So it’s that time of year when we sit back and take stock of the “calendar that was” with a grueling list meant to encompass a million things that happened over the past 12 months. Every publication that’s worth its weight in readers compiles some sort of regurgitated inventory of “Top Sports Things That Happened,” and “2011 Highlights in the World of Athletics.” (or trout-fishing, independent movie-making, shit you ate at your in-laws for Sunday dinner, etc. You get the point)
Frankly, I find it a tedious task and I for one will not participate. People like lists because they’re easy to skim and skip around, but I ask you: do you really like lists? Or do you read them because you’re supposed to like lists?
Therefore, I will painstakingly go month-by-month through 2011 to briefly recap the highlights and the lowlights in an effort to encapsulate things that happened. In sports. Let’s start with January, since, well, since it’s the first month, I suppose.
Roberto Alomar, who may or may not have AIDS (this sites too crappy for links– just google it), and Bert Blyleven are elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.
Jeff Fisher (Tennessee Titans) and Eric Mangini (Cleveland Browns) get fired, and the 49ers hire Jim Harbaugh, who I thought was really cool when I was younger because I had a football card where he had spiked hair (this is the same reason Kevin Seitzer was my favorite Kansas City Royal).
The Seahawks become the first team with a losing record to win a playoff game. Jesus weeps.
The Chiefs, who somehow won the division and weaseled their way into the playoffs, get beat like a drum by a much better Baltimore Ravens team.
Pakistan played New Zealand in cricket, a true match for the ages. Maybe. To be honest, I don’t know how to read the score. Pakistan won by 10 wickets, but it’s beyond my comprehension whether or not that’s a lot or a little. Elsewhere, India won by 21 runs. So wait… is it wickets, or runs? How in the hell does anyone win at cricket?
Auburn beats Oregon in the BCS National Championship game. I’ve gotta be honest, I don’t remember this game at all.
The NFC routs the AFC in the Pro-Bowl. Matt Cassel’s mom tells everyone she knows to watch what will ultimately be the highlight of her son’s mercurial career.
The Snooker German Masters were held in Berlin. I have no idea what “snooker” is, or who won, but Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon was knocked out in the “Last 32” round, which I’m sure was upsetting to Mr. Thirapongpaiboon.
The Green Bay Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl, 31-25. Hey, remember when the Chiefs took Derrick Johnson instead of Aaron Rodgers in the 2005 NFL draft? Yeah, me too. (to be fair, DJ is shaping up to be a very nice linebacker, and 23 other picks were made before Rodgers… but still)
The Cleveland Cavaliers set a record for futility with their 25th straight loss. “Is there anything worse than being a fan of Cleveland sports? Probably not.” –Guy Who Somehow Accidentally Got his Dick Caught In a Blender
Celtics’ bald-guy Ray Allen—who played a guy named Jesus in a Spike Lee movie—sets the NBA record for career three-pointers, surpassing Reggie Miller (who always seemed like a secret-asshole to me).
NFL: “Hey everybody! Let’s get locked the f*** out!”
March Madness sweeps the country, denting the productivity of a nation and embarrassing the shit out of you when your wife inevitably does better on her bracket than you do. “But why WOULDN’T I pick Butler?! Bulldogs are so cute!” K-State and Mizzou get bumped pretty early in the proceedings and the perpetually first-seeded Kansas Jayhawks lose in Kansas-like fashion to a much lower ranked team (Virginia Commonwealth, ladies and gentlemen).
In college basketball’s national championship game, Connecticut beats Butler in a horribly boring battle that pits surprising ineptitude against marginally staunch defense. No one except Connecticut and Butler will remember this game three months after it transpires.
*Homerun King Barry Bonds gets charged with obstruction of justice for perjuring himself, and it’s not nearly as sexy as it sounds. (See what I did there? With the asterisk? That’s called “minimalist-editorializing.” BAM.)
The NBA playoffs started, and not many people cared. The NHL playoffs started, too, and even fewer people cared.
Bubba Watson beats Webb Simpson in the PGA Tour’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Watson celebrates by getting a tattoo on his abdomen in old English letters that says, “Shock the World.” He succeeds only in shocking his wife, who he failed to consult.
“Animal Kingdom” wins the Kentucky Derby in horseracing, which is hardly a sport, so I’m sorry I brought it up.
