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Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

I am a self proclaimed coffee addict and Executive Director of a non profit missions agency working primarily in the Mexican cities of Oaxaca, Guadalajara, and Ensenada. I've been married for over 30 years to Chelle, and we have one grown son, Joseph, a graduate of Auburn University in Alabama.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Little Respite

I love sports. Perhaps one of the reasons is because it provides me with a needed respite from the realities of day to day life. I find in sports many of the qualities that I believe are essential to succeed, excel, and really enjoy life. Things like drive, determination, passion, and hard work.

The other day my son Joseph posted on his blog Shadow Sports, his Top Ten Sporting Events. Check it out. That got me to thinking about my list. So I decided to do mine with a twist.

So here it is…10 of my favorite sporting events, in no particular order, that I have seen live on television or in person.

Fernandomania. This was in 1981 when Fernando Valenzuela broke in with the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was phenomenal. He pitched great, the park was full, and he was young and full of charisma. Almost single-handedly he rescued baseball from the strike doldrums.

UNLV vs. Georgetown. A great basketball game in the early 80’s. The Thomas and Mack Arena was packed and the house was rockin’. You cannot imagine what it was like in those days. Not even the MJ led Bulls had a house like this! The Rebels lost but had the Mighty Hoyas, led by Patrick Ewing, down late in the game. I think G’town won by only 2 or 3 points. UNLV moved up in the college basketball rankings with that loss. Virtually unheard of before, or since.

Jerry Reuss No-Hitter. Nothing short of brilliant. Reuss allowed one base runner, after an error by Shortstop Bill Russell. Simply one of the most dominant pitching performances I have ever seen, and I have seen Hall of Famers Gibson, Seaver, Carlton and Marichal. The fact that it was against the hated Giants was just icing on the cake.

Monday Night Football. Live with Howard Cosell. Face it, there was nothing better. It was what came to be known as appointment viewing. You had to watch. Maybe the best part was halftime and the highlight reel. It was SportsCenter before ESPN! Magical.

NASL. Yeah that's right…soccer, in 1976, here in the US. But not just any soccer, the New York Cosmos vs. the Los Angeles Aztecs, played in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. What made the game great? The Pele led Cosmos beat the George Best led Aztecs 2-1. To see two of the greatest soccer players in history (both pictured here) was an unbelievable experience. The greatest player ever, Pele, scored the winning goal.

USC vs. Notre Dame, the 1974 Edition. SC trailed 24 – 0 late in the second half when Anthony Davis went in to make the score 24 – 6. It did not look good for the Trojan faithful, until lightning struck. In the third quarter SC scored 35 unanswered points to demolish the Irish 55 – 24.

2002 World Series. The Angels won, beating the Barry Bonds led Giants 4 games to 3. As a lifelong Angel fan, to finally see “my” team win a World Series was unbelievable.

US vs. Brazil. Yep, soccer again! I was in Guadalajara, Mexico where the game was being played and was given a ticket to the game. One problem, I had to preach that night at a small church just outside of the city center, so I couldn’t go. After church I was invited to a member’s home where they had a small black and white television from the 60’s. We put the game on and saw the entire second half. The US lost 2 – 1, but it was a great game and watching with the family made it all the better.

Game 6, NBA Finals, 1980. If you know your sports history, there is nothing else I need to say. If not, here is your clue… Magic jumped center. That’s right. Magic Johnson, in my opinion the Most Valuable Player in NBA History, a guard, jumped center against the Dr. J. led Philadelphia 76er’s. Magic’s line that night… 42 points, 15 boards, 7 assists, and 3 steals. Not bad for a rookie! Dr. J called Magic unreal after that game. And I saw every minute of it from the floor of a local hardware store in Las Vegas, while on break from my job, with one of my best friends, on a TV set they were selling, with half of the store crowded around.

But my favorite sporting event I ever saw was a small college hockey tournament in a small gym outside of Chicago a few years back. What made it so special? I spent the whole day in that freezing place, watching some great hockey, with my son Joseph. The world did not exist that day. It was one of the best days of my life. (Just so you know, I think hockey is the best sport in the world when you see it live. The speed, grace, and power all mixed together in that cold arena can’t be beat.)

So there you have it. If you feel like it, add yours to the list.

Sorry if you have tried to comment on the last two posts. For some reason "New Blogger" is not allowing that on my blog. I hope to get it fixed real soon. Dave

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