world is scheduled to end in nine days. If that happens, there is a strong
chance that the institution of sports will end as well.
have had some good times. A few laughs, a few cries, and a few moments when we
just sat in awe. But, like a trip to Chuck E. Cheese or a conjugal visit, all
good things must come to an end, and sports, too, will be just a series of
grand memories that we look back on and smile.
the time we have remaining, I would like to recollect a few moments that I was
fortunate enough to live through and see woven into the fabric of our history.
These are some of the things that stick out the most.
greatest sports memory I have, as a fan, happened on December 22, 2003. Brett
Favre was already a hero, but, after the game he played on Monday night in
Oakland following the passing of his father, he became a legend.
was the greatest performance by a single player I have ever seen, regardless
of sport. Favre threw for 399 yards and four touchdowns. Quarterbacks have had
statistically better games. Favre has done so himself. But considering the
circumstances, no quarterback has performed better in one game in my mind.
wasn’t just Favre. The entire team was inspired that night. The receivers made
catches you’d be hard-pressed to replicate. Anything Favre threw, they caught.
Even Raiders fans, arguably the most domineering in football, respected Favre
for playing under duress and marveled at the result.
great memory I have is of the Malice at the Palace of Auburn Hills. I was
supposed to be sleeping, but the Detroit Pistons and the Indiana Pacers were
playing a game, so I thought I’d finish watching. I’m glad I did. A hard foul
on Detroit’s Ben Wallace by Indiana’s Ron Artest, currently known as Meta World
Peace, turned into a shoving match, which turned into a bench-clearing
misguided fan and a thrown cup later, a nearly defused incident turned into
the most infamous brawl in NBA history. Spectators and players throwing
punches; referees retreating from the court; beer and popcorn and insults
hurled at members of the Pacers as they exited the floor. The game was ended
with less than a minute to play, and Indiana was awarded the victory.
Artest was suspended for the remainder of the season, and a handful of other
Pacers received suspensions. As unfortunate an incident the NBA has ever seen
during a game, but it was pretty awesome to watch.
final memory I’ll share was something that happened to me. The summer after I
graduated high school, I was pitching in the second game of a Legion baseball
doubleheader. It was the bottom of the 4th inning, and I threw a pitch right
down the pipe, and the kid hit a chopper back up the middle. The ball bounced
once in front of the pitcher’s mound, then hit me where my cup would have been,
had I been wearing one.
I took a few seconds to gather my thoughts and my manhood. As I dropped to one
knee, I retrieved the ball that lay at my feet and tossed it daintily to first
base. Then I sat on the ground holding myself and breathing heavily while the
other team… my teammates… my father who was coaching… the umpires… and everyone
in attendance laughed at my misfortune.
went on to throw all eight innings of that game and secure the win. I may have
cried on the way home; that part is hazy.
all have great memories of sports from our playing days and our days in the
stands. Some are good, some are bad, and some just hurt. But the important
thing is they’re there for the recollecting. Even when we’re old and resigned
to a rocking chair instead of a dugout, we’ll have things to look back on and
wait. Nine days, I forgot.