If we could put sports in a bot­tle...

Our staff takes a look back at the mem­o­ries that thrilled gen­er­a­tions

Austin American-Statesman - - SCOREBOARD - Things we’d put into our civ­i­liza­tion’s sports time cap­sule: Bohls: Cantu: Davis: Golden: Lyt­tle: Ma­her: Ti­je­rina: Vasquez: Wange­mann: Cantu: Ma­her: Some of our col­lec­tive sports heroes: Some of our col­lec­tive fa­vorite sports movies: The best games we’ve


do we love about sports? It’s not just the cham­pi­onships that are won, or the teams that win them, or the ath­letes that drive them. It’s the mem­o­ries, big and small, that re­mind us — per­haps even to­day, at the end of all things, if you be­lieve the Mayans — why sports are so im­por­tant.

It can be as sim­ple as a me­mory — go­ing to your first pro base­ball game, tak­ing your mom to a Texas-Texas A&M game, see­ing your par­ents in the stands as they root for you and your team.

We polled our Sports staff. You can read each of their full sur­veys on­line at states­man.com, but here are se­lected an­swers from Deputy Sports Ed­i­tor Richard Ti­je­rina, As­sis­tant Sports Ed­i­tor James Wange­mann, colum­nists Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden, sports writ­ers Rick Cantu, Danny Davis, Kevin Lyt­tle, John Ma­her, Randy Riggs and Mark Ros­ner, and agate clerk/ Score­board ed­i­tor Cat Vasquez.

The BCS crys­tal tro­phy, Barry Bonds’sy­ringe, and Bill Belichick’s hoodie.

Kirk Gib­son’s home run ball,John Wooden’s book on the pyra­mid of success, and the puck used by the 1980 Mir­a­cle on Ice hockey team that beat the Rus­sians.

The Sports Il­lus­trated that was pub­lished af­ter Tiger Woods won his first Masters, base­ball cards and a Michael Jor­dan jersey — No. 23, not No. 45.

A DVD of the late Jim Val­vano’s ESPYs speech in 1993, a high­lights package of Jim Brown, Earl Camp­bell and Barry San­ders, and videos of ev­ery game played by the 1992 USA men’s Olympic bas­ket­ball team.

A ca­ble re­mote

Hank Aaron

Muham­mad Ali con­trol, the time-and-score TV box that Fox started, an an­abolic steroid nee­dle.

One ofJackie Robin­son’s bats, an NFL Film, nar­rated by John Fa­cenda, and a vial of EPO, with the warn­ing“Do Not Use.”

Cas­sius Clay’s gold medal, Ted Wil­liams’bat, Tom Landry’s hat.

A Barry San­ders high­light reel, a pair of Air Jor­dans, and some HGH.

A Su­per Bowl broad­cast, com­plete with half­time show. (But we’ll skip the eight hours of pre-game cov­er­age); a record­ing of“Gonna Fly Now,” the theme from Rocky. (Let’s run steps or chase down chick­ens. Right now.); Two base­ball gloves and a ball. (“Hey, Dad? You wanna have a catch?”) “Bull Durham” “Hoosiers” “The Nat­u­ral” “Re­mem­ber the Ti­tans” “Brian’s Song” “Rocky” “Field of Dreams” “Ma­jor League”

I have cov­ered two Su­per Bowls, cham­pi­onship fights in Las Ve­gas, the NBA Fi­nals, and the World Se­ries, but noth­ing com­pares to the night Vince Young ran into the end zone to bring a na­tional ti­tle home to Texas.

Noth­ing else comes close.

The set­ting — the Rose Bowl — can’t be topped and the game could have turned on a num­ber of plays. The only tar­nish is that, at the time, play­ers such as Vince Young, Reg­gie Bush, Matt Leinart and Len­Dale

Julius Erv­ing



civil. White looked like fu­ture All­Pros.

It was the height of the Cold War, and four Un­cle Sam-lov­ing Amer­i­can boys were glued to the TV set with Mom and Dad, in our liv­ing room in Men­tor, Ohio. This was way big­ger than sports. So much ten­sion, so much drama, the ul­ti­mate un­der­dog story. And, fi­nally, Mike Eruzione broke the 33 tie with the game-win­ner. “Do you be­lieve in mir­a­cles? ... YESSS!”

