50 Heartbreaking Moments in Sport...: along with the rest of the always excellent Observer Sport Monthly [note also the archive on the left of the page - well worth a trawl].
posted by JJ to general at 11:34 AM - 42 comments
Bah, Bartman over Buckner? And surely there must be a worse football ending than Scott Norwood's field goal, though admittedly I can't think of one at the moment. Anyway... these brits don't know what they are talking about ;)
posted by tieguy at 11:46 AM on January 09
I was excited to read this story until I figured out that it was from a British paper. Seriously. Two baseball stroies and one football story in the top 50? Call me jingoistic, but the Brits know sports like the French Army knows resistance.
posted by Cameron Frye at 12:42 PM on January 09
Number 8 is one of those horrible moments turned into a triumph of sorts. And I love the write-up. I hated everybody. I hated the world. I hated hamstrings. I hated it all. I felt so bitter that I was injured again. I told myself I had to finish. I kept hopping round. Then, with 100 metres to go, I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was my old man.' What an amazing moment.
posted by SummersEve at 12:44 PM on January 09
Youtube of Derek Redmond, aka, have you hugged your dad lately?
posted by SummersEve at 01:01 PM on January 09
There is a lot of world out there beyond our shores, Cameron Frye. If you can't acknowledge that American sports are just a piece of the global pie, it's probably best to keep the ignorance to yourself and not show your ass. Terrific list, JJ, and thanks for that video, SummersEve.
posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 01:32 PM on January 09
Nice find JJ - great list.
posted by Mr Bismarck at 02:15 PM on January 09
There is a lot of world out there beyond our shores, Cameron Frye. If you can't acknowledge that American sports are just a piece of the global pie, it's probably best to keep the ignorance to yourself and not show your ass. You mis-read and mis-understand my point. There is a lot of world outside of England as well. To have only two baseball stories, one American football story, no basketball stories and no hockey stories tells me that the list was compiled by a few guys who cared not at all about sports that do not regularly touch England's hallowed ground. The American football and baseball stories were obviously thrown in there to appease anyone wondering if they guys "did their homework" at all. So if you want to pretend that you are some cosmopolitan sports fan and that my statement is nothing more than American ignorance, you go right ahead. But you'd be wrong and if you actually READ my comment rather than just look at the words, you'd understand that fact.
posted by Cameron Frye at 03:09 PM on January 09
Great list. The flipside of Man Utd's Champions League victory is something British readers rarely think about.
posted by etagloh at 03:10 PM on January 09
Cosmopolitan. Yeah, that's me alright. Fair enough; ignorance was a poor word choice. You knew what you were doing and decided it was hunky-dory to follow through. The fact you chose to make an issue of something with which you disagree when you had the option to simply let it pass and go on to the next thread certainly illustrates your eagerness to chastise another member's contribution. Who the hell are you to make that judgment? The same thing happens on these boards all too often; you're not alone, believe me. I don't know. I just don't get it. I guess I listened to closely to the "If you don't have something nice to say..." advice. Except where T.O.'s concerned, of course. Sorry, JJ. Back to the list....
posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 03:45 PM on January 09
Let me see, Cameron Frye... Rugby, cricket, soccer, lacrosse, rowing, boxing, golf, tennis, horse racing, auto racing, badminton, cycling, fencing, gymnastics, sailing, wrestling, shooting... just some of a much longer list. How many of these originated in the US? Of course you guys have given the world football (big debt owed to soccer and rugby), ice hockey (hockey played on ice!) and basketball (invented by a Canadian). Which leaves baseball. Although it has an uncanny resemblance to the British folk game of stoolball. I'd suggest that your comment that "the Brits know sports like the French Army knows resistance" is at best, ridiculous.
posted by niall at 03:51 PM on January 09
The fact you chose to make an issue of something with which you disagree when you had the option to simply let it pass and go on to the next thread certainly illustrates your eagerness to chastise another member's contribution. I was not chastising another member's contribution. I was chastising the authors of the list. If I offended the submitter, I sincerely apologize. I meant no disrespect to you and hope you understand that. But I won't apologize for my post or its tone. To me, that list - like ALL Top 50 anything lists - was horribly lacking. All lists of that sort are just asking to be picked apart. I chose the succinct route to make my point.
