The top ten sports moments that caught my eye, for better or for worse, in 2014. In no particular order.
- Okay, I lied. The top sports moment of 2014 had to be the New York Rangers becoming the Eastern Conference Champs. Sure they didn’t win the Stanley Cup. The L.A. Kings pretty much mopped the floor with them. But the same time last year, NOBODY thought they would be contenders. And none of sports pundits mentioned the Rangers as one of the teams to make the finals. Now, the rest of the list is in no particular order…
- The death of cricketer Philip Hughes. As a parent, I can’t imagine the heartache of his mother and father to see their beloved son taken from them, so suddenly and so soon. The look on his father’s face as he carried the casket out of the church said it all. And the outpouring of support from around the world, especially with the #PutOutYourBats tribute, was overwhelming.
- Derek Jeter’s farewell tour. I grew up in Queens as a Mets fan. To this day, I can’t understand how my brother could jump ship and become a Yankees fan. But I admit to being Derek Jeter fan. He was a class act, and couldn’t craft a better storybook end to his career.
The World Cup. I thought for sure that Brazil wouldn’t be ready. And this was reinforced by all the protests from citizens who demanded basic services, instead of money being poured into sports stadiums. Somehow, the country managed to get it together, and we had a great event, especially for the United States team. While no one expected them to win, they got farther than anyone anticipated, and ignited a real interest in soccer (or football, as it’s called in the rest of the world).
Sochi Olympics. The irony is that Vladimir Putin threw billions of dollars into the event, more spent here than all other Olympic events combined. But the news was rife with stories of substandard accommodations, and the displacement of residents. And then there was the controversy with the anti-gay propaganda laws. That didn’t stop the athletes from giving us a spectacular Winter Games.
Lewis Hamilton wins F1 championship. What a crazy season for F1, but a great win for Lewis Hamilton.
Triple Crown, 2014. It almost happened. Almost.
- Simone Biles. This gymnast will be the one to beat for the upcoming Summer Olympics. Had the opportunity to watch her performance on television at the World Gymnastics Championships back in October. Slate.com has a great article about her.
- THE CATCH! Odell Beckham’s grab of the football in the end zone will certainly go down as one of the best catches of all time. But it will probably go down as one of the only high points in an otherwise disastrous season for my New York Giants.
- Mo’ne Davis. This young lady was packing heat at the Little League World Series. She made the cover of Sports Illlustrated, was named a sportsperson of the year. She deserves all the accolades she received, and more. She’s a poised, level-headed young lady who I’m sure will succeed in whatever she endeavors to do.
- The passing of Ralph Kiner, the New York Mets announcer and baseball Hall-of-Famer. I grew up listening to him call the Mets games, and looked forward to his Kiner’s Corner. Gary Thorne has a wonderful tribute to his colleague in the NY Daily News.
- New Zealand All Blacks play the USA Men’s Eagles team. Yea, the American Rugby team was no competition for the All Blacks. But it was thrilling to see them fill up Soldier’s Field in Chicago, to watch the game live on TV, and see the All Blacks perform their haka on U.S. soil.
And that’s the snip! A Happy and Healthy New Year to all! Here’s to another great year in sports for 2015!