'Tis the Season

Why We Love Sports in America: 2011

Since I'm out on vacation next week let me get to this Fourth of July tradition a little early: Happy Birthday, America.

Our country turns the ripe old age of 235 on Monday. Between burgers and beers and bikinis, I'll make time this weekend remembering how friggin' fortunate we are to have a variety of sports and the freedom to choose which ones we love and loathe.
 
As usual, add to the list if you want. Or just pick and choose. Whatever.
 
It's a free country.

 

235. Labor lockouts peace

234. Failure Jesus, working his magic on Dwyane Wade.

233. The right to hate Tom Hicks and the responsibility of remembering Chuck Greenberg.

232. Cowboys' Super Bowl expectations. Every single year.

231. Tiger Woods' rise. And fall.

230. Ron Washington's relentless optimism.

229. Cowboys Stadium.

228. Jon Gruden.

227. Jordan Spieth's future and Dez Bryant's present.

226. The star on the helmet.

225. Yankee pinstripes.

224. The 18th at Pebble Beach.

223. Dick Vitale, John Madden and, yes, even Brent Musburger.

222. Marion Jones, before she lied.

221. Hail Mary and Touchdown Jesus.

220. The Ice Bowl, the Rose Bowl and the Beer 'n Bowl.

219. Game 7.

218. Cameron Crazies.

217. Stockton to Malone.

216. Rick Carlisle.

215. The Williams sisters.

214. Boston's Green Monster and Augusta's green jacket.

213. The 12th Man.

212. Brian's Song.

211. Spurrier's visor.

210. "H-O-R-S-E," "Hot Box" and "Tackle the Man with the Football."

209. Happy Valley and March Madness.

208. Michael Jordan.

207. The seventh-inning stretch and "Down the stretch they come!"

206. Army-Navy.

205. Pauley Pavilion.

204. Caddyshack.

203. "Gentlemen, start your engines!"

202. Atlanta's Tomahawk Chop.

201. Vince Lombardi.

200. Don King, Gene Keady and Slick Watts.

199. Kobe in the clutch and Junior on the gas.

198. Hot dogs.

197. The Three J's, The Four Horsemen and The Fab Five.

196. "It ain't over 'til it's over."

195. Hawg hats, Fort Worth Cats and Minnesota Fats.

194. Mark Holtz.

193. A two-putt birdie.

192. Wide Right and Student Body Left.

191. Britney Griner.

190. The smell of fresh-cut grass on Opening Day.

189. Slow-motion instant replays.

188. Al Davis' white(ish) windbreaker.

187. Pizza delivered simultaneously with kickoff.

186. The hole in the roof so God can watch his favorite team.

185. The Immaculate Reception.

184. A no-hitter after eight.

183. Jimmy Connors at Flushing Meadows. At night.

182. Alligator arms, swim moves and The Shark.

181. Tom Dempsey.

180. The Silver Boot, the Iron Skillet and plain ol' braggin' rights.

179. Underdogs.

178. Navratilova vs. Evert.

177. Grass.

176. Hat tricks via bicycle kicks.

175. Jerry Jones.

174. NFL Films.

173. Bo Jackson.

172. Bobby Knight's sweaters. And trifecta bettors.

171. Texas-OU Weekend.

170. Flo-Jo and Little Mo.

169. DirecTV's Sunday ticket.

168. Two points, three-peats and four- baggers through the five hole.

167. Robert Hughes.

166. Slap Shot.

165. Troy Aikman, Daryl Johnston and Deion Sanders on the
other side of the camera.

164. John Wooden's program and Red Auerbach's cigar.

163. The Steel Curtain.

162. Taking your glove to the game.

161. Tatu. And tattoos.

160. "Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!"

159. Amen corner. And Death Valley.

158. Nike vs. Reebok.

157. No. 1 vs. No. 16.

156. Boomer Sooner, Rocky Top and "wake up the echoes."

155. One-handed 360.

154. Phil Jackson's Triangle and Dean Smith's four corners.

153. Breathe Rights, eye black, mouthpieces and ear holes.

152. The Great One and The Greatest.

151. "Fumblerooski."

150. Monday Night Football's old theme music.

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Richie Whitt
Contact: Richie Whitt