-Watching Prince collide with Todd Greene
-Watching Geoff Jenkin's last game as a Brewer
-Watching Ray Allen hit a buzzer beater in the playoffs
-Watching Carlos Lee's walkoff on Father's Day, with my Dad
Anyways, here are my top 5 sports moments!
#5 - Kyle Orton Goes Head Over Heels For Scott Starks
In a battle of unbeatens, Bucky and Purdue clashed in what turned out to be an instant classic. Purdue was just attempting to get a first down then run the clock out. It appeared like Purdue had it too after Orton rolled out in a naked bootleg. Then, one of those "miracle" plays happened. Kyle Orton out in the flats after crossing the first down line, gets hit low by Scott Starks, upending Orton, then another hit by Robert Brooks, jarred the ball loose. Starks picks up the ball and runs it in for the deciding and go ahead score.
The emotions from accepting defeat as I watched Kyle Orton cross the yellow line on TV, to a miraculous victory, all within seconds were overwhelming and intense. I was in a bar with a group of friends when it happened. We all start yelling in pure primal joy. I got hoisted/squeezed half to death by a friend (happened to be a bouncer to give you an idea). Myself and A. Guss rushed to our house and blared the Badger fight song and the "Budweiser" song outside of the house for all of Whitewater to hear. It was probably the best celebration I have ever been a part of. As the announcers on ESPN2 said, "what a cataclysmic turn of events". For Badger fans, a turn for the best.
#4 - My first trip to Lambeau Field. Green Bay Packers QB #4 (1992-2007) Carves the Defending Superbowl Champion Ravens on 10/14/2001
Sure, this is a personal experience, but I think most viewers of this blog can relate to, or at least be jealous of my experience. Not having ever been to Lambeau, I instantly jumped at the chance when a friend asked me to go. It was a beautiful October day, and we had pretty good seats, I think 13 rows up on the side of the end zone. Smelling the grills and watching the hustle and bustle of the small Green Bay city is an experience in itself, let alone when first walking in the (not yet remodeled) stadium and seeing the field for the first time. Experiencing the rush as the jets flew overhead before game time (just over a month since the 9/11 attacks) with the kickoff immediately following was absolutely amazing.
As if that wasn't enough, my childhood hero not named Michael Jordan had one of his best days of his (still ongoing) career. Green Bay QB # 4 (1992-2007) threw for 391 yards against the league's top defense and reigning champions. I had a perfect first Lambeau experience. I did get to watch the Pack take down the Bears on a classically frigid day in a nail-biter...but you'll never forget your first time! Even the brat I had was better. Yes, I actually remember eating my first Lambeau Field Brat!
#3 - The Badger's Road to the Final Four in 2000.
The ultimate moment is of course when the Badgers and their "boring" style of play beat Gene Keady's
Nationally, they were a team of unknowns. Players named Mike Kelley, Mark Vershaw, Andy Kowske, Maurice Linton, Jon Bryant, Freddie Owens, Duany Duany etc... are not supposed to make it to the Final Four. A team that rarely scores more than 65 points, is not supposed to go to the Final Four. The rest of the country despised it, but I loved watching Dick Bennett's crushing defense dismantle each team. Of course I will always remember Jon Bryant's amazing hot streak of 3-pointers during the whole tournament. The Badgers were beaten by the eventual champions and conference foes, Michigan State, but my happiness was all but exceeded.
#2 - Packers Win Superbowl XXXI on January 26, 1997
This is the cliche pick, yes, but I was a huge, HUGE Packer fan during my middle and high school years (still am, but not as fanatic-y). The previous couple years prior, I watched as the Packers got progressively better, but just couldn't get past the mighty Cowboys. They didn't have to face Dallas though and made the Superbowl.
The 2nd offensive play for the Packers, literally left me jumping for joy. Watching "Bad Moon" Rison haul in that perfectly placed deep ball and the celebration that followed, you know the one that involved a player with his helmet raised in the air, well that moment perfectly summed up my own feelings. Then as things got tight later in the game, I was able to breath easy as Desmond Howard returned the Patriot's kickoff to all but prove that the Packers were in charge of that game. Reggie White then made sure of it, with three consecutive sacks. If there was ever a player in the history of the NFL who you could physically see "the want" of a championship, it was that game and Reggie White. Watching him run around with the Lombardi trophy in hand was an emotional moment for many.
#1 - Brewers Win the 2008 Wild Card
I actually sort of have a 2 moments in 1 with this, but I don't think it to be cheating as the whole final week of the 2008 MLB regular season helped to turn a 25 year old gray.
Moment 1 - Ryan Braun hits a walk-off grand slam against the Pirates. This was the first time I had seen a stadium erupt the way it did. a) a walk off, b) a grand slam, and c) playoff implications. Yeah, awesome!
Moment 2 - I scored tickets to the Saturday game against the Cubs. It was the second to last game of the season and the Crew had a chance to clinch. They didn't. I didn't have tickets to Sunday's game, and I was unemployed, so I couldn't really go spend money at a bar either, so instead, I just watched the final game at home by myself. That was probably for the best as well, because I was an absolute wreck for that whole game. Hanging on every CC pitch, and every swing of the bat. When the Mets/Marlins game came on, I was able to watch that as well since it was on ESPN, and was living and dying on every pitch in that game as well! Then it all fell into place, Ryan Braun hit the go ahead homerun for the Brewers, and in an odd sense of irony, the former Brewer that I probably made fun of the most during his Milwaukee tenure, Wes Helms, came through for the Marlins to help sink the Mets.
Watching as Miller Park went wild, listening to Rock's call of "YESSSSS, YESSS, YESSSSS", watching as Miller Park watched the Mets game on the jumbotron (I just got goosebumps writing this), the on-field celebration by the players sharing the moment with the fans....it was all surreal and amazing. Instead of jumping up and down and yelling in joy, I was speechless. I was sitting on the balls of my feet rocking back in forth with my hands folded over my mouth. The 26 year drought was over! Sure, there was no championship, but I didn't need a championship to feel 100% satisfied with the 2008 season.