Letters from the Lunar Outpost

We must interpret a bad temper as a sign of inferiority.
- Alfred Adler, Austrian Psychologist (1870-1937)

I’ll keep my writing to a minimum on this one because I’m far more interested to hear your shares.

Here’s my list:

The Best:

# 3 – 1987. Magic’s Junior Sky Hook at the Garden. I was at band practice and imploring my bandmates to check it out but while they chose to continue jamming upstairs (sorry Marc, but you’ll never live it down!) so I went downstairs to watch the final quarter of Game Four of the NBA Finals unfold. To see Magic hit that shot and finally punk the Celtics in a pivotal Finals game in their own house, what a thing of beauty! Even though I was already 18 at the time, I’d been somewhat of a casual Lakers fan up until then. That was the game and that was the shot that made me a diehard for life. What a beautiful dagger to the heart that shot was.

# 2 – 1988. Kirk Gibson’s World Series home run. The Dodgers not given a chance by anyone, as much the underdogs as any World Series team had ever been, Gibson hobbling up to the plate on two bad legs, and while it was only Game One (the only at bat Gibson had in the entire series) that one swing pretty much took all the air out of the balloon of those “invincible” Oakland A’s. I still get chills just picturing Vin Scully’s call as I type this.

# 1 – 1977. The Raiders stomp the Vikings in Super Bowl XI. I was eight and it was the first NFL game I ever really got into. I wouldn’t even have tuned in if my neighbor Alex hadn’t called me up and asked me if I was watching the Super Bowl. (“Super what?”) He got me so pumped up on how the Raiders were the meanest, baddest team in all of football, he told me they were a bunch of convicts and murderers who got released from prison to play, and play they did.

They just pounded the Vikings, mercilessly! Definitely my greatest memory as a sports fan. (I can still remember for four or five years after that game, CBS’ NFL Today started all their broadcasts with a collection of highlights that included a tight shot of Willie Brown and the intensity in his face as he ran an interception back up the sideline for a touchdown. Man, that clip would get this Raider fan pumped every time I saw it!)

Willie Brown runs an interception back for a touchdown in Super Bowl XI.

The Worst:

Chucky Gruden

# 3 – 2003. “Chucky” Gruden gets over on his old boss as the Raiders get blown out in Super Bowl XXXVII. With new coach Callahan running the same offense that Gruden was running when he was the Raiders coach the year before, The Bucs were calling out the Raiders plays before the Raiders could run them. Final result: Al Davis finds out that karma’s a bitch.

# 2 – 1977. Reggie Jackson crushes three home runs on three swings against the Dodgers in the World Series. I was eight and I think it was the first time I ever cried without skinning my knee. Enough said.

# 1 – 2001. Even though it was a divisional playoff game and not the Super Bowl, this one stung much worse than 2003. The refs ripped that game from the Raiders’ jaws of victory just as surely as Woodson hit Brady and Brady fumbled the ball.

With what was probably the best of the Raiders’ teams during the Gruden / Gannon era, this game ended up as the game that started the Patriots’ dynasty of Super Bowl teams. Who knows how different things might be for both teams if the call on the field hadn’t been overturned by some obsure footnote in the rule book. (The tuck rule was abolished on March 20, 2013, by a 29-1 vote of current teams. The Patriots abstained.)

Maybe the worst part of the game was, after the team on the field and every fan was celebrating a win and a trip to the AFC Championship, having to endure watching the slow, inevitable aftermath of the call as a dispirited Raiders team gave up a game tying field goal near the end of the 4th and then a game winner in OT. Brutal.

Share your memories, you can make it short and sweet if you like, but I want to see your list of your top three best and worst memories as a sports fan.

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13 Responses to Your Three Best and Worst Memories as a Sports Fan

  • Best
    1. NC STATE win over Houston in the 1983 NCAA Basketball Championship.
    2. Tom Dempsey’s 63 yard game winning field goal over the Lions.
    3. New Orleans Saints Superbowl win in 2009.

    1. Any Notre Dame win in any sport.
    2. News Orleans Saints 1st playoff game loss to the Vikings.
    3. Leon Spinks loss to Ali in 1977 Heavyweight Championship fight in New Orleans.

    • There’s nothing quite like the long-suffering fan finally getting rewarded for all the years of loyalty. For a Saints fan who remained faithful through all the years of them being the “Ain’ts”, I can only imagine how glorious 2009 must have been.

  • 1978 Olympic Hockey Win Over Russians! They Had Pros, Our Team Amateurs! Great Win For U.S. I Will Never Forget It!


      At the height of the cold war, our amateur hockey players against the paid athletes of the Soviet Juggernaut? Definitely one of the all-time greats for sure, Mary!

