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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I have succumbed to memery. I apologize to all those who thought better of me. Your faith was totally unjustified. This one that's floating around is the ten "Most Unforgettable" moments you've seen live, either in person or via the wondrousness of TV. Batten the hatches. Discovered this via The Bemusement Park's iteration of same.

10. That LSU Hail Mary Against Kentucky

Probably the most surreal end to a football game I've ever seen. After Kentucky scored late to take the lead, some fans actually started storming the field before the game ended and had to be cleared off, but just barely. You could see a teeming mass of humanity at the edges of the field, just waiting to be released. And then you could see them crestfallen after a ridiculous bomb found an LSU receiver, who scampered into the endzone. And thus ended the Wildcats' brief flirtation with college football relevance.

9. Mariano's blooper.

I don't really follow much baseball, but I do like watching the Yankees lose. I made a point of watching Game 7 of the 2001 World Series, which ended when Luis Gonzalez stared down the greatest closer in the game at his very peak and hit a mighty, towering, shattered-bat bloop single to win the game only moments after Tim McCarver had said "left handed batters hit a lot of bloop singles off of Rivera's cut fastball."

8. You Don't Have A Goddamn Timeout.


7. Both posts.

The second Michigan hockey game I ever watched was the overtime national championship game in 1998 against Boston College that ended when freshman Josh Langfeld slipped a puck under the BC goalie's pads. That was memorable, but the game would never have gotten that far if not for a shot geometrically proven to be the closest a shot can be to a goal without actually being one. The shot skidded along the ice past goalie Marty Turco and hit the right goalpost, then slid straight across the goal-line, hit the other post, and bounced out.

Twenty seconds later, I remembered to breathe.

6. "Hello, Heisman."

Keith Jackson + Triumphant Michigan Football Moment = Brian Happy.

5. Carnival of Braylon.

The greatest comeback in Michigan history.

4. Intended for Row Four.

1997. Michigan vs. Michigan State in East Lansing. Spartan QB Bill Burke rolls out to his left, can't find anyone open, and throws the ball away in what appears to be routine fashion. Except for one Charles Woodson, who leaps into the air and makes a magnificent one handed grab at the absolute apex of his jump. Unfortunately, he landed several feet out of--what? That was in-bounds? OMG CHARLES WOODSON!!!!

O. M. G. Charles. Woodson.

3. 0:01.

When Jeff Smoker idiotically scrambled to the one yard line with the clock ticking down on the Michigan-Michigan State game in 2001, the game was over. The Spartans scrambled to the line and downed the ball as fast as they could, but only a crooked, partisan Spartan clock operator kept the clock from reading 0:00 at the end of the play. Michigan State, aided by the referees ignoring a flagrant case of holding, scored on the phantom down to win 26-24. Bobby Williams cried. I vowed to Keyser Soze him and his entire family. Part 1 of my plan is going swimmingly.

Definitely the angriest I've ever been about a game.

2. Ortmeyer-Nystrom-Ortmeyer.

The four games Michigan played at Yost Ice Arena in the regional playoffs of the NCAA tournament in 2001 and 2002 are, as a unit, the finest live sporting events I have ever attended in my life, and it will take some doing to top them. The trademark moment, the loudest one I've ever experienced, came with under two minutes remaining in Michigan's 4-3 victory over Denver, the #1 team in the country.

The second intermission had heavily featured me staring at the 15:00 countdown on the Yost scoreboard, trying not to think. A few minutes into the third Eric Werner tied the game up by plunging into the slot like the swashbuckling buccanneer he was, and the roof nearly lifted off the building. The game went back and forth, each shot ratcheting the tension level up a notch until Denver turned the puck over in the neutral zone. Jed Ortmeyer came away with the puck and started a two on two rush into the zone. He found freshman Eric Nystrom.

Eric passed it back. Ortmeyer slid the puck two inches past the outstretched glove of Wade Dubielewicz, and I lost my mind. You can see it here, courtesy Michigan Hockey Net. The video does not do the crowd justice.

1. Go, John.

I spent a sizeable chunk of my youth in Colorado--a pre-Avs, pre-Rockies Colorado that was completely, utterly, and entirely obsessed with the Denver Broncos and their Super Bowl-losin' ways. My mother and I were both amongst the great teeming mass of Broncos fanatics. In fact, my entire school was under the orange-and-blue spell: we named our fake town "Ameagleton" instead of just "Eagleton" in tribute to the Bronco wide receiving corps, who had been nicknamed "the Three Amigos" for some reason that no one ever figured out. My mom would sit in front of the TV when the Broncos played and cry out to John Elway as if they were old friends. "Go, John!" when he made an excellent play. "Oh, John..." when he made an error. "Come on, John!" during the tense, tight moments that Bronco games often featured due to the stubborn refusal of Dan Reeves to take advantage of Elway's magnificence.

Super Bowls came and were lost. Mediocrity came and was lamented. Then Mike Shanahan and Terrell Davis showed up and there was a Super Bowl again against Brett Favre and the Packers. I went home to watch the game with my mom.
Late in the third quarter, the score tied at 14, the Broncos faced third-and-six at the Packer 12. Elway dropped back to pass and found no one open. He scrambled, directing his creaky, 37-year-old body to the first down marker. He wasn't going to make it. He wasn't going to make it. Two Packers bore down on him. Elway leapt into the air just as the first made impact. The second Packer hit a split-second later. Elway spun 360 degrees and hit the turf with a thud.

He made it.

I looked over at my mom. She said nothing; she just gripped a pillow, knuckles white, too petrified to speak.

Missed The Cut

Mike Camalleri's diving, twisting, impossible goal against Michigan State scored from his knees; A lot of equally ridiculous stuff Mike Comrie pulled; Charles Woodson's Heisman-clinching punt return; The Music City Miracle; The Longest Yard; The Drive; Tom Brady driving for the win against the Rams with John Madden saying it's a terrible idea and mgoblog screaming "Did you watch the Orange Bowl? Did you watch the Penn State game?"; the time during that same Superbowl where Pat Summerall said "this game has turned into Shockdome 36," sending Raffi and myself into hysterics for a good five minutes; Mercury Hayes catching the game winner against UVA in the early 90s; 313 for Timmy Biakabutuka against OSU; Paul Martin blocking Jason Ryznar's open net shot in the 2003 Frozen Four; Milan Gajic finding the stick of Curtis MacElhinney instead of the back of the net in the 2005 NCAA hockey tournament; Chauncey Billups banking home a half-court three-pointer to take a 2004 playoff game against the Nets into overtime; Goddamn Robert Horry; Tim Duncan making an impossible shot followed by Derek Fisher making an even more impossibler shot in the 2004 playoffs; Desmond Howard laying out on fourth down against Notre Dame; Desmond Howard getting tripped against Michigan State; Desmond Howard and Rocket Ismail on College Gameday providing the most painful three minutes of television ever; Lance Armstrong miraculously avoiding Joseba Beloki and going cross-country for fifty feet after Beloki splattered himself across the pavement on a descent; Kordell Stewart blah blah blah; Clint Stoener's fumble vs. Tennessee; any number of Wide Rights; Nebraska's kicked ball against Missouri in '97; Marquise Walker's catch against Iowa; Jason Avant's catch against Northwestern; Steve Breaston's punt return against Illinois.

Things I Missed

Tayshaun Prince's block on Reggie Miller in last year's playoffs (was attending indie rock concert; am idiot), Miracle on Ice (was one), Anthony Thomas' fumble against Northwestern (had to leave home before game's end to go to UM-MSU hockey game(no, wouldn't have left for any other opponent)).