There may never be another era in sports like the one that began in Boston when I was 14 years old.
My father was the biggest sports fan I still have ever known; a dedicated fan of all things sports in spite of the blackouts, droughts and curses. He passed away on Oct. 20, 2000. Eleven months later, Tom Brady started his first game for the New England Patriots against the Indianapolis Colts, and everything changed. I'd like to think that the relentless, die-hard, borderline unreasonable nature of his fandom carried into Pete' Fox's next life, and that he had a little something to do with what was to come.
So as I reminisce over my first 28 years of life, I figured I would share some of my very favorite sports moments with you. You can bet that eight of them will be very predictable.... 21st century hint: #CHAMPIONSHIPS. The rest are the moments that I treasure most, whether I remember watching them live, reliving them through highlights or seeing them over and over as I covered them from a sports newsroom. Since this is a labor of love, this piece will be delivered in four installments with seven iconic moments each day over the next four days.
In no particular order, here are my first seven!
Pedro Martinez in Game 5 of 1999 ALDS
Some of the greats step up and do things that vault them to the next level of our collective sports consciousness. This was one of those moments; because Pedro went full on bad-ass. His health was in question after he left his Game 1 start with a back injury. With the series tied 2-2 and the game tied 8-8, the ailing starter was called upon to relieve Derek Lowe heading into the 4th inning. He went on to pitch 6 innings with no hits and eight strikeouts to lead them to the win they needed to move on to the ALCS. One of the best Red Sox starters ever, delivering one of its best relief performances ever? Yeah, that's CLASSIC Pedro and classic Boston.
Tim Thomas' Entire 2011 Postseason
-Conn Smythe Trophy Winner.
-Vezina Trophy Winner.
-First goaltender ever to post a shutout in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals on the road.
-2011 Postseason GAA: 1.98
-2011 Postseason Save %: .940
-Set the record for saves in the postseason, including saving 238 of 246 shots taken by the Vancouver Canucks in the Finals.
Drew Bledsoe in 2001 AFC Championship Game
Before Tom Brady and Bill Belichick began their work on the first football dynasty in New England, Drew Bledsoe was the lone beacon of hope for Pats fans. He was the golden boy come to save a lowly and downtrodden franchise looking for rebirth, and had even lead them to a Super Bowl appearance four years earlier. Because of that, the ride to the Super Bowl with Brady was a bittersweet one for many fans. We'd always thought it would be Bledsoe. So when Drew took the field in Heinz Stadium against the dreaded Steelers that day, it was a chance for fans to celebrate a fitting last game for the player that was supposed to be our savior. He was our first great quarterback, and I'll never forget that game.
| || |
Paul Pierce in Game 7 of 2008 Semifinals
Pierce may not be as popular outside of New England as Tom Brady or David Ortiz, but he's definitely alongside them on my generation's "Boston sports Mount Rushmore". No game captured his down and dirty, I-want-it-more style of play than Game 7 against the Cavaliers. With a minute left and the game on the line, Pierce won possession of a jump ball after diving to the floor and wrestling it away from Lebron James and another Cav. His stat line you ask? 41 PTS, 4-6 3PM-A, 11-12 FTM-A, 4 REB, 5 AST. It was a performance for the ages on their run to the NBA Finals, and it was #34 at his most briliant.
Patriots at Giants in Week 17, 2007
There have been countless NFL teams across the years that have had dominating regular seasons, but the 2007 Patriots were arguably the greatest regular-season team of all time. They are still the only team to go 16-0 in the regular season, and they did it while steamrolling their opponents; outscoring them by an NFL record 315 points. Their final regular season game was full of emotional ups and downs, and although the Pats sealed their close 38-35 win when Mike Vrabel recovered a Giants on-side kick attempt, the win would become even more poetic and tragic than we could know at the time. (DAVID TYREE!! WHY?!!!) Yet in that glorious moment of rarefied perfection, all was as right with the NFL world as it had ever been for the fans in New England.
Pierce and KG Return to Boston
Patriots Enter Superdome as Team in
Super Bowl XXXVI
Come back tomorrow to check out Part 2 of The 28 Greatest Sports Moments in the Life of a Young Boston Fan!