I've enjoyed cheering for many winners but find the ones that came up short to be almost more memorable -- and still leave a little heartache behind.
- •1986 World CupAt 6-years old and living in Brazil, I discovered sports heartbreak. Like everyone else in the country, I expected a championship only to be disappointed by a second round exit. At the end of the match, I went back to my room, crawled into a hammock, and cried. Welcome to fandom.
- •1996 Alabama 1A-5A Soccer State ChampionshipAs a 1A team competing against schools much bigger than us, and carrying two years of disappointing playoff misses, my Mars Hill team rode our best team to the championship game to play John Carroll, a team playing the game on their home field, so arrogant and cocky that they held their Senior Night during halftime of the championship game, so sure they were that they'd be there. We lost 4-2, playing the second half down a man. Noble in defeat but frustrating to have been so close.
- •1996 World SeriesThe Braves were up 2-0 on the Yankees, going back to Atlanta for a sure sweep. The Team of the 90s was about to be crowned, only it wasn't to be my Braves. The Yanks took the next four games and I still get frustrated thinking what could have been with the rest of the decade of the Braves had won then.
- •2001 Lipscomb University Flag Football Semi-FinalsDown a score with about a minute to go, I threw a completion 30 yards to set up first and goal. We called timeout to catch our breath and set up QB option for me. I took the snap, faked the run, and tossed the pass right to the charging defensive end who turned it into a Pick 6.
- •2008 SEC Championship GameAlabama was a bit ahead of schedule getting to this game, but the wave of optimism that Bama was back gave me hope. Though Florida went on to win, the revenge in the following year that sent Tebow to tears and Urban to the hospital makes up for this loss.
- •2013 NBA Finals, Games 6 and 7With 29 seconds to go in Game 6, I allowed myself to think about the fact that Duncan was going to be Finals MVP 14 years apart and that the Spurs were going to solidify their place in history with their 5th title. Bouncing back and playing such a close 7th game proved how great this team was; the revenge tour of 2013-2014 makes this easier to swallow, but it hurt at the time.