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Monday, January 19, 2009

Miracle of 74

It's one of those things from childhood I'll never forget. Sitting in our wood-paneled family room in Cayuga, New York with my father, watching my beloved Irish (at the time...what kid didn't love Notre Dame) take on mighty UCLA and the magical 88 game winning streak. With 3:30 to go and the Irish down 11 to Coach Wooden's Bruins, I was literally in tears (I took it seriously back then) before the Irish mounted the comeback of comebacks, culminating in Dwight "Iceman" Clay's baseline jumper with 29 seconds to go. They survived the last 10 seconds and probably four UCLA shots to snap the still-longest win streak in NCAA basketball history. It's hard to believe it was 35 years ago today. College basketball was shown on television very sporadically back then. I think the game was telecast on TSN. I could only follow this particular series and the Irish through the agate scores listed in the Syracuse Post-Standard for the most part as a game on TV was few and far between. It was a game for the ages and it is on my list of the great memories of my youth watching sports with my dad (see also Immaculate Reception when I put a hole in the chair I was jumping up and down, on as Franco headed to the endzone- sorry Mom).

1974 was the second year that I can remember horse racing from childhood, as it came on the heels of the mighty Secretariat's triple crown in 1973. Cannonade was the Derby winner in a stampede that included 22 horses (most ever) and was in front of over 163,000 fans. He finished third in both the Preakness and Belmont (yeah they actually ran in the third leg even if they lost in the Preakness) to Little Current, who had finished fifth in the Derby. Cannonade finished with 7 career wins in 25 starts, earning just north of $500K. It represented the first Derby win for famed jockey Angel Cordero, Jr. and trainer Woody Stephens. It was the last Derby that I watched in that unforgettable family room, before we moved to Syracuse and watching it again tonight for the first time in 35 years brought back some pretty cool memories of a young sports fan's childhood.

Here is the 74 Derby (courtesy: cf1970):


Ernie said...

Love that stretch view (blimp?). Very cool

Anonymous said...

Man. How old ARE you?? :)


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