General Sports

The Top Five Moments Of The 2008 Sports Year

The 2008 sports year has already offered us some unbelievably memorable moments.  Here is a list of the top five momnets in sports in 2008.     The 2008 sports year is only half over and has already offered us some memorable games, performances and moments that will be spoken about for generations.  

     In this remarkably exciting year in sports, I have identified the top five moments in 2008.  

5)    The Tampa Bay Rays

     In a completely unfair league which has become dominated by wealthy, big-market teams, the Tampa Bay Rays are pulling off nothing short of a small miracle by leading the AL East.

     At $43.7 million, they Rays have the second lowest payroll in the league.  Playing in arguably the best league in baseball against the Yankees and Red Sox who have amongst the highest payrolls in the league, they have somehow found themselves at the top of the Al East.

     Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter make more money than the entire Rays team, yet they are currently 6.5 games behind the Rays

     The Rays also play in arguably the worst stadium in the league; a place where they have a 36-14 record and have transformed into Tampa Bay’s new `hot spot’.

     Whether the Rays hold on to win the Al East or not, they have shown that the game of baseball can still be good and pure.  They have shown that a group of players who mesh well and play hard can still be successful in this league dominated by large market teams who insist on purchasing themselves championships.

4)    The Boston Celtics

     It is not often that you see a team go from worst to first in any sport, and that is exactly what the Boston Celtics did in 2008.  

     After last season, Boston was calling for Doc Rivers’ head and wanted Paul Peirce sent out of town.

     Danny Ainge went out and acquired two legitimate superstars in Kevin Garnett and Ray Allan, re-signed Pierce and kept Doc Rivers on as the head coach.  

     Most Celtic fans were excited about the thought of having an all-star team on the court in 2008, but many basketball analysts were apprehensive about whether or not three bonified superstars would be able to come together and put the good of the team above themselves.

     Under the tutelage of Doc Rivers, Garnett, Pierce and Allan all took a step back and put the team ahead of their personal ambitions.  They each put the NBA Championship above their points per game, their sponsorships and their popularity.  

     In a league that is infested with players who seem more concerned with their sneaker contracts than a NBA Championship, this was quit an achievement and has probably played a big role in once again popularizing the NBA.

    3) The New York Giants Win the Super Bowl

Talk about amazing!

     Never in a million years would any fan analysts or even player believe that it was possible for the Giants to get to the Super Bowl, let alone beat the undefeated New England Patriots; but they did.

     The Giants defense meshed at exactly the right time and Eli Manning somehow managed to carry the team on his back right through the Super Bowl.

     In a matter of a month, Tom Coughlin went from a guy that might not have a job in 2008 to one of the highest paid coaches in the league.  

     In a matter of a month, Eli Manning went from New York’s favorite goat to taking over Derek Jeter’s spot as the prince of the city.  

     In a whirlwind month, the Giants shocked the world and won one of the greatest Super Bowls ever played.  

     The Giants showed everyone that the game is actually played for a reason.  The Patriots were not just handed their Super Bowl rings, they had to go out and earn it, which is where they met their match on that Sunday evening in February and where many of the Giants’ lives were forever changed.

2)    The Changing of the Guard in Tennis

     Tennis is not the most popular sport, particularly in America. Roger Federer is arguably the most dominate athlete of our generation yet he hardly gets more than a few minutes on Sports Center or more than a few lines in most newspapers.

     I’ll admit that I am not a very big tennis fan; I don’t even really watch the majors.  But, I happened to throw on the television last weekend and began watching the Wimbledon Finals and saw a truly amazing sporting event.

     This match had everything.  It was the legendary superstar who is getting close to the end of his career versus the fresh, ultra-talented young player who has been waiting for his opportunity to reach the top for years.  

     Federer was going for a record sixth Wimbledon win and Nadal was looking for his first.
It was young against old, the master versus the new kid on the block, set in the backdrop of one of the most famous sporting venues in the world, complete with typical dark, rainy English weather.

It was the perfect match.

     The match lasted more than five hours through several rain delays and went to a fifth set which had to be decided by several extra games.  

     Tennis fans and analysts are calling the Nadal-Federer match one of the greatest matches in the history of the sport, and though I do not know enough about tennis to say I agree, I do know that this was the greatest tennis match I have ever seen.

1)    Tiger Woods Wins the US Open…..On One Leg

     It is not often that you see a man play in a sporting event on one leg.  It is even rarer that you see a man on one leg perform well in a sporting event.  It is completely unheard-of that a man on one leg could beat 156 of the world’s best golfers – which is exactly what Tiger Woods did in the 2008 US Open.

     When thinking of heroic performances in the world of sports, golfers are rarely among the first athletes that come to mind.

     You might think of Kirk Gibson hobbling up to the plate in Game One of the 1988 World Series and hitting a walk-off home run.

     You might think of Willis Reed limping around the court during Game Seven of the 1970 NBA Finals.

That was until the 2008 US Open.

     What Tiger Woods overcame to win the 2008 U.S. Open was nothing short of miraculous.  His performance at Torrey Pines will endure as one of the most heroic performances in the history of sports.

     Gibson hobbled up to the plate and took a few grueling swings.

     Willis Reed limped around for portions of a two-and-a-half-hour basketball game and faintly contributed to the Knicks winning Game Seven of the NBA Finals.

     Tiger Woods had to walk a 7,600-yard golf course, the equivalent of 4.3 miles, for five hours per day for five straight days, stopping every couple of hundred yards to take a swing which clearly resulted in severe pain.

     On a knee that was not fully recovered from his recent surgery, a ruptured ACL and two stress fractures in his leg, Woods hobbled around 91 holes, walking the equivalent of 21.5 miles. He also took hundreds of swings with club head speeds of up to 130 miles per hour, putting tremendous strain on his injured left knee.

Oh yeah, and he won.

     Woods didn’t play injured for a few minutes and contribute to his team’s success, or take a few swings to win the tournament–he played 25 hours’ worth of golf on a severely injured left leg and was still good enough to beat a field of 156 of the world’s best golfers.

     If that is not one of the most heroic moments in the history of sports, then I don’t know what is.

     If Tiger Woods had not already achieved legendary status, his performance at the 2008 US Open would have surely catapulted him into this category.

     Woods’ performance at the 2008 US Open will be spoken about for generations.  

     The legend of Woods’ win at Torrey pines will inevitably grow in stature and fable, similar to Babe Ruth calling his shot or Ben Hogan struggling around the course to win the US Open a year after a car accident which nearly claimed his life.

     Woods deserves absolutely all the admiration he is currently receiving and will continue to receive everywhere he goes for the rest of his life.  

     A man won the US Open on one leg. That is a sentence I never thought I would say in my lifetime.

3 replies on “The Top Five Moments Of The 2008 Sports Year”

The Rays? I can’t vote for or against this cause 4-1 are in order, maybe The Giants are No. 2, but The Rays aren’t done yet, let’s wait, maybe the Cubbies will be there and that’ll be in the Top 5!

tampa How exactly is Tampa Bay a “moment.” Everything else, fine. But Tampa hasn’t been a “moment,” at least yet. Maybe top 5 stories of the year? But moment, I don’t see it.

Rays? Great article and observations.  I agree with 1-4 though I would not have Tampa Bay included.  The season is far from over, and while it is a compelling story, it is too early to consider it one of the moments of the year.  
What about Spain winning Euro 2008?  The Spanish had not won a trophy in 44 years, the entire world was focused on Europe and worldwide this may even be the greatest moment of the year.

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