And so we finally come down to the best/most memorable moments of 2014 in sports. Here’s a quick recap of Part 1 and Part 2:
Part 1 featured some of the best games, teams and individual performances such as Madison Bumgarner in the World Series and Kansas City Royals historic playoff run. Also covered was T.J. Oshie putting Team USA hockey team on his back in a shootout vs. Russia, Shabazz Napier predicting UCONN would be National Champions two months before it happen (as a #7 seed no less) The Spurs ended the Miami Heat in more ways than just beating them in the Finals and Gareth Bale repaid Real Madrid with his go-ahead goal in the Champions League Final.
In Part 2 it was all about what stories took over Twitter and came close to shutting it down from too many tweets (not possible, at least so far.) Roger Goodell was effectively buried on Twitter by the average Joe, his employees and NFL players, while his counterpart in Adam Silver of the NBA did the exact opposite and changed the league for the greater good. Richard Sherman was the main man in one of the best NFL playoff games in awhile and LeBron came back to Cleveland to take care of unfinished business.
The following are not only some of the most talked about moments, but also quite possibly the most feel-good things that happened in sports this year. Face it 2014 outside of sports (and even within sports in some cases) wasn’t the best year for a lot of reasons. Between ISIS, Ebola, Ferguson and 2 planes disappearing out of thin air, let’s try going into 2015 on a high note.
Michael Sam the Pioneer
For full recap of the story click here.
The former University of Missouri defensive end and SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year was one of the most dominating players in College football a year ago. A few months later, Sam became one of the most courageous human beings announcing that he was a proud gay man. Homosexuality has become more accepted today than ever before, but for many years professional athletes had to keep quiet about their sexuality, fearing their teammates would not accept them or they would be cut from the roster.
Sam made his decision before the NFL draft, believing that his sexuality should not matter or make a difference to whomever may draft him, that what he does on the field is all that matters. Soon after, many athletes followed in his footsteps, noting that Sam gave them the courage to speak out. In the 7th round in the NFL draft, the St. Louis Rams drafted Sam, making him the first openly gay NFL player in history and paving the way for those who will follow in his courageous footsteps.
Everything about the Little League World Series
Full recap here.
Year in and year out this event in Williamsport delivers. Watching 11, 12 and 13 year-olds play baseball brings back memories for a lot people (including myself) who picked up a ball back in the day. But 2014 Williamsport was unlike any other. There was this one 13 year-old girl (you may have heard of her) named Mo’ne Davis who happened to strike everyone out in her path and became an icon in the process showing that maybe throwing a ball like a girl wasn’t so bad after all.
She was named AP Women Athlete of the Year and Sports Illustrated Kid’s Athlete of the Year, her Twitter timeline is filled with celebrities and star athletes wanting to get a picture with her.
Then there was the Jackie Robinson West team from the South Side of Chicago running through the tournament playing the most aggressive style of baseball I have ever seen. These kids came from one of the most violent parts in America to capturing the attention of the entire nation by simply playing a game they loved and being themselves. They never gave up, were beyond entertaining and showed the utmost class and sportsmanship. Plus one of their star players, Trey Hondras, delivered the quote of the year (via the Chicago Tribune):
In case you weren’t sure if he was a stud after that,
Few things will beat watching this team play throughout the Little League World Series, they were a spectacle in their own right.
“I Believe That We Will Win!”
I don’t like to toot my own horn on here, but I don’t think I could personally sum up Team USA in Brazil better than what I wrote on them in the summer.
The Captain Rides into the Sunset
I’m not saying that this is the story of 2014 because I’m ending with this, but it’s definitely in serious consideration for best moment of the year.
I’m not sure what your opinion of Derek Jeter is, as you most certainly know what mine is, regardless you cannot end a historic career better than the way Jeter did. For a man so revered for the majority of his career for being a class act and so clutch every time for his ball club, it was only fitting his last game in New York ended the way it did.
Can you draw it up any better?
Long time announcer Bob Shepard (who passed away in 2010, but Jeter had him record it so he could use it for the rest of his career) calling him up to the plate, a fan’s sign reading, “The house that Jeter built” but I only saw that one guy holding up the “Mr. November” sign after Jeter’s homer in the 2001 World Series. The crowd going insane as if it’s Game 7 of the World Series. The fact that it’s against the O’s and Jeter tormented the O’s with clutch hits his entire career. Most of all? That Jeter slapped it to right-field with the classic inside-out swing. The baseball gods definitely had something to do with this ending and you won’t convince me otherwise.
I don’t think I’ve ever been happier and more depressed at the same time. I don’t know Major League Baseball and the New York Yankees without Derek Jeter running out to shortstop everyday. He will be the last great Yankee for some time now (this makes the majority of baseball fans ecstatic, I’m sure) but baseball got to witness one of the all-time greats doing what he did best, one last time.
And a farewell to 2014, certainly a year to remember.