Before I really start diving into my top sports moments of the decade, it’s important to give out some honorable mentions.
Derek Jeter’s walk-off single in his final game at Yankee Stadium was certainly a difficult one to cut along with the 2016 NCAA men’s basketball championship between North Carolina and Villanova. The Auburn miracles in 2013 are certainly high up on most people’s list but I did not know which one to pick then I forgot about both of them while making the rest of my top five.
So, let’s get into the top five.
5. A top seed falls
For the first time in the history of the NCAA Tournament, a No. 16 seed defeated a No. 16seed when UMBC knocked off Virginia in March 2018. The best part about this moment was not some fluky shot or exciting finish but UMBC completely outplayed the overall top seed, winning by 20 points and doing so with the best Twitter account of the tournament — which is obviously an important factor in these rankings.
4. The Chicago Cubs win again
You do not have to be a baseball fan to understand the magnitude of the Cubs winning the 2016 World Series but it helps if you are one.
This series was not just about breaking a century-long curse but it was actually an incredible series with highly entertaining baseball. The Cubs erased a 3-1 series deficit and won an all-time great Game 7 in extra innings to take home the trophy.
3. American Pharoah wins the Triple Crown
Horse racing had gone more than three decades without a Triple Crown champion but that all changed when American Pharoah eased his way past the competition and secured the final leg with a five-length victory at the Belmont Stakes.
It’s one of those moments I can watch over and over again and still get chills. It did not take as long to see another Triple Crown champion but I am not sure there will be another one that feels quite like American Pharoah’s.
2. A pair of soccer memories
Speaking of moments that give you chills, I cheated a little bit for No. 2 because I could not pick between the two so I’m combining my two favorite soccer moments into one.
The first was at the very beginning of the decade as Landon Donovan’s stoppage-time winner to send the U.S. men’s national team into the knockout stage of the 2010 World Cup. Sometimes if I am in a bad mood, I just go back to listen to Ian Darke exclaim, “You cannot write a script like this.” And everything is immediately better.
The second came just a few years later as the women’s national team’s turn to made noise on the world’s biggest stage. Carli Lloyd scored a hat trick in the first 16 minutes of the 2015 final to help send the U.S. to a 5-2 win over Japan and the first trophy since 1999.
1. Woods gets back on track
Tiger Woods had one of the most dominant decades in professional sports history but he fell off the top of the world through scandals and back problems. He returned and looked good at times but it was not until this past April when he completed the comeback.
Woods’ victory at Augusta, Georgia was one of the best sports moments of my lifetime, not just of this decade, and it will stay near the top of that list forever.
Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for The Tribune.