posted by Cameron Frye at 03:56 PM on January 09
Hi there Cameron, and welcome to SportsFilter. We have nearly 16,000 members on our little slice of Heaven, and a few of them are erudite souls like myself, Texan, and, I suspect, you, based on your writing style and admirable use of correct grammar, spelling and punctuation. Unfortunately, approximately 14,000 of those members think this is just another Yahoo! chatroom to run in and scream "My team rulz, your team sux LOLOLOL!!!!!!!!" Or, just as bad, to run into a cricket, soccer, F1, or other non-Americanized sports thread and inconsiderately trash it, out of a misguided spirit of sports nationalism. In fairness to Texan, who I believe to be a fine human being and a worthwhile sports fan, your earlier comment could be easily misinterpreted to be one of those statements. Texan, I believe, was simply trying to defend the site from such ill-mannered slop, and you, understandably, took offense. No reason this shouldn't end up water under the bridge, as far as both of you are concerned. Again, welcome aboard, and if I may leave you with one piece of advice, it would be this: introduce yourself around the same way you would go skinny dipping in the Arctic Circle...slowly and carefully, so as to allow yourself to become gently acclimated. Once we get to know you (and more importantly, your sense of writing and humor), we'll get along just fine. Huzzah!
posted by The_Black_Hand at 03:57 PM on January 09
Oh, and those OSM lists invariably ask for readers to supply their own contributions. I don't want this to turn into another 'what ESPN calls sport vs. the world' thread, but if you look at the Observer's regular sport pages -- and the monthly -- you'll find that they devote more time to American-centred sports than reflects their British fanbase, while also covering ones that earn only amusement and derision from the 'only three-and-a-half-sports exist' press stateside. I'm sorry on your behalf that they're not able to Stump the Schwab.
posted by etagloh at 04:25 PM on January 09
ok they have the bills superbowl failure but what about the win over the oilers. i was a little kid but i cryed for like 3 days.
posted by chad at 04:33 PM on January 09
The Black Hand: Thank you for your response, and I appreciate the welcome. Your powers of deduction are well formed as I am a writer who, on other now-defunct boards, has been called The Grammar Nazi for my inability to let even a single misspelled word remain in my posts. Of course with these boards, once the post is there, it's there forever, so I must learn never to post in haste. But I digress... I also appreciate your advice. I have been reading this site for about a month and have seen posts with a lot less substance and merit go unanswered. It was folly for me to believe that my attempt at sarcasm would go unanswered as well, but as a newbie, I was expecting that my post was more likely to get ignored than to be foisted up for all to see as an example of everything that is wrong with America, which is how I took that response. Is it better for a new poster to announce his presence with authority ala Nuke LaLoosh or end up as the wallflower at the school dance and quietly sneak into the party unseen and hope that someone eventually asks him to dance? That was my personal quandary. I probably should have taken the time to more eloquently express my views, but sometimes sarcasm is the easy way out. Again, thanks for the intro and I will do my best to use logic first and foremost on these boards. Just beware that sometimes, the power of sarcasm compels me. +++++++++++++ It could get wrecked, stolen, scratched, breathed on wrong. A pigeon could sh!t on it. Who knows.
posted by Cameron Frye at 05:00 PM on January 09
I do agree with Cameron that the lack of American sports moments in the list makes it a little less credible in my mind. However, I think I'm able to say with quite some conviction that a similar list made by say ESPN would most likely have very little to no heartbreaking moments from sports like cricket and rugby.
posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 05:38 PM on January 09
yym: by 'little to no' you mean 'the thought wouldn't even cross their mind', right?
posted by tieguy at 05:50 PM on January 09
Yeah pretty much. Of course I have to factor in the possibility of the writer having a brief mental breakdown causing him to mention a non-American sport.
posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 06:39 PM on January 09
When have any of these "n most adjective moments in sport(s)" articles ever truly been global? I think there's a justifiable rant that journalists shouldn't be writing articles with titles like that -- not without significant qualification (of 2006, in the US, in baseball, etc.), but as articles titled "n most whatevers" go, this one is no more centric than others, and less than many.
posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:57 PM on January 09
That was a pretty good list. Lots of memories. Jana Novotna was one that I had forgotten about, but I remember watching - stunned. Not enough fucking hockey, but I digress. I bet that Cowboys game ends up on a few "Texas-centric" lists in the near and distant future.
posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:30 PM on January 09
I love reading about sports I don't actively follow, and this is a great list. Off topic, yes, they do a better job than espn would do, but that's not saying much. I actually wish list makers would concentrate on what they know and not try to be all inclusive. Hi there Cameron, and welcome to SportsFilter. We have nearly 16,000 members on our little slice of Heaven, and a few of them are erudite souls like myself, Texan, and, I suspect, you, based on your writing style and admirable use of correct grammar, spelling and punctuation. Yes, Cameron's one of the good ones.
posted by justgary at 01:25 AM on January 10
Yes, Cameron's one of the good ones. Well, you can at least count on him not to sit on his ass as the events that effect him unfold to determine the course of his life. He's going to take a stand. Right or wrong, he's going to defend it.
