My Most Memorable Sports Moments of the ’00s

In case anyone’s bored at work tomorrow and needs to kill time…

The thought occurred to me that this decade is mere months away from being consigned to the history books. So…what’s your own personal list?I’m only including favorite memories here. LEAST favorite might be a whole nother post. Try to limit it to 10, and rank them. Here’s a criteria I used: You must remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when the moment happened. I thought for sure Tiger’s chip in on 16 at Augusta in 05 would make my cut, but no dice.

Thoughts on the list. Obviously Longhorn football gave me the best sports memories. Part of me is starting to realize that I could live 100 more years and Texas could win 10 more championships and the 2005-06 Longhorn football season will STILL have been the highlight of my sports life and Vince will STILL have been the best player I’ve ever seen.

UPDATE: I changed the list.  Swore I wouldn’t do it, but glaring ommissions happen and this one was just too glaring.

10)  2002 – Texans beat Cowboys 19-10

The Texans are the Aggies. Our inferiority complex towards the Cowboys is extremely strong. Our hatred of them is just as strong as their apathy towards us. What’s more, Houston is full of Cowboys fans. All you have to do is listen to sports radio here for an hour to hear an obnoxious Cowboy fan calling in to say “The Texans suck!!” As if that wasn’t bad enough, our first pro football team, the team we suffered with, abandoned us forTennessee. After the Oilers left, everyone KNEW that Houston would never get another team. There was NO WAY. And yet, LA’s bid for the 32nd team fell through, Bob McNair rode in with a Mack truck full of money. We had a football team again. The impossible had happened. During those halcyon days, it didn’t matter that none of us had gotten used to the odd team name. No one cared about wins or losses. It was enough to have the NFL. We drafted David Carr, who at the time sounded a lot like Colt McCoy will sound in the 2010 Draft. Mobile, strong-arm, smart, mature, All-American. He was going to grow up with the franchise and lead us to the Super Bowl. He was going to be our Roger Staubach.

Houston has never been more amped for a NFL game than they were for this one. Then the impossible happened AGAIN. The Cowboys came out thinking all they had to do was show up, David Carr led the Texans right down the field and threw a strike to Billy Miller, the tight end. Of course, nothing turned out like we wanted it to. But for that night…

You might ask why I’ve written so much about this. It’s because nothing the Texans have done since has even come close.

9)  2008 – The Tyree Catch

Man that Super Bowl party at Colin’s was INCREDIBLE. I commandeered his grill and absolutely killed it. I made Asian buffalo chicken strips on the grill with a ginger and sriracha marinade. Colin’s hot Asian friend Teri referred to me as “The Chef” for about a year afterwards. Starting to think that kitchen skills was a great way to impress the ladies. Ate the last wing right before Tyree made the catch, the greatest professional football play ever and probably the greatest game ever.

8.  2007 – Biggio’s Last Game

To me, this was more memorable than Biggio’s 3,000 Hit Game (After hit No. 3,000 I had to go to the airport to pick up my parents and laid on the horn when Bigg got hit No. 4 of the evening). Unlike that game, I was actually at this one.

Bagwell was always my favorite Astros growing up. What Houston Little Leaguer didn’t try to emulate that epic stance? But Craig eventually won us all over with sheer durability and tenacity. Biggio was lucky in that the closer he got towards the end of his career, the more appreciated he was. The only thing that kept Astros fans coming the Juice Box during the dregs of that putrid season was a chance to see Biggio. We knew this was last season.

He doubled his first at-bat. It would be his only hit all game, but what a way to finish. Every at-bat we all were chanting “Bigg-I-O.” We knew it would be the last time we could do that chant for him as a player. At the end of the game he took a lap around the field. U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name” played over the loudspeakers. U2 was always Biggio’s up-to-bat music. I’ll never listen to that song the same way again. Sports childhood officially over.

7)  2005 – Pump Fake Heard Round the World aka “Say Goodbye to Vince Young”

I decided to limit myself to one regular season play from 2005. It killed me to exclude VY-Pittman in the Cotton Bowl but it had to be this. This was the night of my sister Courtney’s engagement party. It was at her best friend’s parents house. They had this game on in a little TV in the kitchen. Dad and I weren’t too concerned about the game because Texas was on a roll and OSU sucked that year. But we kept venturing into the kitchen and Texas kept sucking. OSU was clicking. You just felt this was where the magical run to a national championship would come to an end. What’s worse, Courtney is an Aggie and all her Aggie friends were laying on the schadenfreunde big time. Mom was furious at Dad and I because our glowering was putting a damper on the party. She called out bluff and said, “If you’re going to act like this then just go home.” So we did. Just the two of us. Left the party. We got home, turned on the TV. Minutes later this happened. We still were in a big hole. But you knew the game was over.

6)  2005 – Chris Burke

People forget all the great moments from this game. Brad Ausmus’ dying quail homerun. Lance’s grand slam to send it into extras. Roger Clemens coming in in relief in the 17th inning. I was watching this game in Laufy and Andrew’s room. I think I had a class or something but I didn’t get there til the fifth inning. I remember being pissed because I thought I had missed half the game. Little did I know. I’ll always remember Clemens coming up to bat in the 18th, right before Burke and swinging HARD. Roger Clemens never swung hard. But he was really trying to hit a walk-off to end it. I remember thinking that Clemens never hit a HR in his major league career (and never did) and that it would’ve been awesome if that had been it. Then…CRACK. Right to the EXACT FAN that had caught Berkman’s grand slam about 10 innings earlier! Walked downstairs and headed to JCL. As mentally exhausted as I’ve ever been after a game.