It was a bit­ter­sweet game to watch, but what made it spe­cial was watch­ing with my niece and nephew, who had just started get­ting into the se­ries. It’s sad, but at least they wit­nessed one truly in­tense ri­valry game be­fore it ended.

The two that stick out in my me­mory both were Texas-Texas A&M games — the Longhorns’2827 win at Me­mo­rial Sta­dium in 1990, when I was mere feet away from Mark Berry’s goalline stop of Dar­ren Lewis for what would’ve been a win­ning 2-point con­ver­sion pitch. And, of course, Texas’ 27-25 win at Kyle Field in 2011, when Justin Tucker’s last­sec­ond kick ended what was, for me, the great­est ri­valry I’ve ever known.

“Do you be­lieve in mir­a­cles? Yes!”

That’s pretty much what sports are all about. I didn’t get to wit­ness it live, but it’s the one that speaks to me the most.

Go to Wim­ble­don; watch a World Se­ries game in Yan­kee Sta­dium; go to the Ken­tucky Derby.

I’ve never been to the Olympics; I never went to old Bos­ton Garden; I hoped to see Wim­ble­don.

At­tend The Masters; cover the World Se­ries; watch a home game for all 30 MLB teams (I’m only up to seven.)

Ev­ery writer should go to the Sum­mer Olympics, but I didn’t get the chance; I wish I could have cov­ered the U.S. Open (ten­nis); and it would have been cool to take a week to visit the halls of fame for pro foot­ball, bas­ket­ball, and base­ball.

Watch a cham­pi­onship-clinch­ing vic­tory by any of my mad­sack Cleve­land pro sports teams; go to the Win­ter Olympics; and go to an Ohio State vs. Michi­gan foot­ball game. Sim­ply, The Game.

Go to Wim­ble­don; see a World Cup soc­cer fi­nal; go to the French Open.

Watch a U.S. Open night-time quar­ter­fi­nals match (It has to be a night match. Those are the best there.); go camp­ing, catch a fish, clean it and cook it; go to my grand­son’s Lit­tle League game. (I don’t have a grand­son, but that’s a dif­fer­ent bucket list.)

Go to a Su­per Bowl; watch a World Cup fi­nal, or a Euro­pean Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal, in per­son; and go to the Ken­tucky Derby.

Learn how to be

Don’t make the out­come of a game or event so im­por­tant that it af­fects your fam­ily. And never con­sider ath­letes role models un­less you have a per­sonal friend­ship with that per­son.

Re­mem­ber that you’re a fan, not part of the show. Don’t be the drunken id­iot who has to spend the night in the tank be­cause he thought it would be cool to run across the out­field at Yan­kee Sta­dium. Don’t be the racist who posts big­oted mes­sages on Face­book or Twit­ter be­cause a black man’s goal elim­i­nated your team from the NHL play­offs. Re­mem­ber to show the same class you ex­pect to see from the play­ers you love to watch.

Don’t root for the Cleve­land Browns. It’s not worth it.

Don’t get at­tached to any of the play­ers. They’ll break your heart al­most ev­ery time, make the self­ish move and leave your team high and dry. Oh, and kids: Never, ever pur­chase one of their jer­seys. You’ll need a re­place­ment af­ter a few years.

Don’t take it all so damn se­ri­ously. Chill. Keep sports fun, whether you’re play­ing or watch­ing, and re­mem­ber why you love it in the first place.

Try to look at things ob­jec­tively. There’s noth­ing worse than a homer who re­fuses to be­lieve their own team is bad.

And don’t ex­cuse your fa­vorite team’s short­com­ings; point them out to your owner/ath­letic di­rec­tor so things can get bet­ter.

Vince Young’s end zone scam­per capped off the 2006 BCS Na­tional Cham­pi­onship Game and sealed the game’s place on our list of the best games we’ve ever watched.

1980 as­so­ci­ated press

The U.S. Olympic hockey team’s 4-3 up­set vic­tory over the heav­ily fa­vored Soviet team in the 1980 Win­ter Olympics ap­pears on our lists as the best game we’ve ever watched and the best sports call of all time.

At­tend­ing Wim­ble­don, with or with­out Rafael Nadal, ranked on three writ­ers’ bucket lists.

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