Straight Talk

Deck the halls with loads of underdogs


“I can’t rainbow.”

Niki Smithers, Sports Editor

Dear Santa,
All my life I’ve been taught that Christmas is about giving, not receiving. So instead of asking for anything, I want to say thank you for all that I have received as a fan.
Thank you for one of the most exciting, record-setting years the sports world has had since 1991, when Christian Laettner led Duke to the National Championship after topping the undefeated UNLV, and Michael Jordan executed the layup that left him suspended in air. 2015 has been full of comeback wins and triumph for some of America’s favorite teams, but most of all, it’s been the year of the underdog.
We’ve been able to see underdogs, like the Golden State Warriors, rise out of the ashes. Lead by Davidson University’s Stephen Curry, the Warriors were able to top Lebron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers in just six games. After winning the 2015 NBA title, Curry lead the Warriors to a 24-0 start, which is the best in NBA history.
But the Warriors aren’t the only ones we have seen make history. The Carolina Panthers set the records for most consecutive wins in NFC history, going 17-0 in their last 17 regular season games. We all thought the Patriots, Colts, Seahawks and Packers were going to dominate the NFL this season. Instead, we see the Panthers, Bengals and Cardinals leading the charge. I don’t think anyone, other than Panthers fans, expected them to do so well.
At the beginning of the college football season, experts and fans expected teams like Ohio State and Notre Dame to go undefeated and compete for the BCS National Championship. I don’t think anyone expected to see the Clemson Tigers go 13-0 and claim the No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoffs. If the Tigers continue their success, they may go down as one of the best teams in college football history.
Clemson plays their home games in a stadium nicknamed “Death Valley.” The entire United States could be considered “Death Valley” for international women’s soccer teams who come to play the U.S. Women’s National Team. The USWNT has an unbeaten streak of 101 when they play in the United States. They have had just as much success, if not more, than any other sports team in America this year. Despite having been named the underdogs in the semi-finals of the World Cup, the USWNT beat Germany, 2-0. In the finals, we watched the women pummel Japan, who they lost to in the 2011 finals.
The USWNT is a powerhouse in women’s soccer that won’t be going anywhere for a few years. Baseball, on the other hand, saw a lot of their powerhouse teams fade away. The Yankees and Cardinals both made it to the playoffs, but neither made it past the second round. Instead, we got to watch teams that have had past success regain their momentum. I never would’ve thought the Mets and the Royals would be duking it out for the MLB World Series Championship. The Royals were terrible for almost 30 years, but they’ve crawled out of their hole, making it to the last two World Series Championships.
Here at SHS, we were also exposed to great sports. The Southport vs. Evansville Reitz boys basketball game was a moment that nearly 7,000 people were able to experience. The game came down to the final minute, as the Cardinals scraped past Reitz, 88-80. The Cardinals solidified their right to call themselves the best basketball team in the state that day, and the definition of Hoosier Hysteria was reborn.
To say that this year’s sports were awesome is an understatement for the excitement 2015 brought. I’m thankful to have had the chance to witness some of the best games and seasons sports has ever had. Everyone else should be too.