As we hit the end of 2009, I’ve seen in various publications, articles about the top games, upsets, and moments in the decade of sports (2000-2009). Looking at a few of these lists have made me reflect on what my own top sporting moments of the decade would be. My list will be colored by my personal rooting and sports preferences— I grew up in Ohio and was a youth baseball and soccer player and am an all around sports nut currently living in the Bay Area.
1. Boise State vs Oklahoma- 2007 Fiesta Bowl—The classic David vs Goliath match-up with all kinds of drama and the most unexpected of endings—even had a wedding proposal. This game had everything—the best game I’ve seen this decade. I seriously couldn’t believe what I was seeing while watching.
2. Ken Griffey Jr. traded to the Cincinnati Reds—as a Reds fan, to get the game’s best player in Cincinnati was a dream. Unfortunately, the outcome didn’t turn out so great for Griffey and the Reds; their marriage led to an unmatched anticipation to the promised land.
3. Golden State Warriors vs Dallas Mavericks—1st Round Playoffs 2007 – # 8 seed vs # 1 seed. The local Golden State Warriors used a fun run and gun style with memorable characters such as Baron Davis and Stephen Jackson and pulled off a stunning upset in 6 games of the #1 seed Dallas Mavericks. Pure fun with a whole city behind the Warriors.
4. US Men’s National Soccer Team—World Cup 2002- In 2002, the US World Cup team advanced out of the first round of their World Cup group and then defeated Mexico in the next round before losing to superpower Germany in the quarterfinals. A fantastic result with memorable goals from Clint Mathis and Brian McBride and some favorable help offered by the Korean national team.
5. Cincinnati Bengals playoff run in 2005 and 2009—As a lifelong Bengals fan, the good times have been few. However, in this decade the Bengals won their division in 2005 before losing in the first round and are on their way to an expected playoff birth here in 2009. Two great seasons for this Bengals fan.
6. Ohio State vs Miami– National Championship game –2003- Ohio State defeated the powerful University of Miami for the national championship in 2003. As a lifelong Ohio State fan, the first championship during my time following them. This would be higher but I was in India during the game and didn’t get to watch the game live.
7. Federer vs Nadal- Wimbledon 2008 & Australian Open 2009—Federer and Nadal had some absolutely classic matchups in 2008 and 2009. Both matches ultimately went Nadal’s way, but were pure theatre—incredible drama. I wrote more about the Federer- Nadal rivalry here.
8. Michael Phelps Olympic run 2008 100m butterfly—Michael Phelps record breaking Olympic performance was especially noteworthy. The defining moment though had to be the gold medal victory in the butterfly by the slimmest of margins.
9. George Mason Final Four run 2006 —the best college basketball story in the decade. As a grad from a mid-major conference, seeing a mid-major run to the Final Four was especially exciting.
10. Yankees- Red Sox—Game 7 2003 ALCS—Aaron Boone— Probably the best baseball moment of the decade ( Yankees-Diamondbacks World Series in 2001 had some great moments as well—Scott Brosius home run comes to mind). The fact that Boone is an ex-Red doesn’t hurt it in terms of how I view that moment.
11. Ohio State vs Michigan- # 1 vs # 2—In 2006, Ohio State was ranked # 1 and Michigan was ranked # 2. While every OSU-Michigan has immense meaning, a # 1 vs # 2 matchup raised the ante. An Ohio State 42-39 victory was especially nice and propelled Ohio State into the National Championship game (which unfortunately they lost).
12. Texas vs USC- National Championship Game 2006- fantastic game that had everything—stars (Young, Leinart, Bush), back and forth drama and a fantastic ending.