More Lists: Top 11 Local Sports Moments From 2006
So the fine folks at Washingtonpost.com asked if I wanted to maybe list my top sports moments of the year, and then we could have a LiveOnline chat about all this at noon tomorrow, during which I can only pray that nobody asks any serious questions, and that Bog regulars like the Thigh Master (here's his In and Out list) and Duke Frankencow and Chest Rockwell show up. But seriously, go submit some questions.
Anyhow, I don't know why everyone publishes their token "Year-End List" stuff in late December. You need the benefit of time, of leisurely, studied contemplation and analysis for a true year-end list. That's why I did mine during my lunch break on Jan. 3.
We also needed a peg of some sort. The natural peg was provided by Post columnist George Solomon. I love George like a younger brother, but a famous local blogger pointed out that George's year-end column, in which he wrote of all the things he liked and didn't like in 2006, made no mention of a certain basketball team from Fairfax. No, not this one.
I just talked to George about this, and I wasn't the only one to complain. In his defense, he points out that it wasn't really a year-end column, and that he wrote about Mason (two words) during his "Christmas spin around the Beltway" column, which I missed, leading him to accuse me of negligence, which is fair.
But regardless, I'm gonna do a list of my Top 11 Local Sports Moments from 2006. Bear in mind, to qualify, a moment had to have been fun. My original cover letter to The Post, which led to my not getting hired, started with a description of how happy I was to watch a meaningless extra-inninged baseball game in the year 2000, during which catcher Brent Mayne was forced to pitch an inning and his teammates couldn't stop laughing. I liked this moment because it was fun. That's why there's not many football moments on my list. Besides underdog running backs who score two-point conversions on statue-of-liberty plays and then propose to their girlfriends in the cheerleading section, and besides bloggers trying to figure out the identity of certain poorly covered cheerleaders, football doesn't seem to be all that much fun.
Also, major bonus points are given to events that I covered.
1. George Mason beats Connecticut in the phone booth. Impossible not to smile. Mike Wise sat next to me during the game. He spent much of the second half singing "Livin' on a Prayer," which is one of his karaoke specialties. We spent the last few moments of overtime trying to figure out if we would get crushed by fans rushing the court.
Also, I saved the messages I got after the game ended.
Text message from California: "Dude. Unreal."
Text message from Bog friend and Local Poll voter Steve Argeris in parts-unknown: "Book deal?"
IM from Bog friend Barry Svrluga: "have a blast with this. you might never cover a better story."
E-mail from a Bog friend at the Chronicle of Higher Education: "i've never seen a more exciting sporting event - ever - than yesterday's game. i almost lost my voice watching that game alone at home. absolutely unreal."
E-mail from a Boston reader: "...I sit here still in utter disbelief and mutter the magic words 'George...Mason? George...MASON?!'."
2. Ovechkin scores The Goal. In terms of moments of long-term significance to the North American sporting universe that contain a local hook, Ovie's emergence is a clear No. 2. And The Goal was the one moment that best signified that emergence. Moreso even than my discovery of his magic iPod. Once Ovie scored that goal, it was immediately apparent that no longer would the Caps play before crowds of 10,000 or 11,000. Right?
3. Gil scores 60 points. Seriously. It's hard for me to judge exactly how big he is nationally, excluding bloggers, but he said yesterday that he's signing far, far, far more jerseys at away games than he ever has before. And now he's bringing P. Diddy, Lil' Wayne, Busta, T.I., The Game and possibly Nelly and Brian McKnight to D.C. for his birthday party, plus some other people who haven't yet been disclosed, like Jamie Foxx and Bernard Hopkins and various Redskins. By the way, the party's date and time and celebrity guest list were supposed to be secret, until Gil decided to tell the AP, the New York Times, the Washington Post and Yahoo!!!!!!! Sports about it at the same time. Nicely played, Gil.
Anyhow, when Bog Friend Mr. Irrelevant asked bloggers for our Top 11 subjects of 2006 (in early December, what gives?), I voted Arenas Nos. 1 and 2.
