Hello from the modest 5-at-10 compound. We're spending time with the 5-at-10 clan and getting ready for Christmas.
For those new to the show, here's how we roll when the sports editor takes a hiatus. It's a mini-5-at-10, more of a single topic with 5 items, per se. So it goes.
Normally on Friday we handle five e-mail questions. Today, it being our vacation and all, we'll handle one question with a five-part answer. Enjoy. And enjoy the weekend. (Side note: Before we get started, everyone that is chasing for last place in the Winners/Losers Bowl-a-palooza is chasing the 5-at-10. That's right we're a perfect 0-1 after siding with Arizona State last night. As for the bowl challenge, we're planning on posting everyone's entries come Monday.)
On to the mailbag:
Short and sweet this week. What has been your favorite sports moment of 2011?
Great question, C-Vol. And before we get to our list, here's a shout out to C-Vol and Johnny Vols Fans everywhere for Thursday's news that five-star hoops recruit Jarnell Stokes picked UT. We've given it some thought, and amazingly, that's probably the highlight of the sports year in 2011 for a UT fan. That's hard to believe right, but what's better than that? The OT win over Vandy? (And you know it was an agonizing year for UT if beating Vandy in football is among the choices for best Vols' sports moment of the year.) Stokes picking UT — and picking Cuonzo Martin, who from this moment forward we'll refer to as the Conz, not unlike the Fonz from "Happy Days" because Coach is cool like that — is big.
That said, our top 5 is not short on highlights:
5) Doing the 5-at-10. This may sound silly, and it has been a lot of words considering we've had one every Monday through Friday for all of 2011, but this has been a lot of fun for two reasons. One for the classy and polite conversation that can be found here, and in an internet age where comment boards become more like combat zones, that's refreshing and a tribute to all of the regulars who follow the rules of this being a family-oriented, InterWeb-based sports column. Second, it has given us the chance to remember why we got into sports journalism — to write. Thanks all around.
4) It was an amazing year that was dotted with major events. The Packers winning the Super Bowl. Jimmer during college hoops regular season and Kimba and Butler stealing the show in the tournament. LeBron and the Heatles. It was a great year in local preps from the Best of Preps banquet with Drew Brees to the current Best of Preps tournament and all the stops in between. The Braves (and Red Sox) melting down.LSU and Alabama dominating college football. Sure there were some awful, evil stories that dominated the headlines for much of 2011. From the embarrassing NFL and NBA labor discontent of billionaires fighting against millionaires when more than 10 percent of our country can't find a job to the evilness of Jerry Sandusky real world angst and tragedy invaded our sports realm too frequently. But it still was a great year.
3) The Masters. The tournament was great, even if it will forever be known as Charl Schwartzel's only major title. The roars were everywhere and there were birdies and eagles all over the back nine. Plus Schwartzel did birdie the last four holes to win the tournament, which also will be remember for the Norman-esque meltdown of Rory McIlroy, who handled it as well as anyone could ever expect. (As a side note, we also got to play the Augusta National course on the Monday after the tournament. Made a birdie on No. 7 — lob wedge that almost went in for eagle let us a 2-footer. Made 10 pars, including an up-and-down from left of the green on No. 18. Made doubles on No. 1 after driving in the fairway, No. 11 after driving left and No. 12 after hitting into Rae's Creek.)
2) Auburn winning the BCS title. And yes, this was bigger than playing Augusta National since, this was the second time we've been able to play at the Masters since 2003, and who knows when Auburn will win another BCS title.
1) Every moment the 5-at-10 clan gets to spend outside running, playing baseball, soccer, football, basketball or whatever sport is the topic du jour (hmmm, that sounds good, we think we'll have that).
Enjoy the season gang, and Merry Christmas.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...