- US permits Arctic drilling, but questions about safety remain
- ISIS takeover of Ramadi means hard choices face the Iraqi and US governments
- State Roundup: Democrat sponsored prevailing wage amendment passes
- Facebook’s Instant Articles not a threat to media
- U of I expert: Rauner’s pension fix ‘unconstitutional’
- State Senate approves lesser penalties for marijuana possession
- State Roundup: Natural gas vehicle tax stalls in committee
- Raptors, Rangers FC announce June camp
- Student debt 101: dearth of data fuels common misperceptions
- ‘Millionaire tax’ clears House panel
A look back at the best sports stories of 2013
By Doug Halberstadt
This is the time of year when writers come up with lists. There seems to be a list for everything. So, I decided to join the crowd and compile my own list of the 12 most significant sports stories for 2013. The only catch for my list is I could only pick one per month.
In January, I chose the BCS Championship Game. It was played on Monday night, Jan. 7. It featured the No. 2-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide against the No. 1-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Alabama trounced the Irish 42-14, and the score was 35-0 at one point.
February always features the Daytona 500, and this is NASCAR’s version of the Super Bowl. The reason I chose this over the actual NFL Super Bowl earlier that same month was because of the local angle. Former Roscoe resident Danica Patrick won the pole for the race, and Jimmie Johnson and his crew chief, former Rockford resident Chad Knaus, took the checkers in the Feb. 24 race.
For me, March and sports can only mean one thing: March Madness. The NCAA college basketball tournament began March 19, and even though Louisville wasn’t crowned the champion until the second week in April, I still give the tournament top billing for March.
April brings the start of the Major League Baseball season, and for many, that would take the top spot for the month. Not for me. I like the tradition of the Masters. This year’s tournament was no disappointment. Adam Scott defeated Angel Cabrera on the second hole of sudden-death to become the first-ever Australian to win the coveted green jacket.
A horse named Orb won the Kentucky Derby May 4 at Churchill Downs and claimed the top sports story for May in my list.
June featured the NBA and NHL finals. For me, this was no contest. The Blackhawks winning the 2013 Stanley Cup dwarfed the Miami Heat’s NBA championship.
Summer belongs to baseball, and in the middle of July, MLB holds its All-Star Game. So, the 3-0 win by the American League was significant in that it secured the home-field advantage for the eventual World Series champion Boston Red Sox.
August was a relatively quiet month, so I’m going back to the world of professional golf, where we saw American Jason Dufner win his first major title at the 2013 PGA Championship.
Much like the NCAA basketball tournament has a lock on March, the start of the NFL season has a lock on September. The return of professional football always highlights the month for me. The Bears opened the year with a win over Cincinnati, and Green Bay started off with a loss to San Francisco back on Sept. 8.
The 109th edition of the World Series was played out in the final week of October. The Boston Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in the best-of-seven series. The Red Sox won the opener. Then, the Cardinals won the next two to take a 2-1 edge. Boston won the next three straight to capture its first World Series championship at Fenway Park since 1918.
November saw the Northern Illinois University Huskies win the final four games of the season to complete a perfect 12-0 season.
I’m going to list the Bears versus Green Bay Packers final game of the regular season as the December highlight. The winner will claim the division title, and the loser will spend the playoffs at home.
There’s a look at the 12 sports stories that made my list for 2013. I hope 2014 will be just as good!
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the Jan. 1-6, 2014, issue