Memorable Personal Moments in Sports

Madeline stranded in the middle of the pool, heartbroken because she couldn’t finish the race.

A couple of weeks ago, I asked Facebook friends to tell me about their best moment in sports, whether from a personal, team or fan standpoint. Below is some of what I got in return.

Mine, I think, was when my grandgirl, Madeline, who began the season not a swimmer, bolted off the blocks in the 50m freestyle in the City-County meet and roared to a win, looking like she had a motor. My son asked, wide-eyed and jaw dropped, “Is that Madeline?!?”

I’ve been involved in organized, unorganized, disorganized, individual and team sports since I could walk, but nothing beat that, especially considering that Madeline had failed to finish a 50mm freestyle three weeks earlier and was left weeping alone in the middle of the pool. It was redemption at its best and it showed me that the little girl I love so is tough as hell.

Madeline with her motor on full throttle.

Anne Sampson Not a moment but a process. I was not an athletic little kid and I got tired of being picked last. Asked my parents for a softball bat and ball, and went up and down my dad’s 2 acres, throwing the ball up and trying to hit it. Became a pretty good hitter, no more last on the team. I still have the bat.

 Scott Martin Personal? Looking at the New River Gorge from a raft and thinking there was no way I could ever kayak something that big. Then, getting good enough to kayak it. Team: Being at the fiesta bowl where Boise State upset Oklahoma.

Fred Sachs Personal: Telling the coach, who wanted to punt on 4th down in our territory, that we could get that first down. I got the ball and the first down. Powerful memory.Observed: Tiger getting three birdies on his last three holes at the Greenbrier Classic. Tough creative shots, tough putts, incredible display of what made him the greatest in his prime. It felt like a gift to get to see that.

Jana Joyce I love a great football story! Loving football came natural growing up with Coach Eddie Joyce, and Eddie Jr. (Note: The Joyces were Salem icons in the 1960s and 1970s.)

Jeanne Fishwick Personal: As my oldest son approached the 18th green in the High School district tournament, it was clear he wasn’t going to qualify for States. As he trudged up the long green, players from four different high schools gathered at the flag, chanted his name and celebrated his high school golf career. He was never a star, but always a soldier and a gentleman. So proud!
David Simpkins Personal: Being a two-year starter and a tri-captain of the very first State Champion football team in Radford High School history in 1971-72. (Note from Dan: I covered that team for The Roanoke Times.)
Diana Christopulos Making a diving catch for the last out and 8th grade intramural championship as pitcher for my homeroom softball team at Aliamanu Intermediate School in Honolulu. Our opponents were big, tough kids – one girl carried razor blades in her bouffant hairdo. From that day on they respected us and were our friends. Ooh, and successfully running a Class III/IV monster in a solo boat in Desolation/Grey Canyon section of Green River in Utah. Ruined me for life!

First place!Dale Allen 1961 Paul Coffey League Champions Roanoke City Little League. South East Lions Club.

Shelley Luke Winning a NYC Open Karate Championship in the center ring of Felt Forum in Madison Square Garden. Glory days.
Jim Hammerstrom I guess my personal sports accomplishment would be starting on the varsity as a freshman at center of the Howard University football team in 1969. After that it would be as the coach of the South City Knights (SE Roanoke) sandlot football team to the city wide championship three years in a row. And we won two out of those three. One other would be the honor of coaching future NBA star George Lynch in Little League football.
Carter Turner August 29, 2000, the Rockies are playing the Braves. The game went to extra innings and the Rockies actually ran out of pitchers. In the 12th, they put catcher Brent Mayne on the mound – a guy who had never pitched in his life – ever, at any level. But somehow he got the ball over the plate and got the win. And the best part – asshole John Rocker got the loss for the Braves. Best game I ever saw!
Joe Cobb Three consecutive 3-point shots in Jr. High intramural basketball.
Lana Whited My son Brandon’s first soccer goal, because by the time he scored it (at five), he had already cried through about half the game because he was afraid to go in. (In the end, he scored four times, and his team won, 5-1.)

A happy little girl who overcame adversity.

Jennifer Grover Winning the Team gold medal at the National Pony Club eventing rally while riding with the Highlands Pony Club team from Radford in Middleburg, VA. In 1972.

We beat teams from all over the country and kids who were on or later made our US Olympic Team. Silver medal at Nationals the following two years at Omaha, Neb. And Columbus, OH. We had our “B” ratings and competed in dressage, cross-country jumping, stadium jumping, written test and stable management scores. The medals were for the total combo for four riders in all those divisions, jumps 3 feet, 6 inches.

Then achieving my “A” rating, an internationally recognized standard including all the above categories plus veterinary, teaching and training standards, given by national examiners over a four day testing on horses they chose and provided. Pretty exciting for a pack of hard working dedicated kids and instructors from Radford and Blacksburg riding inexpensive local horses we begged borrowed and trained ourselves! And hauled to rallies in an old cabbage truck.

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