By Jacob Kornhauser on July 24, 2014
Sports can make people feel things they've never felt before. There is something about a sports moment that can bring people to a place unmatched by anything else in the world. These are the 20 moments in sports that inspired that feeling in the entire nation.
When he was young and when he began his baseball career, Gehrig's father thought he was a joke. He certainly didn't see baseball as an honorable profession, but rather a glorified game. However, after one particularly great season, Gehrig's father accepted him and told him just how proud he was of him.
In the early morning of the Sunday when the Ravens were set to take on the Patriots on Sunday Night Football, receiver Torrey Smith got some terrible news. He found out that his brother had passed away, but he decided to play the same day in his honor. In a very inspiring effort, Smith pulled in six catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
The famous home run chase between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire is what may have saved baseball in 1998. Despite being on rival teams and competing in a home run chase, Sosa and McGwire were good friends. In a great show of sportsmanship, Sosa came out and gave McGwire a big hug on the field after he broke Roger Maris' single-season home run record against the Cubs.
After his father was tragically murdered, Michael Jordan appeared to possibly be in shambles. In fitting fashion though, the greatest basketball player of all time led the Bulls to their fourth championship in six seasons. What day did they clinch the title against the Supersonics on? Father's Day.
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 delayed the baseball season by seven days. On September 18 when the season resumed, the Yankees took on the White Sox at the new Comiskey Park (now called U.S. Cellular Field). A sign in the outfield read "Chicago Loves New York." For one night, everybody was a Yankees fan.
In an upset for the ages, Appalachian State blocked a field goal in the closing seconds to beat Michigan on their own field. For any non-Michigan football fans, it's one of the lasting moments in sports of this generation.
Jason McElwain, an autistic high school student, was his team's manager. That was until the team decided he should have a chance to play in a game. He didn't disappoint. Converting six 3-pointers and scoring 20 points in just four minutes, McElwain made the most of his opportunity and left his mark.
Jansen's sister died right before his Olympic run in speed skating and seemingly threw him off. However, in the following Olympics, Jansen channeled that and turned his sister's death into inspiration as he claimed Olympic gold.
Rutgers special teamer Eric LeGrand was tragically paralyzed on a special teams tackle during a regular season game. Serving as inspiration to the Ravens during their Super Bowl run, his positive attitude has him believing that he will one day walk again. With physical therapy, he's already making progress toward that goal.
In one of the most inspirational moments in baseball history in a non-game situation, Ted Williams appeared on the field at the 1999 All-Star Game at Fenway Park. A living legend, Williams got one final send-off at his home field.
In 2012, Dominic Moore lost his wife to cancer after an agonizing battle. While in mourning, Moore took the entire 2013 season off. However, he returned this season to play for the New York Rangers, his original franchise. As a role player, he scored the game-winning goal to send the Rangers to the Stanley Cup Finals.
After losing his dad in 2003, Favre decided to still play on Sunday Night Football against the Raiders. The Oakland fans were very supportive of the great quarterback and he proceeded to throw for four touchdowns and 311 yards ... in the first half. It was one of the most inspiring games ever played by a star player.
Western Oregon senior Sara Tucholsky sent a tape measure shot home run in a game against Central Washington. However, as she rounded first base, she suffered a torn ACL and fell to the ground. Unable to continue, she wouldn't be awarded a home run. Knowing she was deserving of a home run, her opponents helped carry her around the bases so she could get her home run, the last of her career.
In a real-life Hoosiers story, the Butler basketball team went on a run for the ages. Up against Goliath in the form of Duke, they were one shot away from winning it all. Nonetheless, it was one of the most inspiring tournament runs of all time.
Little Mary Lou Retton became the first American, man or woman, to win an Olympic gold medal in the gymnastics all-around competition. She became famous forever from this single performance and continues to live in Olympic history.
For a while, it seemed like it wouldn't happen. After Michael Sam became the first openly gay NFL prospect in history, his draft status was in serious question. However, the hometown St. Louis Rams took a chance and selected him in the seventh round. In a single moment, a social movement progressed immensely.
Documented by the hit book and movie The Blind Side, Michael Oher's amazing story is one of the most inspiring in sports history. He grew up in the slums without anyone to look up to. When the Touhy family took him in, his life changed forever. He took up football and the rest is history. Now he does seasonal work in Baltimore on Sundays.
In a very recent move, James' return to Cleveland was one of the most inspiring moves in sports history. His now-famous essay says all of the things that Cleveland fans have wanted to hear for four years now. It remains to be seen whether he and the city will get a storybook ending, but him coming back was certainly an amazing start.
"Red Sox fans have longed to hear it; the Boston Red Sox are world champions!" That was the call by play-by-play announcer Joe Buck when the Red Sox finally ended their nearly 90-year World Series drought. From coming back from 3-0 down against the rival Yankees in the ALCS to finally winning the World Series, the Red Sox' run was one of the most memorable in sports history.
Perhaps it is because of this moment that some sports fans believe in miracles. In one of the greatest upsets in sports history, a team of amateurs for the United States defeated a team of stars playing for USSR. It will go down in history as one of the greatest games, greatest upsets and greatest moments in sports history.
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