Another year is nearing it's end, and the year 2007 brought along quite a bit in the sports world. We've watched one of the NFL's highest touted and most-talented quarterbacks in Michael Vick go to the slammer for behaving in unspeakable volumes of cruelty to animals; one of, if not THE highest ranked MLB record broken by Barry Bonds, only to be challenged from the baseball world to be marked with an asterisk; an up and coming NFL star in Sean Taylor, killed in his own home by kids that came in with the intentions of robbing him clean; NBA referees ousted in a betting and game-fixing scandal--all things that took place in 2007, all things that rocked the sports world, in a tough way.
But, let's take a look at what's made the sports world even better in 2007 than what it was before.
Buffalo Bills' TE Kevin Everett was nearly on his death-bed, and was figured to never walk again after a spinal cord injury earlier this season in the NFL--
Everett is now walking to his rehab sessions.
Green Bay Packers' QB Brett Favre was expected to have a retirement-like season, with typical stats pouring in from a seasoned veteran--Favre, despite an injury, has kept his consecutive games streak record alive all while setting the NFL's yards passing record as well.
The Boston Celtics NBA team went from worst to first, with the recent additions of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to Paul Pierce's repertoire. They came in as a preseason lock to win the NBA Championship. They're good.
M-I-Z-Z-O-U rocked the NCAA BCS world about a week before the bowl selections, when they knocked off No. 2 Kansas at Arrowhead Stadium. Quarterback Chase Daniel was a Heisman finalist, and led the Tigers to an 11-2 regular season, and though they got the shaft in the BCS bids they will make the most of their Cotton Bowl appearance against the Arkansas Razorbacks and their Heisman finalist Darren McFadden.
Also in NCAA football, Florida QB Tim Tebow became the first sophomore to ever win the Heisman, and also set a record with over 20 touchdowns both rushing and passing. Tebow helped lead the Gators to a National Championship over Ohio State earlier this year, where soon after, the Florida men's basketball team took the title, also from Ohio State.
Pat Summitt lead her Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team to their seventh championship in April in the women's Final Four. They're back this season with the 2006-2007 Player of the Year, Candace Parker.
The Colorado Rockies came from four-and-a-half games back, and won 21 of their last 22 games to make the playoffs, where they cruised to the World Series, only to be swept by the Boston Red Sox in four games.
Though I hate to admit it, sports is at an all-time high in the Boston area this year, as the New England Patriots are sitting undefeated in the NFL, the Celtics are rolling and the Red Sox claimed their second title in four seasons.
In boxing, American Floyd Mayweather beat-down England's Ricky Hatton in 10 rounds, to remain the champ, and to defend his homeland as Hatton's supporters mocked the National Anthem in Vegas--a little Rocky-like--U-S-
Local sports also brought a sense of pride to the area, as the Charleston Bluejays basketball team once again took first place at the Class 3 championship game, after an incredible 29-3 season. The Bluejays are off to a great start in the 2007-2008 season as well.
Most recently, Arlen Pixley and the NMCC Eagles football team repeated as district champs, and eventually fell one point shy of victory, as they fell in a state quarterfinal game to MICDS. Look for the Eagles to be a threat next season as well, with a lot of talent returning.
The Kelly Lady Hawks, under the direction of head coach Rhonda Ratledge, marched into the Class 2 state playoffs, but were upended by Palmyra, who eventually captured the title. The Lady Hawks went on to take third place in the playoffs, continuing the rich tradition of winning that Ratledge has instilled in the softball program at Kelly. The Lady Hawks will also have an abundance of young talent returning, after only losing one senior, Sarah Ruff to graduation.
The Oran Eagles baseball team finished one game shy of the Final Four, as they lost in a Class 1 quarterfinal game. The Lady Eagles softball team provided a strong first season of fall softball for head coach Sara Heisserer, as they won the district and eventually lost to Miller in a Class 1 sectional game.
Sikeston's Jenni DeWitt cruised into the state tennis playoffs again, where she finished fourth in Class 1 for the second consecutive season. DeWitt qualified for state in all four years of her high school career for the Lady Bulldogs.
In golf, Sikeston's Dakota Trevino claimed the district title and faired well at the state finals.
The Bulldogs baseball team was Class 3 District 1 champions for the fifth time in seven years, but lost in their sectional game. The district championship was the school's 27th overall, which is the second most in Missouri state history.
With the basketball season bouncing right along and wrestling heating up, the district titles and state playoff runs are sure to begin piling in before long in 2008, but as for 2007, what a year it has been. The NFL playoffs look to provide a lot of entertainment come January, while the NCAA BCS bowl games begin on the first day of the fresh, new year. Buckle your seat-belts everybody, as the ride through 2008 is about to begin and Happy New Year from the sports desk.