Fourth of July is the most sacred of holidays in America. I’ll have a drink to freedom any day of the week, but a cold one always tastes better on our Independence Day.
In honor of the original colonies that established this great country, here are the 13 most patriotic moments in United States of America sports history:
13) Women’s World Cup Shootout
Soccer is widely considered “The World’s Game,” and maybe that’s why I can’t get behind it. I don’t want anything to do with a sport that was invented in another part of the world; they can keep it.
With that being said, the 1999 Women’s World Cup was the one shining moment for America. That’s right; it wasn’t the men, but the women who made me care about soccer for a day.
The finals came down to a nail-biting shootout finish where the USA walked away victorious. The team then proceeded to rush the field and strip down to their sports bras in celebration. America wins and half-naked girls hug each other? Now that’s a win-win scenario if I’ve ever seen one.
12) Vince Carter Teabags France
Basketball lost its luster in the Olympics after the Dream Team went through the competition like a wrecking ball in 1992. But Vince Carter did his best to put it back on the map when he leaped over a 7+ Frenchman to make one of the most eye-popping dunks in basketball history.
We’re brash here in America. We don’t just beat you; we rub your face in it. Carter dragged his sack across that Eiffel tower of a man while soaring to the hoop like a bald eagle. That, my friends, is the American way.
11) Michael Phelps Takes Home 8 Gold Medals
Eight fucking gold medals. Does anything else need to be said?
You’re probably thinking, “How is the world record for most gold medals won in a single Olympics not higher on this list?” I’ll tell you how — because they were all won in swimming events, big whoop. Still an awesome accomplishment overall, though.
10) Mike Piazza’s Post-9/11 Home Run
I won’t sit here and say Mike Piazza cured a whole city with one swing of the bat, but, for a night, he helped return things to normalcy in New York City, and even brought a smile to our faces. That’s no easy task for us New Yorkers, either. Trust me.
Piazza launched a go-ahead home run in the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves that felt like a scene out of a fairytale movie. The Mets weren’t going anywhere that season. A win wasn’t going to change their season or get them back into the playoff hunt. The city, however, got the win they deserved and needed, with Piazza playing the role of hero.
We will never forget the events that occurred on the tragic day of 9/11, and we will never forget the night Mike Piazza lifted the good guys to a much-needed victory, if only for a night.
9) Joe Louis Knocks Out Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany was in full force and beginning to make their move in a quest for world domination. Heavyweight boxing champion (when that still meant something), Max Schmeling, was perceived to be Hitler’s “Nazi puppet” in his attempt to showcase German athletes as the most superior in the world.
Enter America’s Joe “Brown Bomber” Louis. In 1938, Louis singlehandedly knocked the wind out of Germany with his first-round defeat of Schmeling in just two minutes and forty seconds. The victory was a worldwide story, one of the first ever in the sporting world. Did you really think we wouldn’t come out on top with the world watching? We don’t crumble under the bright lights — we embrace it.
This was just a preview for the beat down Germany would receive in World War II.
8) Rulon Gardner Pins Russia
U.S. heavyweight wrestler Rulon Gardner was a long shot, to say the least, at the 2000 Olympics. In the gold medal round, Gardner squared off against Russia’s Aleksandr Karelin, who hadn’t lost a match in 13 years!
Gardner was the quintessential heavyweight-looking wrestler, appearing to spend his training days guzzling down beers (not that light shit, either) and anything fried he could get his hands on. Karelin, however, could have his body molded into a statue.
In a stunning upset, Gardner showed there is nothing stronger than the American spirit as he willed his way to victory in one of the greatest Olympic upsets ever.
7) Dream Team Domination
MJ and Bird and Magic, Oh my!
Complete and utter American domination; no team better exemplified that than the 1992 men’s basketball team that was dubbed the “Dream Team.” If you thought the beat downs Donald Trump gave Jeb Bush during the debates were bad, go back and watch some footage of the Dream Team.
