My life has been filled with continual sports disappointment. It is not in the cards for a team I root for to win the championship in anything. I even have multiple 2nd place trophies from my sporting days as a youth.
I invest literally hundreds of hours watching my teams through the season, only to usually end the season with a loss.
In an attempt to exorcise the demons, I'm relating the top 5 disappointing games of my lifetime. (to this point) Enjoy my misery.
#5--1997 NBA finals. (Jordan fakes an illness)
For years, Stockton to Malone led the Jazz to 50+ win seasons.
In a hard-fought western conference finals over Houston, the Jazz found themselves in the finals for the first time. Unfortunately, they had to face Jordan and the Bulls.
The Bulls had home court, and held firm in the first 2 games to take a 2-0 lead in the series. Games 3 and 4 went to the Jazz at home.
Then came "the flu game." Rumor has it, that Jordan had woke up puking with food poisoning. The trainers told him there was no way he would be able to play in game 5. Did he play?? Duh.
After going unconscious in the 4th quarter, he single-handedly put the Jazz in the grave. Bulls by 2.
For all intents and purposes, the series was over. Game 6 had Steve Kerr as the Jazz killer...hitting a bucket to put the game away. Bull Win. Damn that Jordan.
Newly built Rice-Eccles stadium in Salt Lake City was the setting for another installment of the "Holy War." For those east of the Mississippi, the Utah-BYU rivalry is one of the most bitter in the country.
Utah was in the midst of a transformation. Amid years of losing to BYU in the 70's and 80's, Ron Mcbride had restored some semblance of pride in the Utah football program in the 90's, and we had enjoyed success against our rivals.
I was present at this game. It was hard fought, and back and forth. Utah was down by 2 and was mounting a last minute drive. After a big pass play to Steve Smith (Carolina Panthers fame) the Utes were down in field goal position. In comes the field goal unit to seal the victory with a 32 yard field goal. Freshman Ryan Kaneshiro calmly boots the ball straight for the uprights.
I actually didn't see the rest. The cannon indicating that the Utes had scored boomed through the stadium, and the crowd went berserk. I couldn't see the play on my end of the stadium.
The dust began to settle, and the tell-tale sign of the refs indicating "no good" silenced the crowd.
Kaneshiro had hit the upright, and it bounced off to the doom of the Utes....BYU wins. Religious zealots in the state of Utah go hog wild, and prepare thousands of tons of green jello in celebration.
#3--2002 World Series: SF Giants lose to those damn Angels. (Dusty Baker takes a rally monkey up the ass)
The Giants and Angels were both wild card teams riding hot streaks into the world series. Barry Bonds was at his big-headed best, and the Giants bullpen was unstoppable.
Fast forward to game 6. Giants are up in the series 3-2, and had a gem going with Russ Ortiz on the mound. With the Giants up 5-0 in the 7th, the Angels put a man on. Dusty Baker then makes the biggest mistake of his career. (besides buying those ugly glasses) He pulls Ortiz.
Let me explain. Up to this point in the series, if the Giants were up in the 6th, we'd throw our unstoppable bullpen at the Angels. First was the hard-throwing Felix Rodriguez. Fast-ball in the high 90's, and that's all he threw.
Then you'd see Scott Eyre, followed by Tim Worrell. Once we hit the 9th, Robb Nen would come in and seal the game.
Unfortunately, the Angels had seen these pitchers far too many times in the series, and had figured them out.
Rodriguez came in for Ortiz, and promptly gave up 3 runs. Moving forward to the 8th inning, and that damn drifter Scott Spiezo hits a 3-run bomb off Worrell over that joke of a right-field fence at Edison field.
Series over. The Giants were 8 outs from the best chance of a Series win.
I still hate that rally monkey.
#2--1998 NBA finals. (David Stern's forced Jordan win)
The Jazz were still smarting from their ousting of last years finals to the Bulls. This time, the Jazz were the best team in the league, and cruised through the playoffs to the finals.
Down 3-2 in the series, the series shifted back to Salt Lake City where the Utah crowd gave a definite home court advantage.
Fast forward to the 4th quarter of game 6.
First the Stern-forced refs called a shot clock violation on the Jazz in which replay showed that Howard Eisley got the shot off in time.
The Jazz take a 3 point lead with 41 seconds left.
Jordan makes a layup, and the Jazz get the ball back.
Karl Malone solidifies his "greatest NBA playoff choker of all time" status by getting the ball stripped by Jordan. And then the magic occurs. (Stern magic)
Bryon Russell was guarding Jordan. Jordan crosses over just inside the 3-point line, pushes Russell blatantly to the ground, and calmly hits the shot that is replayed over and over again as one of his best.
Later, Karl Malone and Dennis Rodman would meet in the WCW ring in an exhibition wrestling match. Oh how the mighty have fallen.
#1--1998 NCAA title game. (Kentucky can burn in Hell)
After losing Keith Van Horn to graduation the year before, the Utes did not appear to be as strong as the season previous.
Ultimately, Andre Miller and Michael Doleac led the Utes to new heights.
After getting a (rip-off) #3 seed in the NCAA tournament, they cruised along to the elite 8. Here, they faced Arizona and Mike Bibby. Rick Majerus instituted a triangle and two defense to combat Bibby, and the Utes rolled to a big win.
Next they faced North Carolina in the final four. UNC was the favorite by many to win it all. Featuring an all-star lineup of Vince Carter, Antwan Jamison, and Brendan Haywood, UNC was no match for Miller and Doleac. Utes win...on to the finals.
The Utes faced Kentucky in the finals, and cruised to a 10 point lead at half-time. In the end, our thin bench was our downfall, and Ron Mercer and Scott Padgett rolled us over for a Kentucky victory.
This was as close as I've ever been to a championship victory for my favorite team. It still hurts.
Majerus promptly went to chuck-o-rama and ate his weight in dinner rolls.
Is it so much to ask for one redeeming championship in any sport? Just one?? Karma owes me.