Blog Entry

Chilhood Sports Memories

Posted on: April 4, 2008 9:14 pm

Like most people, as I get older, and the world in general continues to change and morph into something that would be unrecognizable when compared to my childhood years, I find myself becoming nostalgic for what, in my warped sense of reality could be considered much more simple time.  There are several ways in which I could have directed a blog like this but, today I'd like to focus on sports.  I'm specifically interested in hearing about your fondest sports memories dating back to the most formidable years, between maybe age 6 or 7 through your teen years.  For me I'll use 1976 - 1987 as my base years.  That should give everyone a clue as to how old I am.  What was it that made you the sports fan that you are today?  Lets hear your stories.

 I wont go into great detail, just yet but, some mine include,

  • One specific trip to see the Yankees play the Red Sox at Yankee stadium in 1977
  • The amazing Stanley Cup run that the New York Islanders made from 1980 - 1983
  • The Dallas Cowboys teams of the 1970s
  • The 1980 USA Hockey Gold Medal
  • etc....

You get the idea.  Lets have some fun with this and for those of us who are a little older, I think we will begin to see how much times have changed.



Since: Feb 12, 2008
Posted on: April 10, 2008 9:40 am

Chilhood Sports Memories

Since I have already mentioned the 1980 USA Olympic Hockey team and the New York Islanders four consecutive Stanley Cups, I suppose I should mention what it was that made me become an ice hockey fan in the first place.  My first exposure to ice hockey came as a result of my older brother playing Goalie for the high school team.  Because he was 12 years older than me, I wanted to do everything that he did.  We went to the ice rink as a family and watched just about every game.

His interest in ice hockey obviously spilled over into the home.  Back in those days we had a black and white TV and we only received 4 channels, NBC, CBS, ABC, and PBS.  I'm not sure how many of you will remember this but, back in the mid 1970s, NBC had a show called "Hockey Game of the Week".  It was a very similar show to "Hockey Night in Canada".  In an effort to improve rating for the games and educate potential fans, NBC teamed up with Hanna-Barbera and created "Peter Puck".  Episodes were aired in between periods.  I loved those as a kid.  I believe that all of the episodes have been released on DVD.

Even that was not what solidified me as an ice hockey fan.  Back in 1979, the then struggling AHL moved the Philadelphia Firebirds to my hometown of Syracuse, NY.  I thought that was the greatest thing in the world.  Professional hockey was back in Syracuse.  The Firebirds played in Syarcuse as the minor league club to the Quebec Nordiques.  The team was not very good at all but tickets were cheap so we were able to attend several games.  I think we may have gone to 10 or so games.  During the intermissions they had a comical mascot that would skate around the ice performing silly stunts to the song "Bird is the Word".  After he had finished the Zamboni would come out and clear.  We had a great time at those games.  I have been a hockey fan ever since.

Unfortunately, the franchise folded following that season

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: April 8, 2008 2:59 pm

Chilhood Sports Memories

Great trip tundra, I remember my first big league ballpark, I was 13 and our school had put together a trip to Wrigley Field (remember I lived in Iowa) and it was a 3 hour drive to the game.  We got on the bus, got there and it was Cubs vs Reds.  We each got a free pennant that I still have somewhere.  Cubs stunk back then and of course it was a day game in May so it was warm and nice.  We ate hot dogs and I had save money from my birthday at the beginning of May plus Mom and Dad chipped in.  I saw Dave Concepcion hit a grand slam and the Reds won 9-4 as I recall.

After the game, we all ran out to the outdoor concessions and bought pennants and balls and those mini bats...I still have the pennants, but it is the memory of that first big league game I still remember. 

Years later, my wife and I went to a game at Wrigley and I still remembered the general area where I had sat and honestly I just sat there with a smile on my face...

I have since been to Busch (old and new), old Milwaukee County Stadium (when the Brewers were an AL team), Kauffman in KC for games and toured Fenway.  I look forward to going to a Braves game this May and one day to Fenway and new Yankee stadium for games.  I would love to go to Oriole Park as well.

