2008: The Year that Was (the Greatest)

Every time I go back home to the (651) (it will always be the (612) to me!) during the winter I always grab a few old Sports Illustrated magazines to read in bed as my body tries to get acclimated to the sub-zero temps under the covers (for those who want to experience the pleasure of trying to go to sleep in the basement of my childhood home during a cold Minnesota winter night, just sit in a bathtub filled with ice and wait for it to melt).

During my most recent trip, I read an article that argued that 1998 was the greatest sports year ever. That year brought us the Big Mac—Sammy Sosa homerun showdown (which has since lost a bit of its luster);

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Jordan’s push-off clincher against the Jazz; the Yanks’ claim to being the best team ever (125 wins); Ripken finally getting a day off; the Intimidator finally taking the checkered flag at Daytona; France besting Brazil in Paris to earn World Cup glory (and to give Parisian youths another reason to riot); and Elway’s helicopter and Denver breaking 13 years of NFC dominance to claim the Lombardi.

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While 1998 was certainly filled with memorable moments, 2008 can now rightfully claim the title as the best sports year ever. There were so many amazing moments: Tyree’s pin-the-ball-on-the-helmet catch to set up the Super Bowl winning TD for the Giants and in the process ruin the Pats undefeated, and incredible, season;

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the back-and-forth overtime thriller between Kansas and Memphis (KU’s win allowed me to take the office pool—I will forever be a Mario Chalmers fan);

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Tiger’s gutsy sudden death playoff win at the Open with an ailing knee; the five-set Federer-Nadal classic at Wimbledon; Josh Hamilton’s after school special season highlighted by his historic display in the homerun derby (and let’s not forget it was a Twin that won);

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the 15 inning All-Star Game held at Yankee Stadium during the Stadium’s last season (I was actually there, well until the end of the 10th (leaving an All-Star Game before it is over is one of those things that a 12 year old Dave would never understand or forgive, kind of like eating Kashi over Cap’n Crunch or watching Ugly Betty instead of a college football game)); an entire week of being planted on the couch to watch, of all things, swimming (nothing unites Americans more than the Olympics, well, except for war and food on a stick);

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Lighting Bolt’s blazing 100 and 200; Major League Baseball’s captivating play-off races (which included the Mets’ annual implosion, the one game Twins-Chicago play-in and C.C.’s almost daily complete game gems); the improbable rise of the Rays; Philly having a reason to celebrate (other than due to a Michael Irvin injury) and former Gopher and NCAA wrestling champ Brock Lesner beating the legendary Randy Couture to capture a piece of the UFC heavyweight crown (Lesnar would be the most intimidating man alive if he did not have a rigid phallus tattooed on his chest—OK, on second thought, maybe that tat make him the scariest man alive).

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