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My Top 5 Worst Sports Memories From The 2010’s Decade – @WGLarson

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So, a little bit about me. I’m a born Wisconsite who has now migrated west to the Land of 10,000 Lakes. That being said, I’m more of a professional Wisconsin Sports Fan (Sorry Badgers – I jumped off that wagon a long time ago.) I like to think that I support Big Ten Athletics first and foremost over other collegiate conferences as well. Over the past decade, I’d like to think that I have it pretty good compared to being a Detroit sports fan – but have maybe suffered more heartbreak than your typical Boston sports fan. I decided to jump on the ship and include “My Top Worst Sports Memories” from this decade. 

That being said, let’s dive into my list of the Top 5 Sports Disappointments from the last ten. 

Honorable Mention List:

  • Josh Hader becomes human – allows a two-out base hit that ends up being the deciding factor in the Washington Nationals winning the NL Wild Card – (2019) 
  • Maryland & Rutgers join the Big Ten (2014) – Logistically – the move was simply for adding television markets in both Washington D.C. & the New York City Markets. Expanded the Big Ten from 12 teams (Nebraska joined in 2011) to 14 teams – thus creating a “super-conference” across the Upper Midwest. The two universities from a football perspective have been nothing short but uninspiring. I’m looking forward to the day where Notre Dame puts on the big boy pants and decides to align with a conference instead of showcasing their independence. Hell, they are in the heart of Big Ten Country.
  • Penn State Child Sex Abuse Scandal (2011) – An ugly mark for a prestine university in the Big Ten – brought the end of Joe Paterno’s coaching career and eventually his own life. A reminder that coverups are eventually uncovered – turning into one of the ugliest scandals in intercollegiate athletics.

5. December 20th, 2010 – Brett Favre’s Last Appearance in the NFL

At the time, I was a junior in high school. The Packers were about to go on a deep run in the postseason and bring Vince Lombardi’s Trophy home. This was more of an individual tragedy – as Brett Favre was the quarterback that I looked up to as a kid growing up in the hills of Western Wisconsin – the quarterback that all of my classmates including myself dreamed to be when they grew up – yelling “Blue 48!!” on the playground while scrambling and finding an open receiver during some Backyard Football. 

This was a little personal for me because of my family being split down the Packers/Vikings rivalry. Favre’s long, consecutive streak of 291 games ended a week prior against the New York Giants – as a sprained shoulder at age 40 prevented him from continuing on. That week, the Metrodome’s roof collapsed due to the weight of an impeding snowstorm, and the game had to be moved to Ford Field in Detroit. The next week on Monday Night Football – league officials scrambled to find a venue – and they decided upon TCF Bank Stadium, the new home of the Minnesota Golden Gopher football team. 

On a cold, wintery night in Minneapolis, Brett Favre saw the football field for the last time. While dropping back to pass, Favre was met by Chicago Bears defensive end Corey Wootton. Favre’s head smashed to the cold, hard artificial turf. At this point in his career, the embattled Hall of Fame quarterback’s career was over. He retired immediately after the Vikings last game of the season in 2010.

The matter of fact when this happened scared me and made me feel sorry for Favre and his career. I’d like to argue that he is responsible for the huge fan revelation of the Green Bay Packers – where at a time, the organization was in a dark hole during the early 90s and needed a little bit of a spark. The Packers lived by Favre, and died by Favre. He makes my list based on the fact that I only wished he would’ve ended his career on a better note and on top – much like quarterbacks Peyton Manning, and likely Tom Brady will. 

4. July 22nd, 2013 – Ryan Braun suspended for his involvement with the Biogenesis Clinic

Part of the success that the Milwaukee Brewers had in getting to the postseason rode on the shoulders of Ryan Braun. Braun was declared the NL MVP in 2011, and that was due to the amount of production that he had at the plate (a .597 SLG to go along with a .994 OPS.) He continued to put up monster numbers the following year, with 41 home runs & 112 runs batted in, finishing runner-up for MVP to Buster Posey. He won his 5th Silver Slugger Award in a row as an outfielder. 

By February of 2013, speculation was out that Ryan Braun was linked to positive tests of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), especially HGH (human growth hormone.) When Braun was first suspected of using PEDs back in 2011 after his urine sample tested positive for high levels of testosterone, he kept claiming he was innocent – after saying that his sample was tainted with and improperly handled by the staff at the Biogenesis Clinic of America in Coral Gables, FL. 


Once he was guilty – MLB suspended Braun for the remainder of the 2013 MLB season – which he continued to put up big numbers even after the fact. The suspension ended up being a grand total of 65 games, including the MLB postseason. After this, Bruan would face the boo birds and hecklers wherever he went – as in the eyes of many, he was a liar who ruined his integrity and profile among the league’s best at the time. Since then, Braun has still shown signs of being a good ballplayer, and my overall impression of the guy is that I’ll still be his biggest fan – but the fact of the matter that he selfishly didn’t tell the truth about his own actions was a dark spot on my fandom of the Milwaukee Brewers and on the man that he is. 

3. October 15th, 2018 – NLCS Game 4 – Extra Inning Loss in Los Angeles

Our family had planned a trip in Ontario moose hunting in October – I had no clue or idea that the Milwaukee Brewers would go on a deep postseason run. 

