Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Greatest Sports Day Ever?

Chris Paul's game winner against the defending champion Spurs in Game 7 was just one of Saturday's many great sports moments.
By Andy Dougherty (@AndyDougherty10)

Saturday, May 2, 2015 was an eventful day in the sports world. CBS and TIME called it the biggest day of the year in sports, and CBS even posed the question, “Will May 2 be the greatest single day in sports history?” It might seem like a ridiculous question, but Saturday’s lineup was pretty impressive.

The headliner was Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao in the “Fight of the Century.” While it didn’t exactly live up to the hype, Mayweather collected $180 million after the win by unanimous decision, while Pacquiao left with a modest $120 million.

The day also included the Kentucky Derby, which set an all-time attendance record at 170,513. In the NBA, an injured Chris Paul hit a clutch series-winning shot with 1 second remaining in Game 7 to lift the Clippers over the defending-champion Spurs. In hockey, the Rangers won Game 2 over the Capitals 3-2, despite this insane goal by Alex Ovechkin.

The Yankees beat the Red Sox in a 1-run game. The final four rounds of the NFL Draft took place. The world’s top-ranked golfer, Rory McIlroy, won in a playoff to reach the semifinals of the WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship. Saturday also featured a 3-set win by Roger Federer (en route to his 85th career title), some late-season Premier League soccer, and the European Rugby Champions Cup Final.

No matter what kind of sports fan you are, there was something to pique your interest on Saturday.

It may have featured prominent events in more sports than any other day in history, though there wasn’t one legendary moment. There were other days that featured multiple iconic moments, and they will stand the test of time better than Saturday.

On May 25, 1935, Jesse Owens set three world records and tied a fourth. Meanwhile, Babe Ruth hit three home runs, including his 714th and final career homer, which was the first ball to clear the roof in right field at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh.

One day that rivaled Saturday’s frenetic, diverse range of action was June 17, 1994. Arnold Palmer played his final round at the US Open, the FIFA World Cup began, the New York Rangers held their Stanley Cup championship parade, and the Knicks took a 3-2 lead over the Rockets in the NBA Finals. In the midst of all of these events, sports fans were distracted by the police chase of O.J. Simpson. ESPN even made a documentary about the day in its acclaimed "30 for 30" series.

As a huge fan of tennis and football, my personal pick for the greatest day in sports history is February 1, 2009. The day started with an epic showdown between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. After winning a 5 hour, 14 minute long match two days earlier, Nadal recovered to beat Federer in five sets for his first career Grand Slam title on hard courts. There isn’t much that can compare to the two greatest players of all time, in their primes, playing on the sport’s biggest stage. Sure enough, Nadal and Federer produced the best point I’ve ever seen, and Federer was reduced to tears after the match.

Later in the day, Super Bowl XLIII turned out to be arguably the greatest football game ever. As time was running out in the first half, Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner threw a pass at the goal line that was intercepted by Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who returned it 100 yards and barely reached the end zone before being tackled as time expired. The Cardinals shook off that devastating play and took the lead on a 64-yard touchdown catch by Larry Fitzgerald to take the lead with 2:37 left in the 4th quarter. Then Santonio Holmes hauled in a phenomenal touchdown catch through triple coverage in the corner of the end zone to win the game for Pittsburgh.

Ultimately, the title of “greatest single day in sports history” comes down to your personal preference. If you want to stay on the couch all day and be captivated by an endless stream of different sporting events, then Saturday was hard to beat. If you’re into iconic figures making their mark, then May 25, 1935 was your kind of day. If you just want to see sports played at their highest level, it doesn’t get any better than February 1, 2009. And if you want a little bit of everything, it’s hard not to give June 17, 1994 the nod.

No comments :