This appears in philstar.com
A great year for sports stories
by rick olivares
This has to be one of the great sports stories of all time. Sports writers like to think they’ve seen it all, written everything there is. And then there are new stories to tell; ones we never could conjure because they seemed so unlikely at that time. But this one — the plot was there all right — star is drafted by home town team, star struggles to win, star leaves, star finds success elsewhere, star returns, struggles again, then makes good on a promise for a championship.
It’s Hollywood, right?
Nope. It’s Cleveland.
You know the litany. Red Right 88. The Curse of Rocky Colavito. The Fumble. The Shot. The Shot II. Jose Mesa. Wait… there’s more plus the fact that LeBron James must be the most scrutinized and criticized athlete of modern times especially in the age of social media.
To those who follow North American sports, for quite some time, people wondered who was more cursed — Cleveland as a whole, the Chicago Cubs, or the Boston Red Sox (until they won it all in 2004)? It’s actually fascinating at that time when people would wallow in their misery and say, “we’re more cursed!”
Hey, Cubs… there’s hope!
The Cavaliers, however, do not have a monopoly on the great sports story.
There’s Leicester City winning the English Premier League after finishing the previous season in 14th place (out of 20 teams), battling relegation to the second division, and garnering only 41 points. This season, the Foxes, essentially with the same team that played the previous season, turned things around and vaulted to the top while tacking on 81 points! There were two crucial additions - manager Claudio Ranieri and forward Shinji Okazaki who came in from Mainz in the German Bundesliga. And they were led by a former non-Premier League striker. Vardy played five years for non-League teams FC Halifax Town and Fleetwood Town before signing with Leicester during the 2012 season. And now, he’s on the National Team!
There are the Denver Broncos who lost their starting quarterback in Peyton Manning, went to Brock Osweiler to lead them. When the latter faltered, Manning stepped back into the lineup and led Denver to the Super Bowl where they faced the hungry and talented Carolina Panthers who were supposed to run roughshod over them. The result was a 24-10 victory. Denver were champions for a third time in their history and Manning rode off into the sunset.
There’s Miesha Tate defeating Holly Holm who was the overwhelming favorite to win especially after her sensational victory over Ronda Rousey the year before. Prior to the match, Tate wondered if she’d ever get a shot at the UFC Women’s Title and her career seemed in doubt when she was at odds with the top MMA fight circuit. That massive win against Holm put her once more in the spotlight.
On the homefront, there were the San Miguel Beermen coming back from a 3-0 deficit to deal the Alaska Aces a heartbreaking loss.
If you’re following Euro 2016, Wales, a country that has only one-fourth of the population of Metro Manila, is leading Group B and has made it to the next round! And they aren’t even a country with a lot of world-class football players.
And to think that we aren’t even half way through 2016.