2016…It was the year of the underdog. It doesn’t matter what sport, what code you live and breathe…upsets and moments of history almost certainly occurred. The thing about the 2016 sports season was that it was like no other. The combination of unlikely heroes is something that couldn’t possibly be foreseen, a once in history type of season. Or is it?
2017 provides us sports fans another chance to sit on the couch and cry, cheer, sing or whatever may occur throughout the gruelling season we experience as fans. It’s an odd season. The prospect of any team winning seems more and more like a possibility, which is thanks to key moments in the season passed.
- Leicester City
At 5000 to 1 odds, Leicester City were no chance to win the premier league title. Even with 5 games to go in the season, people will still in denial about the impossible becoming a reality. Led by Captain Morgan and the very popular Jamie Vardy, Leicester started the season strong but managed to do it while flying under the radar. It wasn’t until Vardy neared what would be his record breaking goal (for most consecutive games scored in) that people really began to pick up on what proved to be even then, an astonishing start to the 2015/16 season.
Then when Christmas came around, the comparisons to the season before were released, leaving many baffled to say the least. In 2014/15 at that same point in the season they were 16th, facing relegation. 365 days later, in the 2015/16 season, they were at the top of the pile. Months passed and Leicester managed to stay at the top, but people still couldn’t quite comprehend what was playing out in front of their eyes.
It wasn’t until a Spurs v Chelsea game when the unthinkable occurred. After a strong start, Spurs drew 2-2 leaving Leicester with a lead on the ladder that couldn’t be reached. They were champions. Within minutes social media went crazy, with an iconic video of the Foxes celebrating the win as a team.
- Cleveland Cavaliers
LeBron James was ridiculed for his move to the Miami Heat, a move which was ultimately all about chasing rings, something that wasn’t going to happen with the state of the Cavs at the time. Then a few seasons passed and LeBron came home. He changed the way they played, making them a championship contender. In the 2014/15 season, they lost in the NBA finals to the Golden State Warriors, a team which have to be considered a rival. Then a year later, the same two teams met in the finals. The Warriors held a 3-1 lead, they couldn’t possibly lose…but as social media has shown over the last 6 months, they did. In game seven the Cavs seemed to want it more. LeBron pulled off a block which will always be remembered, engraved into the history books. Then with their last possession of the game, Kyrie Irving pulled off a clutch three point shot, while fooling the unanimous MVP in the process. The part of the story that really stuck out though was post-game. The finals MVP in LeBron James, a fully grown man in tears. “Cleveland…this is for you!” Lebron famously stated whilst overcome with tears. It was an awesome thing to see. It shows how important sport is not only to athletes, but to the fans. It’s what sport is all about.
- Chicago Cubs
108 years. That’s a long time. That’s how long it took the Cubs to win the World Series (baseball/MLB). They got close in the season beforehand but last year, they pulled it off.
A series that went to game seven, the Cubs led early against the Cleveland Indians but they pulled it back. It went to an extra innings where the Cubs managed to score, putting the Indians under immense pressure. Two outs down, an Indians batsman hit it along the ground directly to the Cubs pitcher, who threw it to the first baseman.
To say the crowd erupted would be an understatement. The curse of the billy goat was over, those shirts that stated ‘just win once before I die’ could finally be thrown away, they were finally champions. An awesome story that came from this was a man and his deceased father. He promised to listen to it with his dad, so that’s what he did. He took a radio and a chair and sat there next to his dads’ grave, experiencing history together one last time.
It was a year that will forever be remembered as incredible. Will be see one like it again? It’s unlikely but after a year like that you can’t say otherwise. These three teams above to me show what sport is all about. Passion. That’s something that we need to see more of in sport, and 2017 seems like a good place to start. So enjoy it sports fans.