America beat their opponents by an AVERAGE of 44 points on their way to a gold medal. Charles Barkley summed up just how much respect this team has for the rest of the world after being asked, “How much do you know about Angola?” before leading up to a game, to which Sir Charles responded, “I don’t know anything about Angola, but Angola’s in trouble.”
For my money, this is still the great team ever assembled, in any sport, period.
6) Jesse Owens Tells Hitler To Shove it
The 1936 Olympics were held in Berlin, Hitler’s backyard. Hitler had planned to use the Summer Games as a showcase for the world to see his “model race of citizens” and to further promote his Nazi propaganda. Well, a lot of things didn’t go as planned for that pedophile-looking prick.
Owens gave Hitler an up-close-and-personal look at what Americans are capable of when faced with adversity. The track and field star went on to win four gold medals, which included the prestigious 100 and 200-meter events that left the winner with the label the “fastest man on the planet.”
This wouldn’t mark the first time an American kicked ass on German soil, and it certainly didn’t mark the last.
5) Rick Monday Saves Old Glory
Rick Monday is an unknown baseball player, playing most of his career under the radar, but he made one of the most memorable plays ever recorded on the diamond. When a fan, who was probably a communist, took the field in the middle of a game and attempted to burn the American flag, Monday swooped in and snatched it before flames ever touched Old Glory.
These colors don’t run, and they certainly don’t burn, either.
4) U.S.A Basketball Refuses Silver 1972 Summer Olympics
I know what many of you will say — why is a silver medalist team on this list? Well, for starters, the men’s basketball team was robbed of the gold in 1972 due to a call that would make you somehow appreciate the officiating in today’s game.
This team still represented America proudly by refusing anything less than the gold. That is the standard we have grown accustomed to in this country and nothing less will ever be deemed acceptable. To this day, not a single member of that team has picked up their silver medals, despite numerous invite requests all these years later.
I’ve never been more proud of a second place (though we really won) bunch.
3) National Anthem Following Boston Marathon Bombing
The bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon was one of the darkest hours to take place at an American sporting event. Fortunately, the city of Boston was able to pick each other up and inspire the rest of the nation with their compassion and desire to help in a time of need. Just a few days after that tragic day, the Boston Bruins were home.
The world was given a treat as a full stadium sang their star spangled hearts out for all to hear. If it was up to me, that’s the way the National Anthem would be performed prior to every sporting event. We are always stronger together, and it also makes my terrible singing voice blend in with the crowd, which is another plus.
I get chills just thinking about that performance of the anthem.
2) George Bush Throws A Strike At Terrorism
I don’t care if you lean left or right on the political spectrum, President George W. Bush warmed the hearts of all Americans when he stepped foot on what was once referred to as “the loneliest place in sports,” the mound at Yankee Stadium, prior to Game 3 of the World Series just weeks after 9/11.
President Bush stood tall and delivered a fastball that stung the hand of terrorists around the world.
Is anyone else chanting U-S-A right now?
1) Do You Believe in Miracles?
A group of American college students was given the daunting task of squaring off against a group of Russians that were considered the best team in hockey history, having played together as a unit for years, winning game after game. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY was picking the young American team in this contest.
Herb Brooks was able to teach his team that you play for the name on the front of your jersey, not on the back. In turn, the boys in red, white and blue did the unthinkable and walked away victorious.
There will never be a more iconic call than Al Michaels shouting in pure disbelief, “Do you believe in miracles? YES!” as the 1980 men’s Olympic hockey team defeated the mighty Russian squad. The Russians had long been on top of the hockey world and were the pride and joy of the Iron Curtain. Many give Reagan credit for ending the Cold War. Some say Rocky did it with his epic speech at the end of Rocky IV. Well, in my opinion, the 1980 Miracle on Ice was the beginning of the end.
Side note: Think about what these boys accomplished in college beating the Russian National Hockey Team and then think about what you did. On second thought, don’t. Just appreciate the fact that we’re all Americans. So it’s kind of like I beat the Russians, too.
You can argue with the order if you really want to, but there’s no arguing the impact these 13 patriotic moments in sports made from sea to shining sea.
God bless sports, and God bless America..
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