Monday, January 9, an all-time classic College Football National Championship unfolded before America’s eyes. The Clemson Tigers faced off with the Alabama Crimson Tide, in a rematch of last years’ National Championship game, in which Alabama won in dramatic fashion. Clemson had their hearts set on redemption and it would all come to fruition. After Alabama scored a touchdown to go up three, with two minutes remaining, Clemson got the ball back with a chance to tie or win the game. A two minute drill for the National Championship. Facing a historic Alabama defense, Clemson made big play after big play. On first and goal from the two yard line with six seconds left, the National Championship would be decided on one play. Clemson Quarterback Deshaun Watson found Wide Receiver Hunter Renfroe in the endzone with one second left to win the National Championship game. Although the actual game was fantastic, the story behind it is what makes it that much more incredible. A team seeking redemption. A team desperately trying to give their fans a national championship after a 35 year drought. They succeeded and in dramatic fashion.
After this game, I began to look back on the past year and I can’t help but think of how lucky we are as fans. 2016 gave us Peyton Manning riding off into the sunset by winning a Super Bowl in his final game. It gave us Lebron and the Cavs overcoming a 3-1 deficit against the Warriors to bring Cleveland a long awaited championship, in an amazing game seven. It gave us a buzzer beater to win the College Basketball National Championship for Villanova. It gave us the Cubs winning their first World Series in 108 years, by winning a classic game seven. Like I said earlier, it isn’t the actual games that make these stories what they are. It’s the people. The communities. The fans who live and die by every shot, every snap and every pitch. The sons hugging their dads in triumph after a big win. The common person who goes to work the next day, a little happier because their team won last night. The athletes and coaches who have spent almost their whole lives chasing a dream and achieving it. Sports are the best reality TV. The emotions are real. The storylines are real. Most importantly, the people are real. Everything you see is authentic human emotion and that’s pretty awesome.
In a time where we all seem so divided, sports bring us together. When you are a fan of a team, you are part of a community that does not care who you voted for or what you do for a living. We are all fans. Celebrating wins and mourning losses together, like you’ve known each other forever. Sports are family.
This past year I witnessed all time classic games with my best friends, my family and every sports fan. Through it all, the highs, the lows, the heart breaks and the triumphs. Whether I was jumping up and down in celebration or gripped with disbelief, it was all worth it. So, no matter what 2017 brings us, sports will always be there as an escape from the seriousness of life, and I think that is something we all can appreciate.