The Best, Worst, and Weirdest in Sports, 2013: Part 1

The year in sports provided many moments that no fan in his or her wildest imagination would conceive of. As does every year. Here are a few of them, taken two months at a time. Enjoy. J Meric/Getty


Ring in the New Year

Even though the calendar read January 1, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney applies the most ferocious hit 2013 would witness with his backfield blowup of Michigan running back Vincent Smith in the Outback Bowl. One wonders, with the new targeting rule that would be instituted come August, if Clowney might have been ejected for this hit. As the Gamecock announcer proclaims, “I mean he launched (Smith’s) helmet six yards behind him.”

Fight On!

A season that begins with Southern California ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll ends with the Trojans losing to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl and unranked. In the post-game locker room a “brawl” erupts when freshmen question the team’s senior leadership.

Mission Accomplished

Gabriella Ludwig, a 51-year-old Gulf War veteran who stands six-foot-six and, by the way, is a transsexual, suits up for the Mission College women’s basketball team in Santa Clara, Calif. The team will win its conference championship.

Own Goals

Jonathan Walters, a striker for Stoke City of the Barclays Premier League, scores two goals against Chelsea. The problem: both goals were shot into Stoke City’s net. Walters not only scored two “own goals” in the 4-0 loss, he misfired on a penalty kick late in the contest.

Denver’s Downer

How did Tim Tebow’s replacement at quarterback for the Broncos do? Peyton Manning leads Denver to the AFC’s best record (13-3) and then the Baltimore Ravens by a touchdown in the final minute of their divisional playoff game. Then Baltimore’s Joe Flacco connects on a 70-yard deep ball to Jacoby Jones with :31 remaining to send the game into overtime. The Ravens win. Ardent Tebow disciples will remind you that he still has more playoff wins as the Bronco starting QB than does Manning.

Romance versus Fauxmance

The 2013 college football national championship pits Notre Dame against Alabama. The Crimson Tide are led by quarterback A.J. McCarron, whose girlfriend, Katherine Webb, will turn out to be the game’s breakout star after ABC announcer Brent Musburger, 74, openly gushes about her beauty. The Fighting Irish are led by Heisman runner-up middle linebacker Manti Te’o, whose girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, will go from “recently deceased” to “hoax” one week later. Alabama wins, 42-14.

Lance’s OWN Goals

Lance Armstrong sits down with Oprah Winfrey and admits to doping (“it was one big lie”) during an interview that ran over two nights on her Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). Later, anti-doping officials will say that Armstrong, a former seven-time winner of the Tour de France who has been stripped of all titles and issued a lifetime ban from all competition, lied to Winfrey several times.

Gravity Always Wins

The sport is known as “Zorbing.” Our advice: Follow the bouncing ball. One of the two men inside the inflatable orb sustains fatal injuries.

“Hoosiers” Meets Cinema Verite

Inside Hinkle Fieldhouse, the same gym that was the site of Bobby Plump’s game-winning shot that would later be immortalized in the film Hoosiers, Butler’s Roosevelt Jones provides an encore. In a contest pitting the two “biggest little schools” in the country, Gonzaga and Butler, Jones steals an inbounds pass with 3.5 seconds remaining and then drains the game-winner for a 64-63 win. Watch Butler coach Brad Stevens react as if he just remembered to take out the garbage.


Truth In Advertising

On the eve of the Waste Management Open in Scottsdale, Ariz., actor Jason London (Dazed and Confused) is arrested on suspicion of assault and disorderly conduct. According to the police report, while being transported to the police station London intentionally defecated in his pants. The following day, Phil Mickelson shoots a first-round 60 at the PGA Tour stop.

More Truth In Advertising

On National Signing Day, Alabama nabs a defensive lineman by the name of Dee Liner.

The Blackout Bowl

Moments after Jacoby Jones (him again) returns a kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown to give the Baltimore Ravens a 28-6 lead early in the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVII, the New Orleans Superdome goes dark. A 34-minute delay ensues, and CBS misses an opportunity to air an episode of Two Broke Girls during the delay. The Ravens win, 34-31, though some of their players will allege an NFL-staged conspiracy.

Game of Foreshadows

Notre Dame, trailing Louisville by eight points with :47 remaining, outscores the Cardinals 12-4 to force overtime. Irish guard Jerian Grant scores all 12 points during the comeback. Notre Dame wins in five overtimes. Louisville will go on to win the national championship. Notre Dame will, 10 months later, squander an eight-point lead to Ohio State in the final minute and lose.

Rockets on Target

The Houston Rockets tie an NBA record by sinking 23 three-pointers in a 140-109 victory against the Golden State Warriors. The Rockets were without Carlos Delfino, who is injured and happens to be the team’s leading three-point shooter.

Death in South Africa

South African Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius, a double amputee, fatally shoots his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in the middle of the night in an upstairs bathroom adjacent to his bedroom. The shooting occurs on Valentine’s Day. Pistorius, who will claim that he believed Steenkamp was an intruder, will be charged with murder. The case has not yet gone to trial.

Great Skates

The Chicago Blackhawks skate through the first two months of the lockout-shortened NHL season without a defeat, going 17-0-3. Chicago scores a point in each of its first 24 games, going 21-0-3 before suffering a defeat at Colorado on March 8.

Yankee Doodles! (First in a Series)

In his first at-bat of the exhibition season, New York Yankee center fielder Curtis Granderson is plunked and suffers a fractured right forearm. The team’s home run leader the previous season, Granderson will miss all of spring training and the first 38 games of the season.

Trading Baskets

It was an unspectacular basketball game between Liberty University and Longwood University with 3:55 remaining. Longwood led 80-68. But in the final four minutes the two schools combined to score 55 points, as Longwood held off the Flames, 102-101. Extrapolated out to a full game, that would have been akin to a final score of 276-274.

Vonn’s Wreck

American alpine skier Lindsey Vonn, winner of four of the previous five World Cup overall season titles, crashes at an event in Austria and tears her ACL and MCL while also fracturing her tibial plateau. Tiger Woods sends his private plane to transport Vonn home to the United States.

Trading Paint

Working the pits before the Daytona 500, Fox’s Erin Andrews narrowly avoids becoming a certain rapper’s 50-Cent piece while searching for pole-sitter Danica Patrick. Shake and bake, indeed.

The Finish Line Beckons

Fauja Singh announces his retirement from marathon running at the age of 101, after an event in Hong Kong. Singh, nicknamed the “Turbaned Tornado,” ran his first marathon at the age of 89.

Stephen Steps Up

Golden State Warrior guard Stephen Curry scores 54 points at Madison Square Garden in a 109-105 loss to the New York Knicks. The only NBA players to eclipse that figure at MSG are Kobe Bryant (61), Bernard King (60 and 55), former Warrior Rick Barry (57) and Michael Jordan (55).