Last week, a video I have seen hundreds of times was making its way around social media again. Sunday marked the ninth anniversary of Landon Donovan’s 91st minute winner against Algeria during the 2010 World Cup, which I consider my favorite sports moment of all time.
As I watched the video again and again Sunday, I obviously continued to get chills but I also started thinking about which moments even rank close to that. So, while Donovan’s goal will always be at the top of the list, I felt it was a good time to list some of the best moments we have seen since that wonderful summer afternoon.
In 2011, there were plenty more soccer moments to choose from the U.S. women’s team making a run to the World Cup final but the most memorable moment from this year for me was Kemba Walker’s run on the hardwood in March, leading UConn to a national championship in men’s basketball. Walker earned the nickname “Cardiac Kemba” for several reasons but his step back game winner against Pittsburgh in the Big East Tournament is the one I always picture.
Soccer made its return as the top moment in 2012, joining several big moments from the summer Olympics in London. Alex Morgan introduced herself to the world with a winner in the semifinal match against Canada in the 123rd minute before the U.S. went on to win the gold medal in a revenge game against Japan.
(I’m going to pretend to skip over 2013 because I was there to witness the best moment of the year but I certainly do not want to admit watching Chris Davis run 109 yards was special.)
The men’s World Cup was back in 2014 and another heart-stopping game finished with a new American hero as 21-year old John Brooks scored a late winner against Ghana to give the U.S. a victory in its opening game. The best part about this moment was Brooks telling a teammate he dreamt about that exact play before it even happened.
2014 also marked the end of my favorite athlete’s career as Derek Jeter signed off at Yankee Stadium in the most fitting way possible. He took the first pitch he saw through the right side of the infield to knock in the game-winning run on a walk-off single which definitely brought tears to my eyes.
Less than a year later, we were treated to a moment in sports no one had seen since 1978. After winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, jockey Victor Espinoza rode American Pharoah to a Triple Crown victory by dominating the Belmont Stakes.
Speaking of ending droughts, the Chicago Cubs made sure to one up horse racing in 2016 after erasing a 3-1 deficit in the World Series against the Cleveland Indians to win their first title since 1908. It was all capped by an 8-7 win in extra innings on the road which sent baseball fans all across the country into a frenzy.
The 2016 sports year cannot be talked about without another blown 3-1 series lead as LeBron James decided he wanted to bring a trophy back to Cleveland. James averaged 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds and 8.9 assists to lead the Cavaliers to an NBA championship, defeating the record-setting 73-win Golden State Warriors in seven games.
In 2017, Serena Williams decided tennis was too easy for her so in her second tournament of the year, she won the Australian Open for the seventh time in her career. Oh yeah, and she did it while she was pregnant.
In the state of Alabama, the best moment of 2018 may have been the second-half performance by Tua Tagovailoa in the national championship against Georgia but I opted to go a different route because if I stay up until 3 a.m. to yell at my television over curling, it’s going on this list. The U.S. men’s curling team won its first gold medal with a five-point end against Canada to erase a 1-point deficit and take control of the match.
These are all moments I can watch over and over again, still getting chills and sometimes with tears in my eyes. They may not all match that moment from 2010 but that does not make them any less enjoyable so here’s to many more moments. Maybe someone can top Landon Donovan one day.