SDS Roundtable: What is your most painful sports memory?
Each SDS roundtable discussion involves the SDS staff providing individual answers and comments to questions covering a wide range of sports and non-sports topics. In this discussion, we ask the question: What is your most painful sports memory?
Previous roundtable discussions:
- If you could change 1 thing about college football, what would it be?
- What are you watching right now?
- Who is your favorite SEC football player of all-time?
- What are your 3 favorite postseason moments involving SEC teams?
- Which 4 SEC athletes are on your Mount Rushmore?
Jon Cooper, SDS co-founder
Regionals in college: At UCF, we made it to the baseball regionals at FSU in 2004. It was No. 1 FSU, No. 2 Oklahoma State, No. 3 UCF and No. 4 Bethune-Cookman. We worked our way through the bracket following an early loss to FSU only to have to beat them twice to advance to the Super Regionals.
We beat the Noles in the first game, and we got pounded the second game.
We ran out of pitching, and they exploited it. Stephen Drew mashed us during that series, and a blowout loss in a game-deciding doubleheader was the most painful sports memory I have.
Connor O’Gara, Senior national columnist
My initial reaction is to say Steve Bartman in 2003, but honestly, I was only 13. I didn’t have the perspective of what that loss meant just yet. More painful was watching the Cubs dominate the entire 2008 season and being more amped up than ever for the postseason … only to see them get swept in 3 games by a steroid-fueled Manny Ramirez and the Dodgers.
As a freshman in college, that was a tough pill to swallow because every game was such an event. Every loss was just a dagger to the soul. The fact that it had been exactly 100 years since the Cubs’ last World Series gave me (and others) the false sense of hope that the drought would inevitably come to an end. That made 2016 that much sweeter.
Chris Marler, The SDS Podcast co-host
So I grew up where one side of my family was from Anniston, Ala., and the other side was from Braintree and Mansfield, Mass. I am admittedly one of the worst combinations of fans ever — a Red Sox and Alabama fan. The Kick-6, or even the Camback game, is the easy answer here for a lot of Bama fans. However, I’ll give you 2 that hurt worse for me.
Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS: Before the Red Sox became a version of the money-grubbing evil empire of their own, they were actually fun to cheer for. This Chicago Cubs-like lovable underdog. The Sox had a 5-2 lead with 5 outs to go in the Game 7 of the Bronx. Grady Little pulled Pedro Martinez and the Sox did what the Sox always did up until that point, they blew it. My father was in the bathroom as they came back from commercial break with Aaron Boone up to bat. He was the lucky one because he never saw that ball land in the left field seats and still hasn’t to this day.
The 2016 national title game loss to Clemson is the one that stings the most as an Alabama fan. I maintain that that team is the best Bama team I’ve seen in the Nick Saban era. Jalen Hurts was the SEC Offensive POY as a Freshman, the defense led the country in 3 of the 4 major statistical categories, and had a ridiculous 15 non-offensive touchdowns. They had a streak of 7 consecutive games to start the season with at least 1 non-offensive TD.
So many things went wrong for that team leading to that last-second loss. Lane Kiffin leaving midweek during national title game prep, Bo Scarborough breaking his leg in the 4th quarter with a 2 TD lead, and of course, an offensive play call that would later become targeted as illegal by NCAA officials. That team was ridiculous, and it sucked to see them come up short to a really good Clemson team.
Dustin Schutte, Saturday Tradition editor
Anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge Indiana Pacers fan. My biggest sports heartbreak dates to the 1998 NBA Playoffs when the Pacers played the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals. It was Game 7 and Indiana had a lead midway through the 4th quarter. I thought for sure the Pacers would be the team to end Michael Jordan’s run.
Obviously, that didn’t happen. That Pacers team (I still argue) was the best ever assembled and couldn’t get to the NBA Finals. As a kid, I was devastated for weeks.
Michael Bratton, News editor
You can basically pick most Tennessee-Florida games for me, but the one that stands out as the worst came during the 2015 season in Gainesville.
If you’ve forgotten how that one went down, Tennessee took a 26-14 lead after scoring a touchdown in the 4th quarter and for some reason, Butch Jones called for an extra point to go up 27-14 instead of attempting a 2-point conversion that could have made the score 28-14.
That wasn’t even the worst of it, as Tennessee was still leading 27-21 with under 2 minutes to play and the Gators facing a 4th-and-14 with the game on the line. It’s bad enough to give up the 1st down in that situation, but somehow the Vols got caught with their pants down as Antonio Callaway busted loose for a 63-yard touchdown on the play.
Tennessee then managed to get the ball back and drive into field goal range in order to attempt a game-winning kick. Initially, the kick appeared to be on target before sailing just wide of the goal post. Butch Jones jumped in celebration as if the kick were good, it was that close.
Of all the Florida wins over Tennessee, that one was the worst. Florida won 28-27.
Chris Wright, Executive editor
I’m still not over the 1977 NCAA Tournament final. My boyhood hero, Phil Ford, had helped North Carolina fight back from 39-27 halftime deficit. The Heels opened the 2nd half with a 16-4 run. Marquette was reeling. The Omni, with a partisan UNC crowd, came alive when Walter Davis’ baseline jumper tied it at 43. A steal and bucket gave UNC its first lead since the opening minutes at 45-43. Then … disaster. With all the momentum and still way too much time left, more than 12 minutes, Ford pulled up near halfcourt and flashed those familiar 4 fingers. Normally, that meant victory was just minutes away. Normally, we anticipated and celebrated that. Heck, every rec team in the Triangle closed out games by going into the 4 corners. Or maybe just mine. Definitely mine.
I was 10 and immediately screamed at the TV. “Nooooooo! It’s too early!!!” That was the first time I ever questioned Dean Smith. Judging by my mom’s reaction, you would have thought I took the Lord’s name in vain.
UNC’s offense literally came to a screeching halt. The Heels kept it close, but Marquette found its footing and pulled away for a 67-59 victory. UNC has won 5 NCAA titles since then, but that 1977 loss left a scar that will never heal.
At least it prepared me extremely well for that ill-fated slider Mitch Williams threw to Joe Carter in 1993.