I personally am of the belief that you should spoil the person you love most every day of the year, and not just on February 14th. So for Valentine ’s Day this year I am giving to you all moments of deep, meaningful and true love for me: sporting related incidents. These are a tiny, TINY selection of sporting moments that have truly moved me, and that represent everything that I truly love about sport.
- Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd win their first championship with the Dallas Mavericks at the end of the first year of Miami’s Big Three.
This win had the added bonus of depriving LeBron and company of a championship, but I was surprised at how emotional I got when Dirk and Kidd took to the podium. Both players have always been on my “greatest to never win a title” list and I think I was just so floored to finally be able to watch them achieve something long deserved. Now if dear old Steve Nash had just stayed in Phoenix, this year may have been his year to get off that list!
- April 28th, 2012. 1:20 left in game one of the Bulls/76ers round one playoff series.
I don’t even have words for this one. Watching it now still devastates me, and knowing what it meant to not just one team, or one city, but an entire world full of basketball fans that would now be deprived of watching one of the most deserving players get his chance to shine. My eyes are actually stinging now at the thought, and perhaps my biggest basketball related fear is that his career highlights are only ever going to be before April 28th, 2012.
- John Aloisi kicking the penalty against Uruguay that takes the Socceroos to the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
This was the kick that sent millions of Australians back onto the soccer bandwagon (I will apologise ahead of time for calling it soccer, but unless they change their names to the Footballroos, it is easier). I remember watching this with my dad and even without knowing much about Australian soccer at the time, knowing that I was watching history. Even now seeing a clip of that footage, hearing the commentator yell “ALOIIIISIIII!!” gives me chills. It is just a phenomenal moment and lead to one of my favourite World Cups ever.
- Towards the end of Invictus (fictional, yes, but based on the incredibly inspiring and true story so I believe it counts) where the team visits Robben Island and then when the whole stadium erupts after the Springboks win.
As a proud South African, even though I have no accent to speak of and have only spent a combined one year in the country of my birth, this movie just does something to me. The combination of phenomenal performances and rugby, and knowing that even now the Springboks are still the best team in the world, makes this movie full of really emotional moments for me. Fun fact: every time I watch Invictus I pick up a really odd South African hybrid way of talking for a couple of hours.
- The West Coast Eagles winning the 2006 AFL Grand Final.
2006 was a rough year for me, not just because it was my final year of high school, but because of a lot of personal stuff that was happening too. Someone else who had a rough start to 2006 was good old Benjamin Cousins. I don’t know if it’s because I grew up in a diehard Eagles household watching a baby Ben Cousins play in the blue and gold from the min-90s, but I cannot stop loving him. So watching the course his season took from losing the captaincy, to being brought onto the podium by Brownlow Medallist Chris Judd to be the first to touch the premiership trophy was something truly special to me. In a truly tough year for me, I turned quite heavily to sport as my drug of choice and I will always remember this moment with a smile and a tear in my eye.
Like I’ve said though, there are about a billion other moments (watching the 2010 World Cup opening ceremony, Nadal fighting through back pain this year at the Australian Open, watching the Perth Wildcats win their first championship in ten years, the 2009 first round playoff series between the Bulls and the Celtics) that really hit me. I have a love for sports that any man is going to find difficult to replicate!
Hope you guys have a great Valentine’s Day! Me, I shall be watching basketball and getting ready for All Star Weekend.