It has been one wild decade full of fraud, juicers, womanizers, gamblers, cheaters, dopers, racists, and pretty much everything else in between. I’m not sure what to make of this decade, but the sports world has never been present more in our society. The economic hardships will undoubtedly change the landscape in the next decade as teams and leagues face bankruptcies and lockouts. Maybe we can blame the easy access of the internet/blogoshpere, and TMZ for coming along and showing us everything that is wrong with the athlete’s we adore making every one of their moves into a Michael Jackson type fiasco. It’s tough to see how diluted and foggy our perception of sports and athletes has become as the bad seemed to heavily outweigh the good. Many great things happened over the decade which kept us happy content after having to hear all the wild buzz on the athlete’s personal lives. Since nobody likes to listen or watch things about how the NBA Cares and United Way commercials for the NFL, we are stuck hearing the controversies that plague our sports including wild semi sports related stories like the Erin Andrews reverse peephole video. Here’s what stood out the most on what I liked and disliked in the world of sports!
The things I enjoyed most about the 00 decade, and most likely gave me goosebumps while it was happening. The Warriors and A’s winning a playoff series (may not happen again in my lifetime, at least for the Warriors). Juicer or not I loved watching Barry Bonds hit splash ball after splash ball in the bay. Federer vs. Nadal match ups were always a must see, and might have been more important to Rodger’s amazing career than we will ever know as he finally had to overcome a dominant opponent! Michael Phelps going 8 for 8 in swimming for Olympic gold medals. Boise State beating Oklahoma in the best college football bowl game I’ve ever watched. Rooting against Tiger in every tournament he played in, only to be disappointed by him winning in the end. Wishing I was a fan of Boston anything, and sports hating the name “Title Town”. Reggie Bush breaking ankles at USC. George Mason’s inspiring run, along with Steph Curry and Davidson’s run in the NCAA Tourney. Speaking of the underdog, I have to mention the Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays. The Patriots NOT having a perfect season. Usain Bolt blazing by people and records. Manny Pacquiao reviving my boxing enthusiasm. The Vince Young Rose Bowl was the 2nd best college game I witnessed in the decade. Dwayne Wade for showing us some Jordan esque type domination winning a championship. The Lakers for staying hate-able. Albert Pujols for not cheating, at least so far. Peyton Manning for being himself, and watching him dominate a position like we’ve never seen. Jimmie Johnson for being the best left turner in his era, actually that didn’t make my neck hair stand on end, but impressive nonetheless.
What’s scary is the main headline stories were more often concerning the bad in sports. The steroid scandal has made us throw everybody in baseball into the guilty till proven innocent ideology. The Mitchell Report might have been the biggest shadow over the MLB, along with the list of positive PED tests that just kept leaking. It’s amazing that Jose Canseco was pretty much right on about everything in his book Juiced. Baseballs’ best two sluggers (A-Rod and Barry Bonds) and one of its greatest pitchers (Rodger Clemens) all felt the wrath after they were pointed out as users. Woods ditched his too good to be true image down the drain with his sloppy trail of cheating. Kobe did the same kind of deed and had a highly publicized affair, but avoided divorce and rape charges for his little one night stand. Wouldn’t it have been great to see these stories unfold with host Joey Greco on the show Cheaters? Vick threw in a nice little dog fighting story in between the adultery stories. I guess it turned out to be a feel good story, as Vick just received the courage award for running a new dog fighting ring, lying to authorities, shooting and drowning dogs. REAL courageous how he’s gotten out of jail and NOT started another ring… The Patriots championships are called into question after spygate. They shouldn’t have even had the first one, in one of my most bitter moments of the decade which was the FUMBLE (not tuck) in the 2001 playoffs. Even some Pats fans have admitted that it was a fumble. Sonicsgate, which I already wrote about it, so I won’t beat a dead horse, but it’s scary how easily the Sonics were were swept out from under Seattle’s feet with Stern looking like Bush reading the children’s book during 9/11 attacks. The Kings getting robbed of a title shot, because the league wanted to hand wrap the Lakers a games to make the series longer. The Tim Donaghy scandal that has only arose more questions than answers from our pal David Stern. The inability to find a way to create a playoff for the College Football National Championship. Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson running wild in the stands of the Palace of Auburn Hills. Speaking of fans, the name Bartman will continue to kill Cubs fans souls. I think the overall negative theme of this decade was the use of performance enhancing drugs. We seemed to be more angry than Elin Nordegren about the use of them. I always found it interesting that we seem to care sooo much more about these baseball players, and when a football or basketball player is caught using them we don’t seem to care. As was the case for guys like Shawne Merriman and Rashard Lewis who were PED users, do they ever answer questions about that these days or labeled cheats? Not anywhere I read!
I guess this decade has taught me one thing, which is any behavior is fine until you are caught. Even when you are caught you have a few chances to make up stories/lies, but ultimately if you go back out there and dominate your sport those talks will decrease (see Kobe and A-Rod). Tiger will dominate this next decade just like he did this one, and all of these millions of articles we’ve heard lately will just be a footnote. Just follow Kobe and A-Rod’s lead Tiger. They are winners now in everybody’s book! In few days, this decade will mercifully come to a close.
I’m kind of worried though, because I have a feeling the next one will be worse than this one!