Thursday, September 22, 2005

Do You Believe In Miracles!?

“Some days—they come rarely—are charged with public events so unexpected, so shocking, so far beyond the limits of belief, that the events are not really public at all. Their impact thrusts them into the private lives of millions of people who forever after remember these events in personal terms.”
-Roger Kahn, “The Day Bobby Hit The Home Run”
Sports Illustrated, October 10, 1960

This lovely quote from Roger Kahn should probably be the subtitle to this blog. In fact, it might just end up there. I can’t think of a better example of why sports does, indeed, “matter.” It is a quote that can be used to describe the momentous events of any time. Kahn references Pearl Harbor. For me, it brings to mind the terrible events of September 11, 2001. But the thrust of Kahn’s article is of course sports; more specifically, the day New York Giant Bobby Thomson hit his three run walk-off homer at the Polo Grounds against the Brooklyn Dodgers. The shot heard ‘round the world. The article can be found in Sports Illustrated’s Fifty Years of Great Writing:1954-2004, a collection of articles from such diverse authors as Kahn, Frank Deford, Rick Reilly, John Steinbeck, Don DeLillo, and William Faulkner.

Jackie Robinson refused to leave the field in 1951, even though all of his teammates had left before Thomson reached second. Robinson wanted to ensure that Thomson touched every single base.

The whole article got me thinking about the great moments in sports, and the way they affect our lives. Some we never witness: fathers, uncles and grandfathers pass them down to us, compelled by their need for us to understand. The Rocket Richard riot in Montreal. The 1972 Summit Series. December 8, 1980, the night Howard Cosell told the world, on Monday Night Football, that John Lennon had been shot. These are the major sporting events that have been passed down to me, on top of the thousands of anecdotal stories about Gordie Howe, Dave Keon, Jackie Parker, Bobby Orr, and Muhammad Ali.

Yet there are other sporting moments we do witness, and they stay with us for a lifetime. For the seven people who read this blog (the five authors and the Battle of Alberta boys), I have compiled my own list of memorable sports moments. The ones I actually witnessed. The ones where I can tell you exactly where I was and what I was doing. I encourage others to come up with their own lists, and post them here. Hell, spread the word, and encourage others to post the lists on their own blog. All I ask is that people mention us in their post. We could use the traffic. I have a list of twenty-one, but feel free to drop it to ten. Or five. I don't care. Just share them with me. You will probably remind me of ones that I missed.

Event: Michael Jordan Wins NBA Slam Dunk Contest
Year: 1988
Where I Was: My house, with my Dad.
Good/Bad Memory: Good
Why Memorable: The coming out party for MJ. Nique. The NBA was never the same.

Event: Michael Jordan’s Last Second Basket Over Craig Ehlo
Year: 1989
Where I Was: My house, by myself.
Good/Bad Memory: Good
Why Memorable: The Shot. Nuff said.

Event: Glenn Rice Carries Michigan to NCCA Basketball Title
Year: 1989
Where I Was: My house, by myself.
Good/Bad Memory: Good
Why Memorable: Rice sets tournament mark with 184 points in six games.

Event: Christian Laettner’s Last Second Shot
Year: 1992
Where I Was: Girlfriend’s house, screaming at screen.
Good/Bad Memory: Very Bad
Why Memorable: Lifts Duke Over Kentucky In NCAA East Regional Final. I don't want to talk about it.

Event: New York Rangers Win Stanley Cup
Year: 1994
Where I Was: Hotel in North Vancouver, with Mom and Sister.
Good/Bad Memory: Good
Why Memorable: I was in Vancouver for the Canucks' entire run. The city was electric. As well, this happened…

Event: The OJ Simpson Car Chase
Year: 1994
Where I Was: Hotel in North Vancouver, with Mom and Sister.
Good/Bad Memory: Can't Decide
Why Memorable: Al Cowlings: "This is A.C. I have O.J. in the car."

