How quickly we forget.
Yes, this sports year has been mired by scandal after scandal, including the so-called "Spygate," in Foxboro, Massachusetts, though I, personally, avoid adding a "gate" to things just to make them sound more odious and abhorrent. But you've also missed some things that have been good and exciting at the same time, things that don't cause that queasy feeling in our stomachs right before we regurgitate.
For instance, the University of Florida basketball team won its second-straight NCAA Championship, defeating an upstart, and freshman-laden, Ohio State team that proved you don't need a superstar to win titles, you just need teamwork and commitment to each other and your goal. The Gators also won the NCAA (BCS, really) Championship in football. For both wins, Florida bested Ohio State, who has long been lauded with praise over their dominance, but who has long been a bastian for athletes who showed up only to practice, and not to class.
How about the resurgence of Brett Favre, after Ray Rhodes and Mike Sherman wasted seven years of the prime of his career? How about Tom Brady and the Patriots' excellence in the field, regardless of whether or not the coaches and assistants were spying? You have to play the games on the field, after all.
The sports year 2007 also saw Peyton Manning finally break through his championship wall, and remove from his back a monkey so big it could have played offensive line for the Colts. Manning and the rest of his Indianapolis team overcame their arch-nemisis, the New England Patriots, after being down by 18 points in the AFC Championship Game, and overcame doubts as to whether or not they could beat the Bears in Super Bowl XLI, and they did so with class.
In Major League Baseball, in spite of all of the troubles, the Boston Red Sox won their second World Series in four years. This after going eighty-six years between championships before their 2004 breakthrough.
Back to college football for a moment: have you forgotten the Boise State-Oklahoma Fiesta Bowl? That might have been the most exciting game ever in college football. If not, it's certainly up there with Kordell Stewart's heave-ho, the Cal-Stanford game, the Flutie-Phelan miracle or any other game you can come up with on short notice.
How about Appalachain State-Michigan? How about the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy? How about a rookie breaking the NFL single-game rushing record?
So, instead of shining a light on how bad the few have been this year, let's shed some on some of the good that we've seen. This holiday season is the time of perpetual hope, at least it was intended to be, whether you believe in the Bible or not. So why can't we celebrate the Rutgers women who won the NCAA title, rather than talking endlessly about Don Imus and pushing the Scarlet Knights' accomplishments to the back burner?
I'm not asking for gloss, for treating the bad with a new coat of paint. I'm asking that we keep in mind all of the good things sports has given us this past year, and keep in mind that 2008 could and can be better, rather than a polarizing, side-choosing year in the dreck.
Nicholas S. Schreiter
Dec 11 2007 - 4:24pm