, 2013)- I don’t despise the Cardinals as much as most Kentucky fans do, but they are definitely a rival who I didn’t want to see win this year’s basketball national title. This moment would probably have been higher on the list if I hadn’t had such a good time watching the game as a spectator in Atlanta.
9. North Carolina beats South Carolina in NCAA Baseball Super Regional (June 11, 2013)- The Gamecocks were denied a fourth-straight College World Series appearance as a result of the Tar Heels nail-biting victory over their interstate rival. Fortunately, we got revenge in football.
10. Japan beats United States in Little League World Series Championship Game (August 25, 2013)- The U.S. came close to winning this year’s edition of the Williamsport classic but they unfortunately fell just short.