Event: Mike Tyson Bites Off Evander Holyfield’s Ear
Year: 1997
Where I Was: Bar in Sherwood Park, with Murphy, Bendall, Anil, Birkby, Van Essen and Rizzuto.
Good/Bad Memory: Shocking
Why Memorable: The Bite Fight. As well, Murphy ordered tons of food and beer, knowing he had no money, and then skipped out on the bill. He is still paying for that one. ***Note*** I may actually be wrong about this one. The fight we saw in Sherwood Park might have been the first Holyfield-Lennox Lewis fight. Either way, it was all about Murphy.

Event: Chris Webber Calls Timeout
Year: 1993
Where I Was: Girlfriend’s house, stunned into silence.
Good/Bad Memory: Very Bad
Why Memorable: The Fab Five era is over.

Event: Florida Marlins Win Game 7 Of World Series
Year: 1997
Where I Was: Bar Near Whistler, with Dad and Uncle.
Good/Bad Memory: Very Good
Why Memorable: A few days later I found out I was going to be a Dad. This wouldn’t even make it on the list otherwise, although the extra inning game was a gooder.

Event:Reggie Miller Stuns The New York Knicks
Year: 1995
Where I Was: My house, laughing my ass off.
Good/Bad Memory: Good
Why Memorable: Reggie scores eight points in the last 8.9 seconds of Game 1 of the Eastern Semis. The famous choke sign to Spike Lee. Like with MJ, there are a ton of Reggie Miller moments. He was a Knick killer. The year before this, he dropped 25 in the 4th quarter in Game 5 of the Eastern Final.

Event: Canada Loses To Czech Republic In Olympic Hockey Semi-Final
Year: 1998
Where I Was: Mo’s Sports Bar, with Bendall, Ravi, Anil and Birkby.
Good/Bad Memory: Bad
Why Memorable: No Gretzky in the shootout. And watching him on the bench, after they had lost? That was awful.

Event: Donavan Bailey Wins 100m Olympic Gold Medal
Year: 1996
Where I Was: Grandparent’s house, with Nana, Granddad and Aunt.
Good/Bad Memory: Good
Why Memorable: Ben Johnson is forgotten, Americans are beaten.

Event: Aaron Boone Lifts Yankees Over Red Sox
Year: 2003
Where I Was: Kap House, with Abboud.
Good/Bad Memory: So Horribly Bad
Why Memorable: Poor Tim Wakefield. I actually didn’t see it. I refused to watch the television. Abboud called it, and I sat and watched his face. Devastating.

Event: Ben Johnson Wins, Then Loses, 100m Olympic Gold Medal
Year: 1988
Where I Was: Victoria, with Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin.
Good/Bad Memory: Really Good, then Really Bad
Why Memorable: The first big steroid bust, and it happened to a Canadian.

Event: Canada Wins Olympic Hockey Gold Medal
Year: 2002
Where I Was: Kap house, with OB, Kirks, Abboud, Bendall, Muhly and Hassall
Good/Bad Memory: Good
Why Memorable: The loss to Sweden. The panic. Hamrlik spearing Theo. The Gretzky rant. Paul Kariya. Joe Sakic. Jerome Iginla. And that between the legs non-touch by Mario. Gold.

Event: Joe Carter Hits Walk-Off Home Run, Blue Jays Win 2nd World Series
Year: 1993
Where I Was: Girlfriend’s house, screaming at the screen.
Good/Bad Memory: Good
Why Memorable: A vastly underappreciated baseball event, probably because it happened in Canada. Only one other player, Bill Mazeroski, has ever won the World Series with a walk-off home run.

Event: Shawn Michaels Gives Bret Hart The Sharpshooter
Year: 1997
Where I Was: Reds, with Tim and Josh.
Good/Bad Memory: “OH MY GOD, Did You See That King?” Bad
Why Memorable: The Montreal Screwjob. We were watching it on pay per view, and immediately knew that something was wrong. This was no angle, but an actual shoot. The fact that the show ended about 20 minutes early was a big giveaway.

Event: Red Sox Defeat Yankees In Game 6
Year: 2004
Where I Was: Kap House, with Kirks and Kimmis. Was Abboud there?
Good/Bad Memory: Gloriously Good
Why Memorable: You will notice that the World Series victory over the Cardinals isn’t even on this list. The reason is that it was all a lock after this game. Not only did the BoSox win this game; A-Rod was humiliated in the process.

