In honor of me turning 30, I’m compiling 30 different top-30 lists on a wide variety of topics ranging from trivial interests of mine to meaningful life moments. Read the introductory post for more background information on my 30 at 30 project. Reminder: there is no scientific rationale for these lists. They were composed by a panel of one—me.
As a sports fan, I have endured more than my fair share of heartbreak. When the Oakland Athletics faltered in the 2014 AL Wild Card game, it gave me the perfect hook for my 30 at 30 list of the most devastating losses of my life as a sports fan. Since publishing that list I already had to amend it once to account for Michigan’s baffling punt-fumble loss to Michigan State last fall.
Meanwhile I was waiting—hoping—that one of my teams would win a signature game meaningful enough to compel me to write this list, a much happier list, which counts down the 30 most memorable wins of my life as a sports fan. Unfortunately I’ve spent the past few seasons in the doldrums as a sports fan:
- The Athletics, who haven’t won a postseason series since 2006 went 68-94 last year and currently sit in the basement of the AL West.
- Michigan basketball lost in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament after missing out on the 2015 tournament entirely.
- The Los Angeles Lakers posted their worst record in franchise history and missed the playoffs for the third straight season after missing the playoffs only twice previously during my lifetime.
- Michigan football posted a better-than-expected 10-3 record in their first year under new head coach Jim Harbaugh and expectations are high for the upcoming season but they still lost rivalry games to Michigan State and Ohio State.
- Similarly the Oakland Raiders showed glimpses of hope last year and many experts are talking playoffs for them this season, but they still haven’t posted a winning season since 2002.
The point is I don’t want to wait any longer to write about the sunny side of my life as a sports fan. Maybe one of my teams will crack this list in the near future, but I’ll amend the list if and when that happens. For now, I’m looking fondly into the rearview mirror to highlight the most memorable wins of my life as a sports fan.
For what it’s worth, my sports memory begins in June of 1988 with the Pistons-Lakers NBA Finals (I was not quite 4 years old at the time), so I have ruled out including any games prior to that regardless of how many times I have watched Bo Jackson running over The Boz or Magic and Kareem beating the Celtics in the NBA Finals.
So what makes a win memorable? As this list will show, there are a number of criteria, but certainly some consistent themes. The most important factor here is that one of my teams was victorious. While there have been hundreds if not thousands of other memorable games involving other teams where I was uninvested in the specific outcome, this list focuses on games that had meaning to me because one of my teams was competing. Playoff games and championships certainly carry extra weight, but other factors such as the rivalry with the opponent and the closeness of the final score also impact how memorable the win was for me.
Thanks to the magic of YouTube, many of the highlights from these games—and in some cases, the full game—can be viewed online to relive these magical moments again and again. Continue reading 30 at 30 Lists #23: The Most Memorable Wins of My Life as a Sports Fan