2016 may have been one of the best years ever in sports on both the national and international scene. Not only because the Chicago Cubs ended the Curse of the Billy Goat, but also Believeland, or better known as Cleveland, came back from a 3-1 NBA Finals deficit to win the NBA Championship in seven!
Let's start with perhaps the biggest sports story of the year, and that's the Cubs. Trailing in their best of seven series, 3 games to 1 with one home game remaining. The North Siders pulled off the improbable comeback after blowing both 4-run and 3-run leads in game seven, only to win it in the Top of the 10th on base hits by World Series MVP, Ben Zobrist, and Miguel Montero denying Cleveland back-to-back championships in the NBA and MLB.
The Cavaliers gave Cleveland their first title, in any sport, since 1964. The Cavs had to win 2 of their last 3 on the road. Game 7 was in the balance until Lebron James came up with a huge block to secure the victory over the Golden State Warriors, who, by the way, broke the Chicago Bulls record for wins in a regular season as they finished 73-9.
Speaking about going out on top, no one made the State of Tennessee, and Central Indiana for that matter, more proud than Peyton Manning as he led the Denver Broncos to a Super Bowl 50 win over the Carolina Panthers, 24-10. Manning, who only threw for 141 yards and an interception, went out the same way his GM, John Elway, did and rode off after the Championship.
The biggest Cinderella story may have come in the English Premier League, that's soccer, or futbol, as they say across the pond. Leicester City, who have been in existence for 132-years, won their first title ever, defying 5,000-1 odds to send the soccer world into a tizzy. They were on the brink of being downgraded a level because of their record and pulled off the improbable, winning seven of their nine final games to avoid the demotion.
Don't forget about the magic in Rio and the Summer Olympics. Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian in history capturing six more medals, and how about Usain Bolt, the world's fastest man, from Jamaica, reclaiming his title in the 100 meters, for the third consecutive year, as well as the 200 meter crown for the third time as well.
Katie Ledecky, swimmer, and Simone Biles, gymnast, both dominated their respective events as well.
To cap it off, the Cleveland Browns finally won their first game of the season last week with a win over the San Diego Chargers keeping the 2008 Detroit Lions as the last winless team in the NFL. OK, maybe that’s not a huge sports story, but it’s Cleveland, and they need all the love they can get.
If you're looking for something to do next weekend, head down to Southmont for the Sugar Creek Classic, sponsored by The Paper. It's guaranteed to be a great event with Crawfordsville, North Montgomery, Southmont and Western Boone all participating. The Stars are the reigning champs, but the Athenians, Chargers and Mounties will look to have a say to bring home the oar this year.