Event: Canada Beats U.S.S.R. To Win Canada Cup
Year: 1987
Where I Was: Grandparent’s house, with Nana, Granddad, Aunt, and Dad.
Good/Bad Memory: Historically Good.
Why Memorable: Gretzky to Mario, when he should have passed to a trailing Larry Murphy. It doesn’t matter, as Lemieux buries it.

Event: Steve Smith Scores On Own Net
Year: 1986
Where I Was: My basement, alone and crying.
Good/Bad Memory: Life-Altering Bad
Why Memorable: I was eleven, yet for some reason I was home alone. I cried for almost two hours straight. Honestly one of the most damaging moments of my life.

Event: Wayne Gretzky Traded To Los Angeles Kings
Year: 1988
Where I Was: Vancouver, with Dad and Cousin.
Good/Bad Memory: The Stuff of Greek Tragedy
Why Memorable: My dad and cousin woke me up, laughing their asses off. Both hated the Oilers. I didn’t believe them, until I walked out into the living room and looked at the television screen. There it was. “I told Mess I wouldn’t do this.”


At 4:26 PM, Blogger sacamano said...

Terrific list. I'll have to think about it and get back to you.

Two off the top of my head are:

Duke upsetting the ridiculously stacked UNLV team

Bo Kimble shooting lefty free-throws for Hank Gathers.

At 4:51 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Abboud and I were talking about Kimble and Gathers the other day. Makes me choke up just thinking about it.

The menage a trois episode of Seinfeld is on Prime. The interaction between Jerry and George is perfect. It reminds me of Abboud and I.

At 8:07 PM, Blogger Alex said...

I wasn't there for Game 6. I was en route to Drumheller with Blatz. We were listening to it on the Fan, and got to the bar in town in time to see the replay of ARod knocking the ball out of the pitcher's glove.

Also, I wasn't there for the the Gold Medal hockey game, but I'm touched you think I was.

At 8:43 AM, Blogger sacamano said...

Your other thread reminded me of my beloved Celtics and the deaths of Lenny Bias and Reggie Lewis.

At 1:51 PM, Blogger Sheamus Murphy said...

The Sherwood Park episode was an Evander Holyfield - Lennox Lewis fight that Lewis dominated yet ended controversially in a split decision. And T-Rex was so bloated on beer and wings that his little arms couldn't reach his wallet. Not only do I still feel shame but paid through the nose in the long run by picking up the lion's share of the tab for everyone present multiple times when drubbed during subsequent episodes. Now I know to say "can you spot me."

I was in New York when Tyson bit Holyfield's ear off. I remember reading an interview of a 3-year old on a tricycle from Tyson's old neighborhood in the Bronx in the New York Times that went to the effect of "he shouldn't a oughta done a bad thing like that."

Fun fact - there is a spot open on the Edmonton Boxing and Wrestling Commission. Grabia you should apply, citing the smackdown you laid on Bendall that one time.

At 2:48 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

I thought it was the Lewis-Holyfield fight. Where the hell was I for the Tyson-Holyfield fight, then? I saw it on pay per view. That I know. So I had to be with people. Damn my memory all to hell!

How long before Abboud posts with his list, most of which will consist of college football, Joe Montana and Kentuck Derby memories? Perhaps he'll "comment on it later."

Part of me wonders if Sacamano is actually Abboud. The Bo Kimble and Len Bias references are eerily similar to something Abboud would mention.

BTW, Abboud, you can't put Buckner, the Hail Mary or the Miracle on Ice on your list. You would have been like 0 and 5 when those things happened. I know they are formative things for you, but you had to have been actually watching them happen for them to count. Okay, maybe Buckner, but that is it.

At 2:48 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 4:58 PM, Blogger sacamano said...

I just thought of another; but I don't know how Abboudish it is.

Keith Smart hitting the winning-j to cap off my Hoosier's 1987 season.

At 5:15 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Seriously. That is creepy. At the very minimum, you are his doppelganger.


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