Opinion: ‘04 ranks right up there
During the past few days, I've racked my brain trying to come up with the top sports stories of the year for the schools that I cover. Despite having a little difficulty ranking them and picking which ones to put in and which ones to leave out, it was a relatively easy process. I was at most -- if not all -- of the events.
Between schools and sentences, I found myself daydreaming about the top sports stories of the year at any level. It was a mind-blowing experience. What seemed like hundreds of games and athletes and events and scandals raced to the front of my mind. So I figured with it being the end of the year and all, I'd go out with a bang and produce one more list before saying hello to 2005.
So in a very unscientific, impromptu manner, the following is a list of what I consider to be the most memorable sports stories of 2004. Just in case you're wondering, I choose not to remember anything that sheds a negative light on sports, so you won't see anything about Barry Bonds, steroids or the Pacers-Pistons brawl in the following paragraphs.
- Athens Summer Olympics -
Not since I was a child did I enjoy the Olympics so much. Maybe it was because they returned to the sacred site of Athens, or perhaps I just connected with the athletes better this time around. I'm not sure. But whatever it was, I was captivated. I enjoyed the heck out of rooting for Michael Phelps, the women's gymnastics team and even that group of misfits they called the US basketball team. The only thing better than watching and admiring from afar would've been being there.
- ance Armstrong Wins Again - I'm not sure I need to go into detail on this one, but I will. Racers keep coming at him and Armstrong keeps turning them away. He's truly something to marvel at, and I have a feeling that someday I will be completely amazed that I was around to witness his dominance.
- hil Mickelson - Finally! Enough said.
- oston Red Sox Reverse the Curse - As a lifelong Red Sox fan, I still find it difficult to answer the question "which did you enjoy more, watching the Sox come back from down 0-3 to defeat the Yankees, or the fact that they finally won the World Series?" I'm leaning toward the Yankee answer on that one, but it just doesn't feel right. Either way it was a true joy to watch those guys do what they did. This has to be the one I'll remember the longest.
- Jayhawk Basketball - Roy's gone, Bill Self's in and the 'Hawks come within one overtime period of making it three straight Final Fours. Not a bad way to help the faithful forget Ol' Roy.
- ete Rose Comes to Town -
This one isn't as big of a deal as some of the rest, but I'll always remember 2004 as the year that I got to meet baseball legend Pete Rose. Rose was in town as part of a tour of several minor league ballparks, and he stopped in at CommunityAmerica Ballpark to visit with the T-Bones and the media. What a thrill. He was exactly like I imagined he would be. I really thought this was the year his ban from baseball would be lifted, but after what unfolded, now I'm not sure it ever will be.
It was a great year, and I'm looking forward to 2005 being even better.