Today's sports world continues to amaze us all
By By Tony Krausz/assistant sports editor
July 26, 2003
Ben Curtis winning the British Open last Sunday is why sports are so great.
Take a step back from the more sensational stories currently dominating the sporting world.
Kobe Bryant's infidelity and the accusation of sexual assault against him have tarnished the image of one of the good guys' in modern day athletics.
The case of missing Baylor basketball player Patrick Dennehy has taken on the life of a Hollywood crime drama. A teammate arrested for murder, a body that no one can find, and talk of misconduct by the school seems more appropriate for a primetime crime drama than a sport's page.
Then, there was Curtis. The 300-and-something ranked golfer in the world went up against the likes of Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Davis Love III, Phil Mickelson and came out on top.
This is what makes sports, any sport, so much fun to watch.
There are few things better than proud athletes conquering seemingly impossible odds and pulling off the upset.
And the year of 2003 has given us plenty of shockers. We are only about halfway through the calendar year and we have been bombarded by so many upsets it is hard to keep them all straight.
Ohio State dethroned the mighty Miami Hurricanes at the start of the year.
Sure the Buckeyes were ranked 12th at the start of the college football season, but who but the diehard Ohio State fans actually gave this team a chance to walk away with a win over Miami.
When a team's best player is a freshman, Maurice Clarett, and that player is hurt in the biggest contest of the year, you are simply not supposed to win.
Not only did the Buckeyes win, but it took two overtimes and a dramatic redzone stand to come out on top.
Yet, there they were at the end of the Fiesta Bowl being sprayed by confetti and kissing the championship trophy.
From the gridiron wonders of college, we were taken to a new wizardry of the hardwood Syracuse winning the NCAA Tournament.
March Madness' again lived up to its hype, as a team led by one of the most talented freshmen ever to lace up hightops cut down the nets on April 7.
Considering Carmelo Anthony was selected as the No. 3 overall pick in the NBA Draft it may seem like a stretch to call the Orangemen's win an upset, but let's not forget who this team played the Kansas Jayhawks.
Kansas was nothing short of a powerhouse with the rarity among rarities in college hoops two senior players who were stars.
It was supposed to be the four-year players Kirk Hinrich and Nick Collison schooling the upstart Anthony in New Orleans to capture Roy Williams' first NCAA title.
But instead, fans were treated to the underdog coming out on top of the heap. From the waxed floors of the gym, we were taken to the ice of NHL arenas.
The Anaheim Mighty Ducks may not have skated away with Lord Stanley's Cup, but they put on a show in the playoffs that will not soon be forgotten by every hockey fan out there.
On the strength of Jean-Sebastien Giguere, a goalie that so few people knew about they could barely spell his name much less pronounce it, the Ducks sent the Detroit Red Wings dynasty, Patrick Roy and the Colorado Avalanche, and the Dallas Stars to the golf course early.
All three teams Anaheim went through were favorites to come out of the West to vie for the cup, and all three teams were knocked off by a team from Southern California that was led by a goaltender no one ever even heard of.
From the ice we go to the dirt of the race track where Funny Cide found a way to make horse racing interesting to the masses again.
Getting people excited about horse racing is nearly an upset in itself, considering most of today's youth think Seabiscuit is a breakfast dish served on sea cruises.
But Funny Cide's unpredictable wins at the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness set up a run for the first triple crown in 25 years and people tuning into the track like it was 1952.
The horse may have fell short like the Ducks, but it was still a sight to see the gelding owned by high school buddies from New York going for horse racing's biggest prize.
Those are just a few of the spectacular things that have happened on the fields, tracks, courts and ice rinks of competition this year, and we are only halfway through.
So, if the more seedy headlines of murder and deceit are turning you off of sports right now, just remember sports can still be a spectacular and wonderful thing.
If you don't believe it, just tune into the ride Lance Armstrong is taking through France right now.
It may not be an upset for the Texan to win the Tour de France, but a cancer survivor on the most grueling bike ride ever conceived is always a wonder to watch.