posted by BullpenPro at 02:43 AM on January 10
Great list. Though I don't get the debate about whether or not certain sports are covered, It simply says 50 heartbreaking moments, not the 50 most heartbreaking moments in sport, so it hasn't set out to be a definitive list. Also the fact that the writers are British obviously means that British sports will mean more to them, and therefore have more of an emotional impact than other sports.
posted by Fence at 03:15 AM on January 10
As for #50, I'm looking forward to Seb Coe's plan for the games.
posted by Mr Bismarck at 04:12 AM on January 10
Cameron - as Fence pointed out, that wasn't a "top 50", just a plain old "50". Pedantry aside, I should perhaps have flagged it up as a global rather than a US list - then again, maybe I posted it in the first place because it leans away from the US-centric norm. Just having a look at the moment, the front page is displaying (in addition to this one) 13 football posts, 3 baseball, 3 basketball, 3 hockey, 1 soccer (US), 1 NASCAR, 1 athletics (US), 1 tennis, 1 cricket and 1 glorious, glorious darts post! I'm not complaining about that - if there isn't enough worldwide or British coverage on here it's because we European types have been remiss in providing it. As for Cameron - don't listen to them, Cameron. I live for the sarcasm. We all do, secretly. I don't know what I'm talking about now. This giving up smoking thing is really hard on the brain. Bismarck - I'm stealing that link for my Olympic blog - I'm not even asking, I'm just doing it.
posted by JJ at 04:57 AM on January 10
It's heartbreaking when your hamstring pops and your dad has to help you cross the finish line. It's heartbreaking when a driver's widow gets his trophy because he died in a crash right before. Sure it's heartbreaking when your team misses a field goal. But I think this was looking at a different kind of heartbreaking, or at least heartbreaking on a different scale. Now it is heartbreaking that this discussion ended up where it did, instead of people sharing memories of some of the items on the list, or maybe some of their memories of other nominees.
posted by SummersEve at 05:21 AM on January 10
New to the site, so please go easy. I am in the great position of growing up in Ireland, living in Britian for a few years, the States for 12 years and now back home in Ireland. As a sports fan, I have the opportunity of getting coverage of all the different sports, American and otherwise. I loved the list. Although I do think David Cone's career meltdown after pitching that Perfect Game should be on the list somewhere. How can one person go from so high to so low so quickly?
posted by jadzia1970 at 05:30 AM on January 10
Bismarck - I'm stealing that link for my Olympic blog - I'm not even asking, I'm just doing it. Knock yourself out JJ. Not to derail, but that whole Newsbiscuit site is entertaining, (if uneven in quality). There's a story on there now about how Chelsea have bought Watford's 10 league points of them for £9,000,000 and are now top of the Premiership, which made me chuckle too. To keep Summers Eve happy, my own heartbreaker came in 1994 when I saw what appeared to be a high speed and violent accident at the Imola Grand Prix and when his car came to a rest, Ayrton didn't move. I'd been exposed to fatal accidents before. My father was an F1 mechanic who quit when his team principal, Graham Hill, was killed in an air crash. I remember seeing James Hunt pull Ronnie Peterson from a burning car in 1978 only to wake up the following day to find out Peterson had died overnight from complications from his multiple leg fractures. I remember the deaths of Patrick Depailler and Gilles Villeneuve. After Roland Ratzenberger died during qualifying for Imola, Ayrton said "There are no small accidents at this circuit." The following day I sat agape, watching pictures of medical staff working around Ayrton's car, the commentators often quiet, leaving the screen with just the hammering noise of the helicopter from which the images were coming. I had thought Ayrton was invincible.
posted by Mr Bismarck at 06:27 AM on January 10
I had similar experience. I was flipping through the channels and paused for just a second on a nascar race, caught Dale Sr.'s accident just as it happened. I've never been a racing guy, but even I knew how big a figure he was. I happened to turn on the TV a minute or two before the second plane (not even having heard about the first one) hit the world trade center.
posted by apoch at 07:36 AM on January 10
This was a very good list. British-centric, but at least it considered sport from around the world. Remember that if it was a truly global list, American sports would *still* only have 3 or 4 spots on it. If you're a Boca Juniors fan, how heartbreaking was is to lose the title to Estudiantes this year, for example? For me, the most heartbreaking moment was when 1st division West Bromwich Albion lost 1-0 to 2nd division Queens Park Rangers in the semifinal of the 1982 FA Cup. I went to that final and watched QPR draw with Spurs. WBA have not reached a Cup Final, or won a major trophy in my lifetime. I'm not going to compare it to Senna's death or other deaths/serious injuries, because this is a *sporting* heartbreak. Senna's death was much more than that.
