How will you remember the year in sports? Which story will stick?
Blood, sweat and tears: Well, maybe not the blood, but after losing The Masters and his father, coach and mentor, Earl Woods, to cancer, Tiger Woods captured The British Open title and our hearts all over again with his emotional breakdown.
Was it the classic game of the year? The Rose Bowl National Championship between Texas and USC? Ohio State vs. Michigan? Or the night the Los Angeles Dodgers hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back homeruns in the ninth just to tie the San Diego Padres?
Which left you scratching your head more? Trying to figure out if Floyd Landis’ beer caused him to test positive or if Mike Vanderjagt missed that field goal just to put the screws to Peyton Manning?
What sound will echo louder in your head? Dennis Green freaking out after a Monday night collapse in the desert, Michael Strahan trying to show up a female reporter or Terrell Owens’ publicist telling the world he has $25 million reasons not to kill himself?
Which underdog captured your heart? Wake Forest finding themselves in the BCS? The Detroit Tigers being the boys of summer? Or was it George Mason making the greatest run in college basketball history?
Who got taken too young? Army women’s basketball coach Maggie Dixon or Miami defensive end Bryan Pata? (Answer: Both.)
Locally, who had you talking the next morning in the office? Was it Dave Leitao turning an apathetic basketball environment around? A dreadful Cavaliers football season? Michael Buffer opening the John Paul Jones Arena? Dom Starsia’s perfect lacrosse season and national championship or Sean Doolittle stopping soon-to-be Major Leaguer Andrew Miller on a spring night at Davenport Field?
Which new kid on the block turned your head? Minnesota Twin Francisco Liriano, Detroit Tiger Justin Verlander, or Chicago Bear Devin Hester?
When did your American blood get most boiled? Watching our baseball team get embarrassed in the World Baseball Classic? Watching our basketball team get embarrassed in the Olympic qualifiers? Or watching our golfers get embarrassed in the Ryder Cup?
Which moment made you cringe more? Zinedine Zidane’s head butt, the Duke lacrosse scandal or the Washington Redskins doing anything?
Who got stronger as their year went on? Vince Young, Tony Romo or Alfonso Soriano?
Who brought the larger tear to your eye? Jerome Bettis going out, having finally gotten his ring? The New Orleans Saints’ welcome-home party in September? Tiger Woods missing his dad on the final hole of the British Open?
Hard to believe, but we learn it again every year: These headlines that leave us momentarily shocked, stunned or dismayed, only become afterthoughts in the passing weeks.
Hope your new year is more than an afterthought. Have a happy one.
Wes McElroy hosts “The Final Round” on ESPN 840AM from 3-5pm Monday-Friday.