4. Clinton Portis gains eight yards during his first carry against the Bengals. The football season's high-water mark came on Aug. 13. (None of this is probably much fun to Redskins fans, I realize, but for non-Redskins fans there's nothing much more fun than giggling at this franchise. Not sure why that is, but from dozens and dozens of conversations and e-mails from non-Redskins fans I'm pretty sure it's true. Daniel Snyder has cornered the market on Schadenfreude, or being Schadenfreuded, or whatever.)
5. D.C. United hangs with Real Madrid. Maybe DCU fans would disagree, but it's hard for me to pick out a moment from this season that was more purely fun than that, even if it meant nothing and was in Seattle and RM didn't care, and even if DCU would later crash out of the playoffs and dismantle the team and trade all its best pumpkin-chuckers.
6. Maryland plays coy with the NIT. To quote from The Post's story at the time:
Terps Coach Gary Williams initially announced that Maryland would decline a spot in the National Invitation Tournament. No more than 30 minutes later, however, Williams said that Maryland would accept the invitation. The Terps (19-12) will play Saturday at Comcast Center against the winner of the game between Manhattan and Fairleigh Dickinson.
"Unbelievable," was how Williams summed up the night.
7. The Nats debut the Giant Racing Presidents. Future readers may wonder how this did not top my list. This was one of the truly great moments in the history of D.C. pro sports. And I would pay at least the price of a Nats upper-deck ticket to watch a day-long double-elimination series of races between all 43 presidents, including two versions of Grover Cleveland (22 and 24), plus a Giant FDR on wheels. I'd bet on Eisenhower. Not much wind resistance on that dome.
8. The Wizards are all witnesses, watching LeBron convert like 14 layups to win like 14 consecutive playoff games by one point each. Meanwhile, during the playoff series, Mike Wise and I are jogging along Lake Erie in Cleveland when he gets a phone call, telling him that his bid to buy a house has been accepted, and we then celebrate with other joggers. Mike Wise thus qualifies for a second mention in the Top 11 Local Sports Moment list, two more than Joe Gibbs. Well, one more, I guess. Who jogs with a cell phone, by the way?
9. Michael Gruner and Whitman somehow beat a loaded Eleanor Roosevelt team in the Maryland 4A boys' basketball championship game. Dan Shanoff smiles. Somehow, the world never took to my idea of calling George Mason the Whitman of College Basketball. Which would have made Boise State the Whitman of College Basketball of College Football.
10. The Nats play a free home game in front of a few hundred people that starts after 11:30 p.m. and goes until 2:25 in the morning, during which Giant Jefferson gets toppled. Eight hours of general weirdness. I will regret not being there for the rest of my life.
11. The GW men have their best season ever, capped by a total miracle win against Charlotte to cap an undefeated A-10 season. But the joy is dampened by a series of articles in some newspaper calling into question Karl Hobbs's recruiting tactics. A lot of newspaper people take pride in such things. Regardless of the merits of this particular case, I don't take pride in any part of my involvement. We took something that was a lot of fun and made it a lot less fun. Some people would argue that that's our job, but, well, it's not exactly Brent Mayne cracking up as he tries to throw a changeup, lemme put it that way. Still, that Charlotte game was fun.
Posted by: bwh5 | January 3, 2007 5:45 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Otto Graham | January 3, 2007 6:08 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: midxpress | January 3, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Dan Steinberg | January 3, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Bob | January 3, 2007 9:30 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: bwh5 | January 3, 2007 11:55 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: FS | January 4, 2007 1:05 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: midnight baseball fan | January 4, 2007 1:14 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: WGDC- | January 4, 2007 2:43 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: TG | January 4, 2007 8:27 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: jhorstma | January 4, 2007 8:36 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: misschatter | January 4, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: DC Sports Fan | January 4, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Goat | January 4, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Dootie Bubble | January 4, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: aka | January 4, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Falls Church | January 4, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: bryc3 | January 4, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Boggy Fottom | January 4, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Caps Nut | January 4, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Glen Brenner rules!!! | January 4, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: G&G | January 4, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Paul | January 4, 2007 11:16 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Vincent | January 5, 2007 2:54 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Dan Steinberg | January 5, 2007 7:57 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Ross | January 5, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.