posted by salmacis at 07:50 AM on January 10
"I will never forget my one meeting with Ayrton Senna, that man haunted by the ghost of his own greatness, his own vision of himself as something far, far beyond ordinary people. He had a strange, mystical view of life and destiny and sport; and it brought him to his death. I still remember the shock I felt when I heard. It was as if I had actually believed everything that Senna said and had taken it, perhaps, more literally than Senna meant it. Perhaps I almost believed in his supremacy, his invulnerability, his immortality. He canít be dead, I thought. Not him. Not Senna. But dead he was; just as if he were a normal person." [Simon Barnes in the Times back in October] I agree with salmacis though - that was just heartbreaking full stop. I suppose I'm biased, but I was surprised not to see more golf on the list. You could probablty have had a separate list of 50 heartbreaking moments in Greg Norman's career, not to mention Doug Sanders in the Open in 1970, Monty at last year's US Open, and David Duval's massive career slide. Personally, the most heartbroken I've been watching sport was when Australia beat Ireland with a late try in the quarter finals of the 1991 rugby world cup (and then went on to win the thing).
posted by JJ at 08:51 AM on January 10
The most heartbreaking moment for me was England losing that penalty shoot-out against Germany in Italia '90. Closely followed by losing to the Hand of God in the quarter-finals in Mexico in 1986. My club team, Birmingham City don't even come close, perhaps because they've never really been near to winning anything worthwhile in my lifetime, except the play-off final and that ended happily.
posted by squealy at 09:12 AM on January 10
squealy, what about losing that penalty shootout to Liverpool in the League Cup? That would have ranked right up there with me if it had been the Baggies involved. Also, losing to the Germans *twice* in semifinals is a good call. Particularly 1990, as the Argies were there for the taking and we wanted revenge for 1986.
posted by salmacis at 10:31 AM on January 10
Well, you can at least count on him not to sit on his ass as the events that effect him unfold to determine the course of his life. He's going to take a stand. Right or wrong, he's going to defend it. Bravo, BullpenPro. Bravo. Cameron - as Fence pointed out, that wasn't a "top 50", just a plain old "50". Pedantry aside, I should perhaps have flagged it up as a global rather than a US list - then again, maybe I posted it in the first place because it leans away from the US-centric norm. You are right. It was an eclectic list to be sure. The Jana Novotna thing I had forgotten about. Looking back, I think everyone wishes TiVo had been around then. That was one of those unforgettable moments in sports. As for Cameron - don't listen to them, Cameron. I live for the sarcasm. We all do, secretly. I don't know what I'm talking about now. This giving up smoking thing is really hard on the brain. JJ - When I read that, I immediately thought of Airplane - "I think I picked the wsrong week to stop sniffing glue."
posted by Cameron Frye at 11:17 AM on January 10
I guess my nomination for a heartbreaking moment in sports would be the death of Ulrike Maier. Maier died after crashing in a World Cup race. She had a four-year-old daughter (who may have been present at the race, I don't remember) and had planned to retire at the end of that season.
posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:29 PM on January 10
I think Jim Ryun being tripped in his last attempt to win a gold medal would have been a good candidate for this list. He was the king of the mile in the 60s and never won the gold in three Olympic tries.
posted by joaquim at 01:06 PM on January 10
If you are Irish you can go argue with Tom over his selection, I'd have to agree that watching Sonia O'Sullivan run in Atlanta was heartbreaking.
posted by Fence at 02:28 PM on January 10
I am currently emersed in a project on baseball in New York City from 1947-1957, ending when the Dodgers and Giants took flight. I think the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn is almost certainly the most heartbreaking event in the game's history. There is no hope of spring that resets the clock for an entire borough of fans who still hurt from having their team taken away. Believe me, the Mets are small consolation. I learned a good deal from this list, too. Thanks for the post, JJ.
posted by BullpenPro at 04:55 PM on January 10
For Minnesota Vikings fans, the 1999 NFC Championship Game. The 15-1 Vikings had set the all-time NFL scoring record that season and were 11-point favorites over the Atlanta Falcons. They had a 20-7 lead. Gary Anderson, who had not missed an extra point or field goal all season, missed a 38-yard field goal, in a dome, on turf, that would've put the Vikings up by 10 with two minutes left.
posted by kirkaracha at 05:50 PM on January 10
How about the Oilers choking on a 35-3 third quarter lead in a playoff game against Buffalo, and losing 41-38?
posted by Mr Bismarck at 06:14 PM on January 10
squealy, what about losing that penalty shootout to Liverpool in the League Cup? Don't get me wrong sal, that was bad. But I was older by then and I'd learnt to accept the eventual capitulation of my team with a sigh of weary resignation. And anyway the League Cup is a nothing competition. It must be; it's the only thing we've ever won.
posted by squealy at 05:38 AM on January 11
This still breaks my heart [YouTube].
posted by JJ at 08:01 AM on January 11
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