Being in the middle of the Canadian Wilderness, I needed to still follow my team. No internet, no toilet paper, cold air on my ass. I grabbed my sports radio from my townhome and brought it with me to Canada. To make matters worse, I couldn’t find a sports station on my radio on FM, but on AM – Luckily, I was still within range of ESPN Radio, 1500-AM based out of Minneapolis. I didn’t even know that the Packers barely got by the 49ers on Monday Night Football – I couldn’t even listen to that game!

At 1:00AM, I listened to an extra inning game where the Brewers held a 2-1 series lead in Los Angeles. The Brewers had the perfect game plan and were executing it perfectly – except putting runs across with their potent lineup – though the Dodgers pitching staff was a great staff in the first place. But those extra innings got to be a little long. Who could forget Manny Machado running into Jesus Aguilar as he raced down the first base line to make it on base? I sure as hell do. 

Anyway, in the 13th inning, the Brewers ran out of steam. This ensued:

I sat there in the dark in disbelief. If there was any chance that the Milwaukee Brewers would have of beating the Los Angeles Dodgers, it would’ve been in a 5 game set instead of a 7 game set. This game set the tone for the rest of the series. That was a great NLCS – don’t get me wrong, and the Brewers could’ve had their chance in Game 7 at home. But, if the Brewers could’ve squeezed a run across home plate in avoid extras, who knows what may have happened. I’m still looking forward to the day where the Brewers will be in the World Series – and I am saving all of my pennies to have the opportunity to be in Milwaukee the night they play. 

I still have nightmares of this game every now and then.

2. September 24th, 2012 – The Fail Mary in Seattle

That night of the Fail Mary – I was a freshman in college at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater. This was one of the first Monday Night Football game I was able to watch from the beginning to the end in my life without too many interruptions – and this was at the beginning of Seattle’s success in the NFC – life beyond Matt Hasslebeck.

At the time, there was a strike among the referees in the National Football League. We say blunders and mess up from the scabs that they called replacement referees. So much inconsistency of the calls – misunderstandings and lack of awareness by the replacement refs – it was starting to ruin the game of football for me. A little confusion at the end of the game in Seattle – one ref called it an interception – one ref called it a touchdown. 

Simultaneously, M.D. Jennings of the Packers and Golden Tate of the Seattle Seahawks both caught the ball at the same time, with replay showing that clearly Jennings had more of a possession of the ball than what Golden Tate had. To make matters worse, once replay review was over – I remember watching Pete Carroll with his juicy fruit gum and all – fist pump all the way at the 5 yard line just as the referee declared a touchdown. I was pissed. 

Even more pissed were the Packers players. As a joke – most of the Packer players just walked off the field without finishing the game with the extra point. Aaron Rodgers expressed his frustration below:

That being said – this game did bring the referees back to the game. It had to be done. It also helped create a good rivalry between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks, as over the decade – both franchises would play marquee matchups and have entertaining games. I thought Brett Favre’s kryptonite were domes and artificial turf – Aaron Rodgers’ kryptonite were games in Seattle against that Seattle Seahawks defense. 

1. January 18th, 2015 – The 2015 NFC Championship Game – Bostick’s Blunder

A game the Packers had. 

All that needed to happen was that the Packers recover the onside kick. The Seahawks had a timeout. So, at the very least, factoring in two stoppages with the two minute warning, that Packers would’ve taken the clock down to 1:20 and called timeout had they not converted and got a first down. Russell Wilson played awful – downright awful. The Packers let 16-0 after halftime, before one of the craziest plays I had ever seen drawn up and #ForTheBrand by the way, Jon Ryan (former Packer punter and all) threw a touchdown pass to his backup tight end, Garry Gilliam. That started the momentum for the 12th man. 

A field goal got the Pack up 19-7. After forcing another turnover, instead of returning the ball deep into Seahawks territory, Julius Peppers encouraged Morgan Burnett to get on the ground with about five minutes left in the game. Unable to capitalize and move the ball down the field to get points, and only with 1:12 off the clock, the Packers were forced to punt. The Seahawks marched down the field to cut the lead to 19-14. It just got downright ugly from there, especially if you’re a Packer fan. 

I remember how bad my stomach hurt and how much my head hurt from watching that play. Over and over and over again. Seattle had the ball at midfield, and a 24-yard Marshawn Lynch run with 1:25 left brought the game to 22-19 Seahawks, on a two-point conversion that Wilson made out of nothing. But that left too much time for Aaron Rodgers and Company

The game was forced into overtime, but the Packers never got the ball. Seattle won the game, on this play, breaking the hearts of Packers nation.

After the game, I just sat there in disbelief. How could it have happened?

That night, I broke three shovels in my fraternity house when I was shovelling snow. I was so pissed off – sports normally don’t make me get aggressive, but that night, I was so disappointed to tears. In two weeks, we watched the horrendous playcalling by Pete Carroll cost his team another Super Bowl, and give Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the New England Patriots another Super Bowl title. That game could’ve been a great Rodgers/Brady matchup, which would’ve brought climatic highs to the game of football. 

I can’t write anymore about this because of the sour taste it left in my mouth. 

If you want another blogger’s perspective on their top disappointments, check them out here:

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Will

From America's Dairyland, now in the Land of 10,000 Lakes & the Twin Cities Metro. Real-life Desktop Support Technician. Milwaukee Brewers & Green Bay Packers Diehard. Fan of the #RowTheBoat Mantra.

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