5)  2004 –  T-Mac scores 13 points in 35 secs

We began the night at Double Dave’s back when it was still in that cursed location by the Castillian. B-Hare and Roberto said that we should make a Texas Trophy that would rotate around the Texas Triangle. B-Hare then made a prototype out of an ashtray and a salt-and-pepper shaker. We walked back to the Mo, me taking shit the whole time because the Spurs were killing the Rockets. We got back in time for the last 30 seconds. Figured we’d watch as a mere formality.

You know how it seems like everyone hates George W Bush? Well deep in my heart I’ll always hold a deep respect for him the way he handled the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Even with all the stuff that happened afterwards. You know how every Rockets fan hates T-Mac now? Well…

4)  2005 – Juke Heard Round the World II (1:08)

Dan Fouts found a way to pronounce “No” with a “gh.” Knew he could do it. I remember the exact thought that went through my head:

“He is not made out of matter. We are going to win the national championship next season.”

3)  2004 – Jeff Kent Walk-Off Game 5

This is my favorite Astros memory of the Aughts. We were all watching in the Dojo. Random dudes showed up to watch. That dorm room was packed. Perfect playoff baseball atmosphere. Even moreso than the 2005 team that went to the World Series, the 2004 team really and truly felt the most like a team of destiny. Brad Lidge came out of nowhere after we traded Octavio Dotel to become the single most dominating closer I have ever seen EVER. Roger Clemens’ Cy Young season. The otherworldly level of play that Beltran reached that postseason, a level no one has reached since. The crazy run to the wild card that we clinched on the last day when former Astro Steve Finley hit a grand slam for the Dodgers against the Cubs. Styx. Sharped Dress Man.

Isringhausen walks Berkman to  get to Kent. Listen to how perfectly this moment is set up. First, the broadcast team explains all the reasons why they HAD to walk Berkman. Then one guy casually mentions that this will piss Kent off. Then the infielders come in to talk to Isringhausen, delaying the moment even further. First pitch. We headed to St. Louis with a 3-2 lead. I knew we were going to the World Series.

2)  2008 – Tiger Woods eagles 13 at Torrey Pines in Third Round Us Open

My dad and I found a great spot to watch just behind the 13th green, a dramatic, uphill bear of a par 5. We had seen Tiger eagle this yesterday in the second round. Tiger was spraying the driver all week. You couldn’t see the tee box from the green, as it was hidden behind some trees. But we saw the tremendous sea of people lining the right hand side of the fairway all the sudden take off running to the right. Tiger had sliced it into the tall stuff, almost into the porta-potties. “No way he hits the green now” I said. “I dunno” my Dad said. We could see Tiger. “He’s pulling an iron, he must be laying up” I said. “I don’t think he is” Dad said. After Tiger hit the ball, no one in the crowd could see it against the cloudy sky. Then you heard it. THUMP. It landed four feet right of the hole and rolled to the back of the green, but on in two. I lost control for about a second as the whole place went nuts. I was running around screaming “OH MY GOD!” Minutes later as he was standing over the putt I was just thinking that it would be too much to ask for him to make this. Then he curled in that 60-footer. I’ve never thought that my excitement at a golf tournament would reach college football level. Just listen to how long it takes that crowd to calm down! People were wigging out.

The most memorable moment in one of the greatest sports weeks of my life. You know how the 05-06 football season couldn’tve worked out anymore perfect? It was the same thing for me and my dad with the 2008 Open. We decided to go on a whim, hoping to be present for a Tiger Woods major. In the month before the tournament, Tiger had knee surgery. His camp said it was no big deal. But he didn’t play in the Memorial, the week before, and you had a feeling something was up. It was clear he wasn’t right from the get-go. But Tiger freaking Woods somehow won the greatest golf tournament ever on a broken FREAKING leg. One of the best moments in sports history and my dad and I were there.

1)  2006 – 4th and 5

I think Roberto mentioned earlier this year that he’s gotten kind of numbed to this clip. Many of you agreed with him. I haven’t. I’ll never forget lying on the carpet upstairs at my house. Just watching Sportscenter over and over again into the wee hours. Hoping it would go on forever.

Honorable Mention:

Sweed CatchChance Wheeless Walk-OffRyan the Iceman IRyan the Iceman IIJamaal Charles = HOUSEJuke Heard Round the World ISawks Win4th and 18Texas outlasts AtM in 2OTRhett Bomar Gets KNTFOVY to Pittman TDTMac Retires Shawn Bradley, Kenton Paulino!!!


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2 responses to “My Most Memorable Sports Moments of the ’00s

  1. Great list and great moments.

    Wish I had more empty space at work to offer my own list but it’ll 100% end the same way hands down. No other option.

    Elation. Bliss. People’s recollections of the game seem to ignore the fact it was winter break. The celebration couldn’t be anywhere near the Ohio State game because the students weren’t, you know, ON CAMPUS.

    And yet, it was a packed friend’s duplex with high school friends who went to smaller schools and community college and no college at all, but the end result was bliss. More than UT, it felt like the whole city of Austin won a championship.

    Pride for my hometown first and foremost. Everyone drove to campus where entire families with no tie to the university other than the geography poured into the streets. Two hours in traffic on Lavaca between Cesar Chavez and Martin Luther King. Pride.

  2. Now I have to come up with a top 10 list…..

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