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A Look Back at the World of Sports in 2009

December 31, 2009 - Al Stephenson
As the calendar year comes to a close, taking a look back at some sports highlights in 2009 seems appropriate. There are some sports that won't be included here because I just don't watch them. Tennis here? Nope. Soccer perhaps? No way.

Instead I plan on concentrating on the sports that I watch on TV. Let's take that look.

We crowned a college football champion in January. That was followed up by a Super Bowl victor and a Daytona 500 winner. Can you name all three? If you said the Florida Gators, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Matt Kenseth, you are a true sports fan.

The Gators almost followed up their championship with another, but Alabama and Texas will vie for the title next week. The Steelers added to their legend, but have only faint hopes of making the playoffs this season. Kenseth followed Daytona by winning race two of the season in Fontana, then watched as his season crumbled. Jimmie Johnson collected his fourth straight Sprint Cup championship - something never done before. Will their be a fifth one? Stay tuned, 2010 is just hours away.

Even though I don't watch much NBA action I am aware that the Lakers won the title. Will the addition of Shaq bring the Cavs a championship for LeBron and the city? Again time will tell.

The wealthy Yankees added another World Series triumph to their resume, while the Indians decided to tear apart their roster and begin rebuilding. Will that work? 2010 will not answer that question. Rebuilding, on the scale that faces the Tribe, takes years.

The four major PGA events were won by Angel Cabrera, Lucas Glover, Stewart Cink and Y.E. Yang. Cabrera stunned Kenny Perry with an unlikely win at Augusta, while the likeable Cink became public enemy number one by beating the ageless Tom Watson across the pond. Yang took on Tiger Woods and stared him down in the PGA. Not winning a major was not the worst thing to happen to Tiger in 2009.

In the last month Tiger's world came crashing (literally) down as rumors of countless acts of infidelity came to light. As sad as that story is, it is by far the biggest event in the 2009 world of sports. Kansas fired its football coach for abuse of players and just in the last 24 hours Texas Tech did the same with Mike Leach. That story will not likely end soon as lawsuits are likely to be filed.

Despite all the controversy there were great sports stories as well. I think if we really try, we can block out the negative and remember the good things. If you want to smile think of the two best stories of the year.

An autistic high school senior manager gets to don a jersey and play in the last home basketball game of the year. He drills half a dozen treys and is the leading scorer in just a few minutes. Priceless.

Watching two softball players carry an opponent around the bases for a game winning home run after she tore up her knee rounding first base and couldn't be helped by her own teammates was emotional. It's also what sports is supposed to be about.

The view from my seat suggests that 2009 was a good sports year. Here's hoping 2010 will be even better.

Happy New Year everyone.


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