Since: Feb 12, 2008
Posted on: April 8, 2008 12:18 pm

Chilhood Sports Memories

I guess I'll share the Yankees story.  It may not mean much to a lot of folks but it meant a great deal to me.  Back in 1977, my parents and a group of their friends got together and chartered a bus to the Bronx to catch a game.  It just so happened the game was against the Boston Red Sox.  None of our families had a lot of money at the time.  We were not dirt poor but we did not have a lot of what I would call "extras".  We had what we needed and never really wanted for things.  At that point, none of us kids had ever been to a big league ball park so we all thought that this trip was going to be the best thing in the world.

I remember the bus trip being the longest and most miserable  six and a half hours that I could ever have imagined.  The bus was cramped and uncomfortable and, as I remember, had a distinct odor, not unlike that of vomit.  By the time we arrived in the Bronx we were all tired and cranky, as I'm sure everyone can imagine.  Now, I'm not sure if the game was the same day or the next day, but I do remember that I could not contain my excitement.

When reached "The Stadium", I remember looking up in awe at the size and magnitude of  "The House That Ruth Built".  I distinctly remember the smell of popcorn, peanuts, hotdogs, and pizza filling the air, and I wanted it all.  We had arrived early enough to catch a bit of batting practice.  Our seats were out in the right field section.  During batting practice, Reggie Jackson was shagging flies and tossing baseballs up into the stands.  We were all lined up right along the fence when he pointed at me and tossed me a ball.  Unfortunately, I dropped the ball and it bounced away.  It was picked up by a guy who must have been in his 30's.  I went over and asked him if I could have my ball back but he refused to give it to me.  In an attempt to make it up to me, my dad went to the consessions stand and bought me several other items.  I found out years later that he approached this guy and offered to buy the ball from him, but his offer was refused.

I don't remember if the Yankees won or lost the game but at that point in time, it didn't matter.  I was with my dad, watching my favorite team play and I knew that he had done this all for me, in spite of the fact that he really could not afford the trip.

Since: Feb 22, 2008
Posted on: April 7, 2008 8:44 pm

Chilhood Sports Memories

ok, ill be first...........

didnt you hate that in school, no one wanted to go first..........

anyway......7th grade, my teacher wheeled in a tv set and let us watch the world series while we were in school, we didnt want to change rooms, back then we only had three rooms to go to, but it was the orioles and reds, i think.........its a bit fuzzy, that was a few years ago.


Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: April 7, 2008 3:49 pm

Chilhood Sports Memories

Tundra -

Am guessing we are the same age as well, good subject, here are mine, sorry, do not remember years necessarily and I break your rules on the 10 years thing

  • 1975 Carlton Fisk home run - my first ever memory of baseball
  • Carl Yastrzemski - still my favorite player
  • 1980 Gold Medal is a great one, I remember that as well, loved the movie with Kurt Russell too
  • Pirates WS and Willie Stargell
  • Phillies WS and Mike Schmidt (that one's for Catfish)
  • Royals WS and George Brett
  • Chicago Bears and Walter Payton
  • Dallas Cowboys Doomsday Defense and the MNF when Dorsett broke his 99 yard run for a TD
  • Bo Jackson anything
  • Herschel Walker and the Dallas deal that propelled them to all the SB's
  • Dr J, Sidney Moncrief, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Kareem's skyhook and some guy named Jordan
  • Dale Earnhardt crashing and passing away...looked like a routine crash, that was nuts
  • watching this Orel Hershiser kid pitch for our local class A ball team
  • Kirk Gibsons HR
  • Jordan's shot to beat Cleveland
  • Mookie's grounder through Billie Buck's legs...argh
  • Bucky effing Dent HR
  • Aaron Boone HR
  • Red Sox sweep two WS
  • Iowa in every bowl game
  • MU last year becoming # 1
  • Mario Andretti drinking milk in the Indy 500
  • Len Bias
  • Hank Gathers
  • Jerry Tarkanian
  • Bobby Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers undefeated season
  • Wide right vs Miami, Wide left vs Miami, FSU finally beat Miami, didn't they?
  • Tom Osbourne finally wins the title
  • Iowa wins it's first wrestling national championship in 1975...just won their 21st in 2008
  • Cassius Clay/Muhammed Ali in his prime
  • Lance Armstrong

