Rice, Middleton, Bird, and Dorsett

Amidst all the sports conversation this week of dirty refs, dirty home run hitters, and dirty dogfighters (allegedly), i got to thinking about what was right with sports. I starting thinking back to when i was just a kid falling in love with sports, and i thought of the guys who were my favorite athletes in each of the major sports.

My favorite baseball player growing up was Jim Rice. #14 played left field for the Red Sox and could hit like nobody’s business. Dude should be in the hall of fame, period. He did seem to hit into a lot of double plays, but i loved seeing him roam left field in Fenway and smack homers into the old netting over the green monster.

We watched a lot of hockey growing up. Those Canadiens-Bruins games were huge events in the house. My favorite player was #16, Rick Middleton. I have no idea why, but he was my boy. My brother Josh liked Steve Kasper. I think he was #11. Why do we remember trivial details like that?

My Dad is a huge Cowboys fan, so i grew up cheering for America’s Team. (I know…you hate the Cowboys…let’s move on) My favorite player was #33 Tony Dorsett. He had legs the size of redwoods and an iron well stronger than the jaws of life. He was so fast, he once raced a snow leopard in the 40-yard dash and won. then he killed the snow leopard with his bare hands and ate it. (these facts may or may not be verifiable)

I was spoiled watching the Celtics in their glory days as a young kid. Like most kids born in the 70s, Larry Bird was the shizzle before anyone knew what shizzle had to do with nizzle. I still get goosebumps when i see highlights of #33 in action. Remember that game against Portland when he hit the insane 3-pointer to send it to overtime and then poured it on in the extra frames to help the C’s win? I still smile when i think of that. (You can see it at the 2:00 mark of this youtube clip if you have a spare 4 minutes for Larry Bird buzzerbeaters).

I’d love to hear which athletes you all looked up to as kids. Do you have any great stories about meeting them or cheering for them?