If you know me, you’ll roll your eyes at some of these; make your own list, see what you come up with. These are some of my favorite games, listed in chronological order:
13) May 10, 1970: Bruins 4, St Louis 3 OT— Bobby Orr scores an overtime goal and the Bruins win their first Stanley Cup in 40 years; it was first time one of my favorite teams won a title, so that was fun.
It was also Mother’s Day, and my family was waiting to go out to dinner (Veeder’s restaurant in Colonie) but the overtime pushed things back some, then watching the Bruins carrying the Cup around took some more time. The family cut this 10-year old some serious slack that day.
12) May 1972: JT Garry 1, Greenhouse 0 (7)— I’m playing first base in this Little League game; not many Little League are scoreless after six innings. We had one really good pitcher, but he left after six innings and the reliever threw a ball about ten feet over my head at first base with the bases loaded and two outs. No bueno.
To this day, I don’t know what Greenhouse was; they were nice enough to sponsor a team, but no idea what business they were in.
The next year (1973) the Colonie All-Stars made it all the way to the Little League World Series in Williamsport- my one year there was fun.
11) October 22, 1972— My greatest day as a sports fan:
— A’s 3, Reds 2— Pete Rose flies out to LF; A’s win their first World Series.
— Rams 15, Bengals 12— David Ray kicks a 54-yard FG on the last play.
— I should’ve bought a lottery ticket that day; hell, I was only 12.
Thing that seems weird now; the A’s game, Game 7 of the World Series, started at 1:00, and was over before the Rams started at 4:00. World Series is all night games now.
10) October 1973, 1974— A’s win the World Series both years, making it three in a row; as a 14-year old. I’m guessing I may have been slightly annoying. Depends who you ask. 🙂
9) March 1974— NC State 80, UCLA 77 (2 OT)— UCLA had won seven national titles in a row; NC State was my favorite team, led by the great David Thompson- they also had a 5-5 point guard (Monte Towe) and a 7-3 center (Tom Burleson, who was my favorite player).
UCLA whacked the Wolfpack in a December game, then took a 7-point lead in the second OT here, but NC State rallied back and pulled the upset, then beat Marquette in the national title game two nights later.
One of NC State’s other starters was Tim Stoddard; he wound up as a major league pitcher for 13 years, for five teams, mostly the Orioles. In 1979, Stoddard pitched in the World Series.
8) November 1974: USC 55, Notre Dame 24— I grew up in an Irish Catholic household where everyone rooted for Notre Dame…….except me. I was a USC fan; Trojans coach John McKay looked like my dad, but my dad rooted for Notre Dame, or whoever he had on his football ticket.
Notre Dame runs out to a 24-0 lead; things looked bleak, but Anthony Davis winds up scoring six TD’s and the Trojans score 49 second half points. By this time, I was probably lucky my family didn’t throw me out on the front lawn for the winter.
7) February 22, 1976— Colonie 73, Shenendehowa 68 OT— As luck would have it, these teams wound up tied for first place in the Suburban Council, and played the last game of the season in their gym. Winner-take-all. I was the student manager for Colonie, a junior in HS.
We had three buses of kids/fans go to the game, but when we get there, the gym is already filled with Shenendehowa grade school kids— they pulled a fast one on us. My dad and all the Colonie parents got locked out of the game, but our principal, Bruce Crowder, told them that if they didn’t let one busload of our kids in the gym, the game wouldn’t be played. The photogrspher for the Albany newspaper wasn’t even allowed in the building that night.
So the busload of our kids rings the court, standing right next to the game; it kind of helped us. They were up 7 with 0:58 left, but we rallied to tie the game— Bruce Olson hit a long jumper to the game, and we won in overtime. Quite a night.
6) March 1981: Albany 88, Potsdam 86 OT— I was lucky enough to put myself thru college as the student manager of the basketball team at Albany; Potsdam was our biggest rival, but we beat them on their court to win the conference title. It was Division III basketball, but there were at least four players in that game who could’ve/should’ve played D-I ball.
We won the conference title, but they won the national championship, beating us in OT in the Sweet 16 round, also on their court.
5) March 1990: UNLV 103, Duke 73— Loved the Runnin’ Rebels, used to stay up late and watch Big West games all the time— they killed Duke in this game, giving coach Jerry Tarkanian a national title.
Watched the game in a roomful of people; I was the only person there rooting for UNLV. There were some comments made that I won’t repeat here. It was a fun couple of hours.
4) March 1998, 2001— I was lucky enough to be an assistant basketball coach at Schenectady HS; we won two state championships, three years apart; the whole experience was every educational and also a whole lot of fun. Weird thing is, we beat the same team (Hempstead HS) both times we won the state title.
3) January 23, 2000— Rams 11, Buccaneers 6— I’m in St Louis for the NFC title game, sitting in the last row in the end zone. Kurt Warner hits Ricky Proehl for the game-winning TD late in the game and the Rams were off to their second Super Bowl. Pretty excellent day.
Met Ron Jaworski in the hotel bar after the game; good guy. He was happy the Rams won, having played for Dick Vermeil with the Eagles. We talked about the movie Heaven Can Wait, which used some of Jaworski’s old clips from the Rams (Warren Beatty’s character wore #16).
2) January 30, 2000— Rams 23, Titans 16— The best Super Bowl ever played (ha!!); Warner-to-Bruce for a TD just after the 2:00 warning, then Mike Jones tackles a Titans’ WR on the 1-yard line as the game ends. To this day, watching replays of that makes me nervous; I still think they’re going to score the next time they show it.
1) March 2006: Northwestern State 64, Iowa 63— Demons are a 7-point underdog; during the week, I go on John Graney’s (very good) radio show here in Albany and predict an outright upset for the 14-seed.
Iowa runs out to a double digit lead, but the Demons storm back and pull off the unlikely upset win. That summer, I’m in Orlando watching AAU games and Mike McConathy, the Demons’ coach, sits next to me. I thanked him for making me look good; he had a very good team, and is a good guy. He still coaches the Demons.