Guess that is enough for now, but just think about all the fun we have had in our lifetime...I for one, am not really a Cubs fan, but hope they win the WS in my lifetime just to say I saw it.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: April 7, 2008 12:38 pm

Chilhood Sports Memories

to this day - i am baffled to why the russian coach pulled trekiak. i know he allowed a goal with 2 seconds to go, but you pull the greatest goalie on the planet?? even if you pull him - you don't put him back in? very odd move on a coach's part.

 i didn't really watch the 1980 phillies ws bc i was 9 and didn't watch baseball. however, they must've had 20 rainouts in 1981 bc all they shown was the replay of the 1980 playoffs for the phillies. the 5 game series vs houston and the ws vs kansas city. i remember that pretty well.

i also remember the sixers title run in 83 and the villanova upset in 85. our whole grade school was cheering for nova !!

Since: Feb 12, 2008
Posted on: April 7, 2008 11:39 am

Chilhood Sports Memories


I remember the 1980 Gold Medal run as though it was yesterday.  When thinking about it you really need to put in perspective all of the other things that were happening in that year.  We were only five years removed from the end of the Vietnam War, and the country was still strongly divided and reeling in it's aftermath.  The cold war was in full force.   The Soviet Union, our most feared and hated enemy, had invaded Afgahnistan.  In protest President Jimmy Carter had announced that the USA would boycott the Moscow Summer Olympics.  Our economy was in a complete shambles, we were still in the middle of the gas crisis, unemployement rate was soaring quickly, and 52 American hostages were being held in Iran.  The American people we looking for something, anything, to unite us as a country.

Enter a group of unknown college kids with no realistic hope of even getting out of the first round of the tournament.  Although we ultimately defeated Finland 4-2 to capture the gold.  The more important game came against the Soviets.  On February 9, 1980, The USA Hockey team played an exhabition game versus the Soviets, in Madison Square Garden.  The Red Army team decimated our team 10-3.  Our boys had been playing inspired hockey throughout the tournament.  In spite of that, there was not a soul on the planet that gave us a chance to beat the Soviet Unions professional team, who had only weeks before manhandled both the NHL all-star team and our team.

The USA stayed with the soviet team the entire game.  Golie Jim Craig played the game of his life.  With about 10 minutes remaining in the 3rd period, Mike Eruzione controlled a loose puck and put a wrist shot past the soviet golie to give the Americans a 4-3 lead.  The USA played "keep away" for the remainder of the game and with 5 seconds left, Al Michaels made one of the most treasured sports calls in history.  "Do you believe in Miracles!  Yes!" 

In spite of the fact that I do not consider myself to be an overly emotional person.  I still get a little choked up, when I watch highlights or documentaries about that team.  For many of us, it solidified our love of sport and our love of country.  That is one moment in time that I will never forget.


Since: Jan 21, 2008
Posted on: April 5, 2008 7:32 am

Chilhood Sports Memories

Good post.  From the set of years, it sounds like we are around the same age, so here's my list.

  • The "Steel Curtain" defense.
  • Major League Baseball's Game of the Week on NBC ( we only had 3 channels when I was grownig up)
  • Listening to Jack Buck call the Cardinal's games on the radio
  • Seeing in person Ole Miss upset Notre Dame in 1977 (their only loss that season)
  • Going to an NFL game and it wouldn't cost you more than a c-note

Since: Jan 23, 2008
Posted on: April 5, 2008 2:57 am

Chilhood Sports Memories

Using your base years, here are a few of mine... 1st off- awesome choice with the 1980 gold medal team.

Watching Kevin McHale for the Gophers then getting drafted by the Celtics. My favorite team in the 80's

Watching all the home-grown talent the Twins brought up to shock the world and win the Series in '87

(Puckett, Hrbek, Gaetti, Laudner, Bush, Viola, etc.

Paying $20 (face value) to sit on the glass to watch the North Stars/Black Hawks.

Crying the day the old Met was torn down to make way for that S*&^hole of a dome that is used now.

Sneaking my Grandfather's transistor radio under my pillow to listen to the Twins or North Stars so I could fall asleep.

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