Sport delivers the purest of moments
Manchester City's Pablo Zabaleta, centre, celebrates scoring against Queens Park Rangers with teammates Gareth Barry, right, and Sergio Aguero. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Sport; there’s nothing like it. Is there any other event, activity or pastime that can consistently produce moments of sheer bliss, unadulterated joy and seconds so magical they will be remembered forever?
I’d argue there isn’t.
How does one describe the final day of the 2012 English Premier League?
Premiership-winning Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini said it was a “crazy end to a crazy year”.
Hardened supporters of both Manchester clubs, neutrals and seasoned professionals alike were left shaking their heads.
In short, with three minutes to go the trophy was falling out of City’s grasp and bouncing across town to Manchester United.
Two goals later and the well-worn heartstrings of City fans were given a plucking they’ll never ever forget.
Sergio Aguero’s goal in extra time handed City their first title in 44 years.
Cue grown men hugging.
But back to the original question – can anything else match this feeling?
In the longer term sport is trivial in comparison with the birth of children, an engagement, one’s first kiss, etc.
However it stands its own in giving us the best moments.
Moments, usually defined as a few seconds, are most amazing and blissful when they’re unexpected.
Sport provides this regularly. Manchester City’s triumph is a case in point.
It may sound kitsch and a bit naff to say this, but the single greatest moment of my life was on the sporting field.
I’ve had greater achievements. I’ve accomplished bigger things that have meant far more and given me greater joy in the long term.
But as far as single moments are concerned nothing I can think of can compare to one which occurred on a warm September day in 2007, in terms of instant and pure delirium and ecstasy.
It was local rugby semi-final day. Second grade – Wanderers versus Eastern Districts.
I won’t tell the full story – I’ve bored too many people with the minutest details before.
Briefly though – I didn’t know that in the dying minutes I was about to be in a foot race for the ball, bouncing around the opposition try line.
I wasn’t expecting to be in said foot race with the bloke who had threatened to put me in hospital 30 minutes earlier (he definitely had the ability to).
I didn’t know that tackling the way my teammates and I did, without conceding a try to their mountainous centres, was about to be capped off with a try by the smallest player out there (yours truly).
But it did. And those unexpected 10 seconds, from the opposition throwing me a terrible pass to being hurled up into embrace by my teammates, will live with me forever.
Sport gives you these joyous, rapturous moments again and again, for participants of both second-grade local rugby to fans of professional footballers.
Great moments keep us coming back after the injuries, the relegations, the narrow losses and the humiliating thrashings. They make it all worthwhile, after the increasing cost of watching matches and participating.
Sport, at its best, gives us the purest of emotions, which momentarily are simply the best.
Here is a collection of the greatest sporting moments I’ve ever witnessed:
Darren Albert’s try, 1997 ARL grand final.
Michael Kasprowicz, caught Jones, bowled Harmison, Edgbaston, 2005 (and he wasn’t even out!)
Mark Coyne’s ‘miracle’ try, State of Origin, 1994.
Allan Donald run-out, 1999 cricket World Cup semi final
Sergio Aguero’s goal versus Queens Park Ranges, 2012 English Premier League