Mar 15

Your Top Moments in Sports

Posted By:Brett Haynes - Greenville, SC  Tags:

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They are the moments that you never forget, and there is no reason that you would ever want to forget them, anyway. I am talking about your very own personal greatest moments in sports - the ones you saw go down, at the very time that it went down. These aren't the ones that the TV stations pick for you as the great ones, these are yours. They are moments that happened in the clutch, and had some drama to 'em. These are moments that made the crowd lose itself in pandamonium....And it's weird how when times like these happen, you not only remember the moment of the sport, but you remember where you were when you saw it go down. Maybe you were at the event, but probably not. So whether you were in your living room, or in a sports bar, or listening to it on the radio driving down the road, you remember exactly where you were when your personal favorite sports moments happened. Here are mine.

This was extremely hard to narrow down at first! I tried my absolute very best to keep it to moments that were national in impact, and so this went against my natural instinct to have all Clemson moments. I also found it difficult to leave a few plays out. But one of the criteria here is that the moment must be one seen happen in present time (TV counts), and that really helped to narrow it down. The other criteria is that it had to be an instant play - not a whole game or a game-winning drive or a solid defensive stand. One play...

10. USC pass play vs. Notre Dame - 2005. I was with a Notre Dame alumni watching this game, and well, it was awkward. The Irish looked as if they were going to pull the upset. They had the Trojans at home and down by three, and at their own 26 yard line. As I didn't have a dog in the fight (maybe that's a bad cliche to use these days), I was ready to do a little bit of celebrating with my Fightin' Irish buddy. It was at that point - when my friend and his 80,000 friends in South Bend were all about to go nuts - that Matt Leinhart connected on a 63-yard pass play that silenced a stadium like I have never heard before. As we all know, USC went on to win that game with the famous "Bush push," but it was the pass play that broke the Irish's back. In all honesty, I felt bad for my friend. That was about as gut-wrenching of a loss as I have seen still to this day.  (go to 1:55 mark)

9. LSU walk off home run at College World Series - 1996. Talk about every kid's dream! I get emotional just thinking what it would be like if my team were to win it all, no matter the fashion. But to deliver a home run to bring your team the title - how could it get any better?! As a 17-year old kid playing high school baseball, I thought this was just about the coolest thing I had ever seen! LSU, of course, has now won six national titles since 1991, as this was the third championship during that stretch. By the way, LSU is the current defending champion right now (they can play ball down there).

8. Bobby Brown in Winter X Games - 2010. This was back in February....Short story long is that I couldn't cut off the TV as I was so deeply into what I was watching. In the slopestyle event, back and forth went Bobby Brown and TJ Schiller. They kept one-upping each other jump after jump after jump before 10,000 plus bundled up fans halfway up Aspen Mountain (try like 6,000 feet elevation) kept going wild after each trick It truly was one of the funnest hours of sport I have watched in some time, and to cap it off, event winner Brown pulled a slow turning back flip trick that was so smooth in execution it gave me chill bumps and sent the crowd into an absolute frenzy. Just like Shaun White in the Olympics later that month, Brown had his event wrapped up when he pulled this...Please watch:

7. Nebraska kicker bombs a field goal - 2008. After a Clemson football game, we made our way (somehow) back to my sister's off campus apartment. A good crowd of ten friends or so watched the night games as we enjoyed each other's company on another fun-filled college football Saturday. As the night got late, and the good times were rolling, we all watched as Nebraska kicker Alex Henery lined up to try a 57-yard field goal behind a raucous home crowd to take the lead late in the fourth quarter against Colorado. It was Bo Pelini's first year as coach, and the Huskers had a new attitude. As he lined up we all got ready to watch it, and I know I heard more than one person in the room say, "this kick ain't got a snowball's chance in ...." The snap came, the kick went up, and, and, and, and....GOOD! The crowd went bananas and all of us in the apartment were high-fiving and holy-^&*ing! It was a fun moment of sport, and I can imagine was an absolute blast if you were in Memorial Stadium when it happened.

6. Shaun White Delivers the Gold in first run - 2010. Yes, I was into the extreme sports this year - but why not?! A ski trip out West sparked it, and a thrilling X Games and Winter Olympics really made me take on a new appreciatoin for what these guys do. I'm pretty patriotic, as well, and watching Shaun White get a 46.8 out of 50 on his first run in the snowboard superpipe final was one of the best things I have watched on TV in quite some time (well, since a week earlier when Bobby Brown showed out). White knew he wanted to nail his first run to take the heat off of himself for the second run so he could try his "double mctwist" (which he did..and nailed). You can see that as the best in the world, he is clearly focused as he approaches his start of run one. And folks, do yourself a favor and check out the air White gets his first time up the wall!(1:34 mark)

5. Sid Bream Slides home with the Pennant - 1992. The Braves had been the low spot of the National League for years, but in 1991, things got crazy! They reached the World Series before losing to the Twins in seven games. In 1992, the goodness carried on, and the climatic moment of the season came in Game seven of the NLCS between the Braves and the Pittsburgh Pirates. I was watching this game as a 13-year old kid with my mom, up late one night. What a rally it was, and it was all capped off by Francisco Cabrera. As the ball got through the hole between short and third, I thought out loud "oh my, God! the Braves are gonna win," and sure enough, as the old and lanky Bream slid in just ahead of the throw from Barry Bonds, the Braves were the champions of the National League!

