Have you ever heard the saying “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone?”
Many sports fans around the world had this realization this past week, as they saw, one after another, their favourite sports teams and leagues suspended their activities due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
At this point, the vast majority of sports events have been cancelled. The Indian Wells Masters 1000 tennis tournament of the BNP Paribas Open was one of the first sports competitions to be officially cancelled. It was first announced that it would be played behind closed doors, but a confirmed case of the COVID-19 at the Indian Wells venue forced the organizers to cancel the event a few hours before its start.
As a tennis fan, it was a shock to see one of the biggest competitions of the season outright cancelled. At first, I thought it was a drastic decision, but then came to understand that the tournament wasn’t worth the risk, considering the severity of the virus.
I thought there would still be other sports to watch, like hockey, soccer, and even other tennis tournaments that wouldn’t be cancelled. Yet, in a matter of days, almost all were postponed or cancelled.
This is a unique situation we’re going through, and hopefully we won’t have to deal with this ever again. These moments make us realize how important our passions are to us, and help us gather together and cherish what we love.
I’m used to waking up in the morning and watching sports recaps and talk shows. I would normally talk about what happened in sports the previous day with my friends before going to class, and then prepare to watch a game in the evening.
It’s obviously impossible to bring fresh sports news to the public right now. However, as we’re looking for things to talk about other than COVID-19, here are some recent sports moments that should bring some happiness in your day.
First up is Sidney Crosby’s historic “Golden Goal” at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. Team Canada faced Team USA for gold in men’s hockey. Tied 2-2, Crosby scored the game-winning goal with 12:20 left in overtime, lifting an entire nation into a celebration, with a goal that changed the history of hockey and the Olympic Games forever. Even 20 years later, people talk about that goal when celebrating the 2010 Olympic Games of Vancouver. The rivalry between Team Canada and Team USA continued to grow since then.
In women’s hockey, the Canadian national team won the Olympic gold at Sochi 2014, in what has become an iconic game against their American rivals. Trailing by one with less than a minute to play, Team USA hit the post when trying to secure what would have been a 3-1 score with an empty-net goal. Team Canada took advantage of it, as Marie-Philip Poulin tied the game seconds later to force overtime. Poulin then scored her second of the game in overtime, securing gold for Canada.
Canadian tennis star Bianca Andreescu made history last September when she won her first ever Grand Slam title at the 2019 US Open versus Serena Williams. She became the first ever Canadian Grand Slam title winner.
Next is this legendary bat flip from Jose Bautista in 2015, in Game 5 of the American League Division Series against the Texas Rangers. Bautista’s three-run homer gave the Toronto Blue Jays a 6-3 lead late in the game.
The NFL sees its fair share of spectacular catches. One of the best (if not the best) was this one by Odell Beckham Jr. in 2015. Despite being held to one-hand while being interfered with, Beckham Jr. managed to catch the ball and get a touchdown.
One of the most discussed plays of recent years in football came when the Seattle Seahawks faced the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl XLIX. With a second down and goal, the Seahawks opted for a passing play despite the fact they would lose the game if it were to be intercepted. They also had the always-entertaining Marshawn Lynch at running back, which only made many fans more upset. Surely, they thought, Lynch would have made it to the end zone safely.
Unfortunately for the Seahawks and their fans, Russell Wilson’s pass was intercepted by the Patriots’ Malcolm Butler, ensuring his team’s Super Bowl victory.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a real football list without this play between quarterback Case Keenum and wide receiver Stefon Diggs. In the last seconds of overtime in a game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints during a National Football Conference divisional playoff game in 2018, Diggs caught Keenum’s pass while his defender missed their tackle, and ran down the field unopposed for a 61-yard game-winning touchdown.
In golf, Tiger Woods made history once again last year when he won the 2019 Masters Tournament. This was a historic moment, not only for golf, but for sports in general. His triumph was celebrated by many fans around the world, especially considering the tough years he went through preceding this victory.
This picture also went viral on social media. The first image shows Woods hugging his father after winning the Master Tournament in 1997, while the second shows him and his son, shortly after his 2019 victory.
Tiger Woods and his father Earl after his first Masters win in 1997.
Tiger and his son Charlie after winning his 5th Masters on Sunday. pic.twitter.com/uhGOd4eGYt
— ESPN (@espn) April 14, 2019
What about the two-point buzzer-beater shot from Kawhi Leonard. As the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers were heading to overtime in game seven of the NBA’s Eastern Conference semifinals, Leonard gave the Raptors the win, shooting the ball in the basket with less than a second left in the game. That put the score at 92-90 and pushed the Raptors to the next round. The team would go on to win their next series and the league’s championship.
Finally, at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games of Rio, Canadian Penny Oleksiak lived what us common folk would call “a fairytale” born of hard work and talent. Only 16 at that time, Oleksiak won four medals, including the gold medal in the women’s 100m freestyle event.
Graphic by @sundaeghost