Guest blogger, Jim Harris.
As I grow older, I realize most of my fondest memories are either sports related, or have sports involved somehow or another. The emotions, either negative or positive, leave a lasting impression on us.
I was a wee child in 1976, (shut up, I'm young at heart) living in Sarasota, FL, it was popular to embrace the new expansion team the NFL awarded Tampa Bay. I loved the Bucs, but my heart belonged to the Steelers. Mainly because of 2 people, Lynn Swan and John Stallworth. Swan had so many great catches; it is hard to narrow them down in my memory. But John Stallworth had one that has stuck with me all my life. It was during Super Bowl XIV vs. the LA Rams. Bradshaw threw a rope down the right sidelines, through the out stretched hands of Rod Perry to hit Stallworth, running full speed stretching in a strange yoga like position. My Jaw hit the floor. It was the last of 4 Super Bowl Championships won by that fantastic ‘70’s Steelers dynasty. I still consider those Steelers teams the best of all time.
The same year as the Stallworth catch, there was a little thing called the Winter Olympics going on in Lake Placid. I remember sitting around the house watching the American Hockey team play against the Russian National team. I recall the commentary before the game basically not giving the US any chance to win. Hell, the game was not even broadcast live… Well, we all know how that ended. I ran outside screaming to my mother, "WE JUST BEAT THEM, WE JUST BEAT THEM. “ She responded, "Who the hell are you talking about.” This is still one of mine fondest sports memories.
The next of my sports memories came with Christmas. I got Orlando Magic vs. Chicago Bulls tickets and one Michael Jordan shirts. After some thought, I invited my friend Bryan to go with me. Now, Bryan was a Magic Johnson fan, and I was a Michael Jordan fan. Even walking to the arena we argued who was better. To me it was obvious because that night was the first time I was going to see Michael Jordan play live. Trying to describe the feeling of seeing an idol running onto the court is impossible. Jordan didn’t have a great game. He only scored 25 points or something, and the Bulls won easily. But he was there. I was in awe. Sometime later I went to see him play for a second time. He scored 54 points and the Magic won the game in triple overtime on a last second lay up by Otis Smith (now GM.) I saw Jordan play a total of 3 times, he will always be the best.
The Gators got humiliated in their first National Championship against the Nebraska Cornhuskers 62-21. I think I cried… In 1996, although they had a great year, the Gators lost a heartbreaking game to the Seminoles 24-21 to end the season. Basically knocking us out of the the National title scene. We needed Texas to beat Nebraska, and we had to beat Alabama in the SEC title game to have a shot. I went to the SEC title game in Atlanta that year. We were at the fan spectacular leading up to the game when a roar began to build. We ran to the scene and learned Texas had beaten Nebraska!! OMG! A short time later, we beat Alabama for the SEC title moving us up in the polls and shot at gaining entry into the National Title game against a then unknown opponent. The following Monday we got the invite to go to the game against the Florida State Seminoles, the very team that beat us 24-21 to end the season. The Sugar Bowl was the game. Steve Spurrier installed a new little gimmick in the offense to offset FSU’s propensity to late hit the QB. Lining Danny Wuerffel in shotgun and basically going with no backs. We shredded them to not only take vengeance, but to claim our first National Championship… I cried.
These memories will stick with me forever.
*Any views or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the LadyBallers Organization/Social Network.