4. Clemson over Georgia in 1987 - Treadwell part 2. This was a HUGE game for both schools. Back in the 1980's, Clemson and Georgia played every year (at least up to 1987), and so this was the finale of the scheduled series. Just 75 miles apart, it was truly a shame this game was being scratched from the teams' slates. Both had won national championships during the decade, and Clemson had won the 1986 game between the two (in Athens) on a 46-yard field-goal by David Treadwell (that game could also make this list) that sent the Tiger faithful into bliss as time expired...So in 1987, they battled it out deep into the 4th-quarter. I was a nine year old kid at the time, and this was kind of a big deal to me to say the least. I had never experienced anything such as this. The crowd was so alive as the two top-10 programs went at it right before me. I remember standing up that entire game as big play after big play happened. It rained off and on throughout the day, and I remember 80,000 orange pon-poms being waved by 80,000 orange poncho-clad Tiger fans. Clemson appeared to be in trouble late but was able to force a safety to get within two points at 20-18. We got the ball back with around five minutes to play, and drove it down the field to set up David Treadwell checking in with my moment number four....As time expired, Treadwell's field goal sent Death Valley into a rage that I had never seen before, and honestly, in years 10-31 of my life, haven't seen quite since! The place sent chill bumps up and down my body and I seriously had a hard time breathing for a few seconds. People were absolutely going nuts, falling all over each other in the stands, acting like we had just been saved from a hostile, alien take-over... I was only a kid, but I knew right then - at that very moment - that two things would always be a big part of my life: Clemson University and sports....(I tried like crazy to find the field-goal but couldn't locate it...Here is a little Brent Musberger from 23 years ago for ya, anyway, in this game's intro...Please note the Carolina Pride ad on the Clemson scoreboard way back then, too!)

3. Women's World Cup Win Over China - 1999. Yeah, I know, a women's moment made my all-time, personal list of witnessed-in-present-time greatest sports moments. But if 100,000 Americans cheering for someone that just made a once in a lifetime goal to win a World Cup doesn't get your attention, well then, I don't know what to do....The scene was the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, and the USA women had come face to face with the Chinese women. These were the two current best teams in women's soccer, and they had made it through to the World Cup final. The Americans were led by famed Mia Hamm, who has won titles at every level of her playing career. But on this day, it wasn't Hamm, but Brandi Chastain who provided the drama. The Americans and Chinese had played to a 0-0 draw after 90 minutes and two OT sessions. It was time for a shoot-out, and it too had gone even up until a Chinese player missed on shot five. Now, if Chastain could make her shot, China was mathematically not possible to tie it back up, and the US would take the World Cup...Countless millions of people wacthed on TV, and another 100,000 in the stands under a perfect blue sky day in July as the American player approached the goal to place her ball down for her shot. The tension was insane at the game (I'm sure), just as it was in my living room where I watched this holding my breath. With her teammates all standing as one at midfield behind her, Chastain calmly blasted the ball into the back of the net sending the crowd into a frenzy! Her teammates ran in from midfield to swarm her, and one of America's most special sports moments unfolded for the world to see. She became famous for ripping her shirt off during the celebration. But decades from now, it will be Chastain's shot, and not her shirt, that are remembered.

  (go to 4:57 minute mark)

2. Colorado's Miracle at Michigan - 1994. It was in the Big House, and it came against a good Michigan team. There were NFL players all over the field, and two of them - Kordell Stewart and Michael Westbrook of Colorado - were responsible for making this play happen. Both teams were ranked in the top-10 at the time, and this was a huge inter-regional battle. The shockingness of this win must have been life-changing inside Michigan Stadium, as I was shocked beyond words watching on TV. The play was shown on Sportscenter over and over and over for the rest of the week, and is quite possibly one of the craziest endings to a college football game ever. It was a huge play anyway, but to happen between two top-10 teams makes it even more special. If you are a Colorado fan this play should be watched every single day of your life! To "Common Sense" and "sdbsingle1" and all other Michigan fans - sorry guys!

1. Christian Laettner's shot downs UK in 1992. This game is the reason I wrote this article. This play right here, to me, is what greatness is all about. I watched this one live with my brother, dad, and uncle from a hotel room in Florida, as we had gone down for spring-training. I remember the weather was nice and we had the door open to the breezeway...As for the game itself, there is a reason I have this at number one - and trust me, by no stretch of the imagination am I a Duke fan now. At the time, though, I really was a bit of a Devil fan. I liked Hurley and company. I liked the Hill boys (Thomas and Grant), and I didn't reailze just how bad Coach K would end up getting on my nerves over the years. They were the ACC 's representative for the national championship, and I liked the idea of that. So as they battled Kentucky of the SEC (in which South Carolina had just joined - the uncle mentioned is a Gamecock) in this regional final, the game went back and forth all night long. Kentucky hit a shot with just over two seconds to play, and it looked like the end had come for Duke. But - and I remember watching it live like it was yesteday - Christian Laettner would have none of that, jumping, catching, spinning, and smoothly drilling one from the foul line area to sink the Wildcats. In leading Duke to back-to-back national titles, Laettner finished the night 20 for 20 for the game - 10 for 10 from the foul line, and 10 for 10 from the floor. Clutch.

So those are mine, and I am sure that as soon as I post this that I will remember a few more. But remember, if you keep it to stuff that happened and you saw it live (or on live TV), and it was a last second, critical game-winning type deal, it makes it tougher to qualify for this list!

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