Sports Year in Review
By Kelly S. Croslis
Each year as a sports season ends fans begin counting the days until they see their favorite players on the field again with hopes that maybe next year will be better.
They will win more games. Their favorite player won’t be hurt, or as was the case for 2011, the game itself will actually be played. There was no shortage of controversy this year, in fact, it may be the one thing that defines sports for 2011. No longer is the biggest story which player was caught using steroids, that is a thing of the past. The challenges have become more complicated and often times more serious.
Football fans were the first to face uncertainty as their season was on the line due to a lockout. While the baseball season seemed to ease the anxiety temporarily, as summer began tensions rose and the possibility of no football was becoming a reality. Those who play in fantasy leagues wondered what would they do come draft time, how could they pick teams and more importantly? How could there be no football? Alas, at the last minute and with only a minor delay the players took to the field and now as the playoffs are about to begin, the memory of the season that almost wasn’t is long gone.
Baseball each year has its teams that everyone knows will win and advance to the playoffs and world series. It is a reality and what is expected. Philadelphia and New York are the teams that come to mind as the post-season approaches, this year. However, was different. While both teams made it to the play offs, and it was assumed would advance, they were ultimately sent home and made to watch the season finale on TV. Who made it the game this year? Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals played in a seven game battle of wits and continuous ups and downs. There was no way to know who would come out on top as each game showed the talent of both teams. In the end, the Cardinals would walk away with the trophy and leave many people in shock that the two teams that seemed the least likely to play in the world series were there, and the underdog won.
For many there are three major sports, football, baseball and basketball. This year, two of them will be a reality. Basketball followed the example of football and declared a lock out earlier this year, only the outcome has been very different. As the summer drew on and fall approached fans knew there was a real possibility that they would not see their favorite players on the hardwood this year. With both sides at a standstill, it is college basketball this year that will be seen on TV and will need to be enough for fans.
For those who follow the lesser exposed sports, and many will agree they should be spotlighted more. Major league soccer is making strides in becoming a popular sport in the United States. It has taken many years and players coming the US from overseas to bring the sport to light beyond the youth and high school levels, but there is hope for the fans as more teams are being created and stadiums being built. There is no doubt the American soccer players have the talent to compete with those from around the world as was evident the last two years in the men’s and women’s world cup games. The women advancing to the finals this year was proof we mean business, and we have the talent.
For the diehard NASCAR fans, the sport is growing and more and more fans spend their weekends at the track amidst the roaring engines and dust. While like more sports it is not without it’s controversy, they do a fairly good job of focusing more on the sport itself and how they are advancing and the good the drivers and families do for communities and our military. This year as the season wound down and the “Race for the Cup” came to a close, the reign of Jimmy Johnson came to an end as Tony Stewart became the top driver for 2011 edging out Carl Edwards by mere seconds.
With all the ups and downs in sports this year, and the controversies plaguing college sports, we try to focus on the good that has happened and hope next year our favorite team, driver, or player will be on top and show the world what they are truly capable of.
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