  • Best
    Arizona Cardinals making it to the super bowl
    2. Arizona vs Green Bay play off game
    3. Watching OJ Simpson run wild on the Bengals in the early 70’s

    1. Played high school football played 1 game broke my arm hurt like hell out for season
    2. 2nd season first game in got 8 off side penalties and broke my arm once again ending my season put in broadcaster booth.
    3. Watching Kurt Warner retire after the New Orleans play off game

    • That was one heck of a Super Bowl, we had a party and it was pretty much split between Cardinals fans and Steelers fans and I was rooting hard for the Cardinals and we were celebrating hard when the Cardinals came back and it look like they had it. Brutal ending. Still made your #1 on the list though, so cool to see you were grateful just to have them made it there.

  • How about the Magnificent 10 from the 1980 Olympics Gymnastics Gold? Or the Fab 5 from the 2012 Olympics Gymnastics Gold? How about Michael Phelps? Most Olympic medals ever by one person? Or Michelle Kwan? Most decorated figure skater of all time? You need to expand your horizons on how you look at sports. More than baseball, basketball and football.

    • I do love the Olympics, at the height of the Cold War, 1978 & 1980 were so intense, and all the Olympics moments you mentioned were magical and beautiful to see, but my sports teams go straight to the core of my childhood, year in, year out, through thick and thin, that’s where my heart really as.

  • Best
    1. John Wangler pass to Anthony Carter with 0:00 on the clock and Carter takes it to the house as Michigan beats Lee Corso and Indiana in 1979.
    2. Denard Robinson takes Michigan 80 yards in :18, throws TD to Roundtree with :02 left to beat Notre Dame in first-ever night game at the Big House in 2011.
    3. Chad Henne throws TD on last play of game to Mario Manningham to beat Penn State.

    1. Kordell Stewert to Michael Westbrook. Need I say more?!
    2. TD Jesus at Notre Dame Stadium stops gale-force wind in face of Notre Dame kicker to permit a last second 51 yard field goal that beats Michigan. Wind resumes moments later!
    3. 55 years & counting of Detroit Lions rebuilding project.

  • LOL at Worst #3 of Detroit Lions rebuilding project. On the bright side, if you’re also a Tigers fan, they look like they have a very good shot at making it back to the World Series.

    Worst #2 I had to Google, but a great read if you haven’t heard of Harry Oliver (and aren’t a Wolverine fan.)


    (Skip to “Classic Moment” near the end of the article to cut to the chase.)

  • Worst sports memories: Dale Earnhardt Sr. fatal crash at Daytona 500 in 2001, death of Salvador Sanchez, world champion boxer in 1982, Lance Armstrong admitting he lied about steroid use 2012.

    Best: When rookie Kevin Harvick won the Cracker Barrel 500 in Atlanta in 2001, what a shocker! Shaun White winning the snow boarding gold medals in 2006 and 2010 Olympics, Scott Hamilton win mens skating Gold in 1984 in Sarajevo and his comeback after cancer. And when the NY Mets won the World Series in 1986 – I mean, seriously? That was phenomenal!!!

    So many good memories really. I love football, baseball, basketball, horse racing, Nascar and Indy. I don’t bet on anything, but love to see people overcome great odds. It’s really inspiring. Loved to watch the SF 49’ers with Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson playing against each other, and the SF Giants win the World Series, twice!

    It gives me hope we’ll come out from under this liberal oppression and stand up straight again as Americans.

    • Your post in and of itself is inspiring, and I love the fact you have such a wide panorama of sports knowledge. Very cool, Sonia!

  • Best #1 University of Kentucky FINALLY ending the 26 year in a row losing streak to those pesky Tennessee Volunteers, won 10-7, and I just happened to be there to enjoy every moment of it.

    Tied #2 My son’s first high school football win, last game of the season, went 1-9, he got his first interception, those boys got beat, stomped, kicked & never gave up, went 6-4 next season & play-offs next three.
    2. Keith Bullock giving me tickets to the Titans game, one of his signed football jerseys & giving me a big grin & thumbs u[ when he came out of the tunnell.

    #3 Dallas Cowboys winning Super Bowl VI over Miami Dolphins 24-3 in 1972, my first year as a Cowboy fan/

    #1 Dallas getting cheated by Pittsburg in SuperBowl XIII, even the ref finally admits in wikipedia he made the wrong call screwing the Cowboys out of the championship.

    #2 Watching Tennessee beat Kentucky in football for 26 years in a row.

    #3 Anytime Duke beats Kentucky in basketball, screw Christian Laetner & the refs adding more time to the clock for Duke.

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