The Blog Squad

Friday, July 25, 2008

2008 Rhymes with Great

It’s a little more than halfway through the year, and I would have to agree with an old high school friend. He calls 2008 perhaps the greatest sports year ever.

His evidence.

• A Super Bowl that saw the ultimate Cinderella team beat another that was vying for the perfect season. The margin of victory came on a last-minute drive. Before the big game, the New England Patriots were considered the greatest team in the history of pigskin.

• An NCAA men’s basketball championship game that was won by a team that needed a contested 3-pointer at the buzzer. The miracle shot extended the game five more minutes as Kansas claimed the crown.

• The greatest U.S. Open possibly ever, won in the most dramatic fashion possible by the best golfer in the history of the game. Remember Tiger Woods won his third U.S. Open and 14th major title while suffering from a torn ACL and a double stress fracture of his tibia.

• The return of the Celtics and Lakers rivalry in the NBA Finals. It wasn’t Larry versus Magic, but it was nice to see Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen win a ring. Now their careers are complete. It was equally enjoyable that Kobe Bryant was denied a title.

• A cancer survivor throws a no-hitter in his first full season. Boston Red Sox Jon Lester was diagnosed with lymphoma two years ago. On May 19, he beat the Kansas City Royals 7-0 on 130 pitches and nine strikeouts. His cancer is in remission.

• Josh Hamilton is “The Natural.” The kid has overcome a five-year battle with drugs that included an addiction to crack. After coming back last season, he is perhaps the second-most feared hitter (behind Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez) in the American League. Go get ‘em Josh!

• The Wimbledon men’s final was considered the greatest of all-time. First-time winner Rafael Nadal beat five-time title holder in Roger Federer, 6–4, 6–4, 6–7(5), 6–7(8), 9–7. Their unforgettable match lasted in four hours and 48 minutes.

I would have to say my buddy has compelling reason to believe his claim. And if Greg Norman, 53, had won the British Open last weekend, my friend could rest his case without including the second half of the year.

So what could possibly be next? Vietnam winning a gold medal at the Olympics? The Tampa Bay Rays piling on after capturing the World Series? Or my beloved Washington Redskins dominating the NFL (and eventually winning the Super Bowl)?

Hold me, I’m scared.

OUT AT HOME: I went to Camden Yards recently for a day game. The Orioles lost but it reminded me that baseball is meant to be played when the sun shines at its highest point. If you ever get a chance, go watch a day game, whether it’s in Baltimore, Washington or here in Richmond.

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