Last year has been great for my teamsPublished 8:44am Wednesday, January 19, 2011
There is no doubt that the last 365 days have been some of the roughest of my life.
I have lost members of my family that I loved dearly. I have other members of my family facing tough battles with health issues.
And like almost everyone else, the poor economy has been felt at my house.
I have had to deal with quite a bit of adversity since mid January of 2010, but I have had three surprises to help boost my spirits and give me a little extra joy when I needed it most.
Those three surprises were championships won by some of my favorite sports teams.
In February the New Orleans Saints won the franchise’s only Super Bowl. In November the San Francisco Giants won the World Series and last week Auburn won a national championship.
I have been a life-long Saints fan and have lived through some pretty bad seasons. Seriously, there was a reason the team was called the Ain’ts by fans for several years.
Heading into the 2010 season New Orleans only had a couple of playoff appearances in its history, which dates back to the mid 1960s.
The Saints came close in 2007, but they could not overcome the cold of Soldier Field and lost to the Chicago Bears during the NFC Championship Game to end the season one win away from the Super Bowl.
They got there in 2010 and didn’t disappoint.
I will never forget my wife laughing at me as I jumped up and down in the living room as Terry Porter returned an interception for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
That win was enough to give me an infusion of joy in my life that would have lasted the rest of the year, but I received an extra boost in early November.
I had watched the Giants reach the playoffs several times, but they always seemed to fizzle in the postseason.
In 2002 they reached the World Series with a dangerous offense and a decent defense only to lose to Anaheim.
They returned to the playoffs this season with dominant pitching, but a terrible offense. To win the title they had to get through some teams loaded with All-Star pitchers.
The Giants’ bats awakened under the pressure of the post season and delivered another championship for me to get excited about.
While San Francisco was winning the title, Auburn was in the middle of a historic run.
The Tigers have also come close to competing for titles, but something had always gotten in their way. During the undefeated 1993 season it was probation. During the undefeated 2004 season it was the BCS formula.
In 2010 the Tigers would not be denied.
When Wes Byrum’s field goal as time expired sailed through the uprights, I ran outside and jumped up and down in the snow.
The crazy thing is I never really thought I would get the opportunity to see these teams win a title.
Like I said, New Orleans has been historically awful, San Francisco could never get over the hump and winning a national championship in college football is no easy task, especially in the Southeastern Conference.
But I am glad I got to have those experiences. They brought me much needed joy at some tough times in my life.
I would have endured even without those titles, but the thrill of a championship helps.
The last year will be one I will never forget. Maybe the next 365 days will be kinder to the teams I root for in other sports as well.