By Austin Santiago
Published: December 12th, 2018
It may be said every year, but this year was like no other in the world of sports. Every year, sports fans are lucky to witness incredible stories of victory, defeat, triumph, and even heartbreak. 2018 was no different.
We saw the underdog Philadelphia Eagles take down the machine that is the New England Patriots at the Super Bowl. We saw the Golden State Warriors win their fourth NBA title in three years and establish a new kind of dominance in the association. We saw the Boston Red Sox overcome their naysayers and win a World Series. The winners of 2018 will always be remembered.
But in 2018, we saw sports do so much more than give us a new set of champions. Perhaps the most important thing that sports has to offer is unity. Regardless of where you live, or what team you root for sports have certain knack for bringing people together. In 2018 the sports world came together in a time of tragedy in order to honor the lives of the Humboldt Broncos, a Canadian junior hockey team that was involved in a major bus crash, which saw 16 young men lose their lives. In both Canada and the U.S. hockey sticks were left out on front porches over night to honor those who were lost in the crash. And through the efforts of the NHL and other sport organizations, over $15 million was raised to support the families of said victims. Not only did sports help many overcome tragedy this year, it also overcame political strife, even if for a brief moment in time.
The Olympics serve as a time to bring the best athletes in the world together and celebrate unity through competition, and a chance for those athletes to represent their respective homelands. However, many were amazed to see a unified North and South Korea walk into the 2018 Olympics together. Considering the two nations have been separated since 1945, their walk together offered a brief snapshot of complete unity. Not only did we see political differences, and tragedy overcome in the world of sports this year, but we also saw a number of barriers begin to be broken down.
In the NBA, Becky Hammon became the first woman to interview for a head coaching position when met with the Milwaukee Bucks over the summer and became a prime candidate for the job. Although the Bucks ultimately went in a different direction, the fact that Hammon, who has been an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs since 2014, came so close tells us that although the barrier hasn’t been broken yet, it could be very soon. But perhaps the most captivating thing we saw from sports in 2018 was the emergence of the underdog. In march, we all saw the incredible story of the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers, the unknown college that went into March Madness as an 11-seed and managed to make it all the way to the Final Four. And history was made in the very first round of that same tournament when UMBC, a 16-seed, defeated the number one seed Virginia. Before that game, teams that were a 16-seed were 0-135 against No.1 teams.
History was made and dreams were realized, not only in the NCAA but also in the NHL. In 2018, the NHL unveiled its newest expansion team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights. Like any expansion team, its roster consisted of rejects from around the league. But those rejects played with a serious chip on their shoulder and they took a franchise to the Stanley Cup Final in the first year of its existence. In 2018, the world of sports taught us that anyone can do anything with enough passion and drive.
As we look into the New Year, we anticipate more incredible stories from the world of sports. Stories of underdogs, stories of unity, stories of tragedy and how people come together to rise above it. Through all of these stories, we sports writers will be there. We will write to make sure that these incredible stories keep their place in history.