The Dirk Nowitzki led Mavericks finally win something important, which was kind of cool, even if you DO find Mark Cuban to be a bit of an obnoxious asshole. Oh, and hey—here’s the problem with basketball AND hockey: too many teams get in and it takes too freaking long from start to finish. Remember back in April when I said both the NHL and the NBA playoffs were starting? Yeah, neither wrapped up until almost mid-June. Way to go, dorks.
Speaking of, the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup. Neat.
Northern Ireland’s own Rory McIlroy wins the US Open, with a record 72-hole aggregate score of 268 (16 under par), laying to rest the myth that white guys can’t win at golf. I know a guy of Irish heritage who’s also into golf, so he was really pumped up about this.
Realizing that they’re all acting like a bunch of entitled bitches, the NFL owners and the Player’s Association vote to end the NFL lockout. Teams scramble through a hasty free-agency period. Chiefs coach Todd Haley acts like an idiot with his preseason management and a bunch of key Chiefs’ players blow their knees to smithereens. Haley will later be fired, much to no one’s surprise.
Lifelong New York Yankee Derek Jeter collects his 3,000th hit, becoming only the 28th major leaguer to do so. Other than that, Jeter continues his downward talent-slide into worthlessness.
In baseball, Jim Thome hit his 600th homerun, the Cubs fired General Manager Jim Hendry, Justin Verlander notched his 20th victory on his way to Cy Young and MVP, and former Royals “power-house” Mike Jacobs was released by the minor league affiliate of the Colorado Rockies after testing positive for HGH, the first player to do so since testing was implemented.
Novak Djokovic defeats Rafael Nadal in the US Open. I’m confused, because I thought Rory McIlroy won this.
NFL: “Hey everybody, it’s us! Sorry about that!” Professional football starts, and life can finally resume. The Chiefs look like crap, the Bills look great and the Redskins start strong. Like the great poet C. Thomas Howell once said, “nothing gold can stay.”
Baseball playoffs kick everyone in the scrotum with their sheer awesomeness. Technically, the excitement begins in September with historic collapses by both the Atlanta Braves and the Boston Red Sox, allowing the St. Louis Cardinals and Tampa Bay Rays to make the postseason as Wild Card contenders. The Cardinals make the most of their mighty run, winning the World Series against the Texas Rangers.
33 year-old racecar driver Dan Wheldon dies after sustaining injuries in lap 11 of the IZOD IndyCar World Championship in Las Vegas, reminding us that life is fragile. This is especially true when doing something inherently dangerous like driving a car at 225 mph. RIP, Dan.
Sporting KC—nee the Kansas City Wiz, nee the Kansas City Wizards—lose in the MLS Conference Finals, 2-0 to the Houston Dynamo. For a while, everyone was excited about soccer in Kansas City, which was pretty cool.
Former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky earns a special place on this list of “History’s Greatest Monsters” after allegations arise that he sexually molested young boys both during and after his tenure with the Nittany Lions. Interesting Wikipedia side-note: in 2001’s ridiculously appropriately titled auto-biography, “Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story,” Sandusky claims that his father once told him “[Y]ou could mess up a free lunch.” Yeah, mess it up. And rape it. Here’s to hoping that this demon’s Golden Years are spent getting repeatedly dry anal-raped by a syphilitic, barbed-wire penis.
Mizzou leaves the Big XII after months of speculation and internet-fueled hearsay.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim shock the baseball world by signing a virtual unknown from Ft. Osage named Allen Pujols. Pujols, who had moderate success with St. Louis Cardinals organization, signs a 10 year contract worth $254,000.00, making him one of the wealthiest baseball guys in the history of baseball. (Herm: please fact-check this section. Thanks!)
(editor’s note: not to be confused with Albert Pujols $254 million deal with the same team)
Floyd “Money” Mayweather gets sentenced to 90 days in jail for domestic violence charges stemming from an incident involving his boo. His time is set to begin January 6th, and could be significantly reduced with good behavior. Hopefully, this time will be spent
reading, reflecting, and becoming a better person deciding to fight Manny “Pow-Pow” Pacquiao.
So there it is. The most comprehensive, thorough examination of absolutely everything important that happened in sports over the past year. I dare you find something that I left out. Come on… I dare you. In fact, I’m so confident that this collection is without fail, I’ll put up my compensation for penning this piece ($10 gift certificate to Jardine’s) if you can prove me wrong.
Best of luck, and have a great 2012, everybody.