Sunday, July 24, 2005

Rainy day Top 10

Just over two weeks ago, Ms. Feline Anarchy over at Blue Cats and Red Sox, posted her "Top 10 Sports Memories You Saw in Person or on TV." Me see, me like, me intrigued, me want to do one too. Since it's raining in Ann Arbor, today seems like a good day for it. These are the 10 moments that gave me that feeling in my chest you get when you know you've witnessed something special (or infamous). I'd love to hear some "How could you forget __________?!" responses, so if you got 'em, lemme have 'em.

10. Mike Legg's "lacrosse" goal vs. Minnesota - March 24, 1996: Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing, MI. We scored seats three rows behind the Minnesota bench (I still remember the smell - yeesh) from a scalper. From behind the Minnesota net, Michigan's Legg picked the puck up onto the blade of his hockey stick and stuffed it in over the clueless goalie's shoulder to tie the game. Only after seeing a replay on TV did I realize how the goal was scored.

9. Darren McCarty's goal, Game 4 of the 1997 Stanley Cup Finals: Who would've guessed that a bruiser could score such a pretty goal? McCarty deked Philadelphia goalie Ron Hextall right out of his skates, faking one way with the puck, and then flicking it into the net for what turned out to be the game- (and series) winning goal, and Detroit won their first Stanley Cup in 42 years. Even non-sports fan Mis Hooz called the goal "gorgeous." (She may not remember, but I will never forget.)

8. Drew Tate to Warren Holloway - 2005 Capital One Bowl: Hey, I was blogging by then. Fortunately for my soon-to-be-tired typing fingers, here's what I originally wrote about this game. I woke my dad up from his New Year's Day nap after Holloway scored his game-winning touchdown.

7. Vinnie Johnson's game-winning shot with 0.07 seconds left - 1990 NBA Finals: How could I not rank the moment when my Detroit Pistons won their second straight NBA championship? "The Microwave" was my favorite player on those "Bad Boys" teams, and him hitting the shot that won the series cements his place in Detroit sports history. (I just wish I could still fit into my Vinnie Johnson t-shirt.)

6. Scott Dreisbach to Mercury Hayes - August 25, 1995: What I remember most about this game is how damn hot it was. Way too hot to watch a football game. I don't know how they do it in Texas and Florida, man. Anyway, I was in the stands, but didn't see the catch. On the final play of the game, Dreisbach threw the ball toward the end zone, 15 yards away, and everyone stood up, blocking my view. Only from the crowd's reaction did I know Hayes caught the ball for a game-winning touchdown.

The Top 5 awaits you...

5. Game 1 of the 1989 NBA Finals, Pistons vs. Lakers: Chris scored two tickets to Game 1 of the NBA Finals and flipped a coin to see which of his buddies would get to join him. Guess who won? (I should've ranked winning that coin flip, eh?) We made signs, had great seats, and watched the Pistons beat the Lakers 109-97, on the way to their first NBA championship.

4. Chris Webber's time-out vs. North Carolina - April 5, 1993: I don't think I've ever been angrier after watching a sporting event (along with several hundred - maybe it was a thousand - fans on a jumbo TV screen at Crisler Arena). I wasn't even disappointed. I just wanted to ring Webber's neck. Obviously, the guy should've stayed in college because he didn't know how to count. No time-outs means zero time-outs, Chris. Technical foul. Michigan loses the NCAA championship game, 77-71. (And yes, Carolina fans - I know Webber committed a traveling violation just before trying to call time-out. It all worked out. You won the game.)

3. Darren McCarty pummels Claude Lemieux - March 26, 1997: I don't generally care for fighting in hockey. But occasionally, it serves a sadistically delicious purpose. To me, that was never truer than when Detroit's McCarty sought out Colorado's Lemieux, who seriously injured Kris Draper by shoving his face into the boards during their 1996 playoff series. The next time these teams played, before the puck even dropped to start the game, McCarty attacked Lemieux, and began beating him like a chef pounding a veal cutlet. Lemieux turtled into a protective shell for self-preservation, and was essentially never heard from again. If raw meat had been in front of me while watching this, I would've eaten it, wiped the blood from my chin, rewound the tape and watched the whole thing all over again.

2. Joe Carter's World Series-winning home run - October 23, 1993: Through most of my teens, it was a family tradition to visit Toronto every summer. And I always went to a Blue Jays game. Thus, I became a Blue Jays fan, much to the puzzlement of my friends. In Game 6 of the 1993 World Series, Toronto trailed 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth. My roommate's girlfriend came over and said she wanted to watch Saturday Night Live. That 'ho still has two scars on her forehead from the holes my eyes burned into her when she made the suggestion. Two minutes later, Carter hit a three-run homer off Mitch Williams, and that might be the highest my feet have ever gotten off the ground.

1. Kordell Stewart to Michael Westbrook - Sept 24, 1994: The reason I will never, ever leave a game early. I will put it in my will that generations of Casselberrys must tell their children that I was at this game. Michigan led by 12 points with two minutes left, and many fans left Michigan Stadium, thinking a win was secured. The place had to be half-full at that point. I still wonder how many car crashes there were along the streets and highways surrounding Ann Arbor when Stewart threw a ball 73 yards, which was tipped in the air, and then landed in the hands of Westbrook. Final score: Colorado 27, Michigan 26. I'm convinced the whole thing really happened in slow motion, no matter how many times I see it at normal speed on TV.