Angry Ward Wednesday: The Greatest Generation… for Sports

Bronx, NY – As a Generation-Xer I’ve sometimes lamented my lot in life. I was born too late to experience the free love and awesome music of the 1960s, I was simply too young to cash in on the drug and disco debauchery of the 1970s, and, unfortunately, I came of age during the buzzkill “Just Say No,” AIDS era of the 1980s. But it hasn’t all been teeth-gnashing and regret. For starters, I feel I have been around to witness some of the greatest sports events, moments, and athletes of all time. In fact, I’m sure of it.

Boxing. Let’s start with the “Sweet Science.” Millennials don’t even have a clue what boxing is. I mean, real boxing. They think it’s two sweaty dudes slapping each other around a cage until one chokes the other out by wrapping his legs around his opponent’s head and shoving his junk in his face. I got to witness the likes of Ali, Norton, Frazier, Foreman–all great heavy weights–fighting in the same era! I hated Ali, but they guy fought everyone, including Norton and Frazier three times each. That’s nuts! If that wasn’t enough, we also got to see Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns… the list goes on and on. Even the scrubs in the 70s and 80s were great! Hell, let’s just throw Tyson in there too, while we’re at it. Today boxing is less than nothing. I’m happy to have witnessed it when it was everything.

Miracle on Ice. Greatest American sports moment ever, and I was alive to see it. It will never be outdone. Seriously. Can you think of a more unlikely, feelgood moment like a bunch of college kids beating an unbeatable Russian team and going on to win the Gold at the 1980 Olympics? I defy anyone to come up with anything that could remotely challenge it. You can’t! You will never top the Miracle on Ice.

The Super Bowl. I am old enough to have seen not every Super Bowl (a drooling toddler watching Joe Namath doesn’t count), but most of them. Truly there were a lot of pretty awful Super Bowls. But there were some pretty darn good ones, and I think I’ve seen them all. No great accomplishment really, but when the NFL goes tits up in a few years, it will seem a bit more impressive.

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Sports Movies. Caddyshack is the greatest sports movie ever made, and I saw it in a theater in its initial release. I also read The Natural before I saw it in a theater and was the only one shocked when Roy Hobbs did NOT strike out as he did in Bernard Malamud’s great novel. And I was happy! So many other great sports films came out in my lifetime, including The Bad News Bears (not the remake), The Longest Yard (definitely not the remake), Slap Shot (awesome), Bull Durham (haters can hate, but I like), Fast Break (yes, even awful sports movies were great), and too many more to mention.

Golf and Tennis. Borg vs. McEnroe, Evert vs. Martina, Connors vs. Anyone, Ilie Nastase, Nicklaus,Watson, and Woods. Hell, I didn’t even like these sports and still they were entertaining.artis-gilmore-300b

Basketball. Kareem, Jordan, Magic, Bird, Bernard King, Moses Malone, Chocolate Thunder, Artis Gilmore’s sideburns… The NBA had a little of everything, including an interrupted championship game to watch the OJ Simpson Bronco chase. Now it’s got my Golden State Warriors. It took around 4 decades, but they’re finally relevant again.

Baseball. I’m bummed that I didn’t get to see Babe Ruth or Ted Williams play, but that would have meant living through the Great Depression and World War II and I would now be dead. So, yeah, I’m fine with that. Did get to see the likes of Ken Griffey Jr. and Tom Seaver and the Yankees, y’know, when they were still cool in the 1970s. Also got to see monster home runs from Kingman and Stargell and loved all the nicknames like “The Roadrunner,” and ‘The Toy Cannon.” Hell, even the real names like Rusty Kuntz and Pete LaCock and Dick Pole were hilarious to any kid who followed the game and collected cards. Finally, I also got to see one of the greatest hitting third basemen of all time tell this timeless story about overcoming obstacles.

So yeah, I didn’t get laid as much or do as many drugs as a lot of others did, but I did get to see some great sports moments, movies, and hear George Brett talk about crapping himself. So there’s that.

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About Angry Ward 747 Articles
Angry Ward, who has admirers at the New York Times, is the quintessential angry sports fan but for one exception... he's flat-out funny. And the angrier he gets, the more amusing his work becomes. Psychiatrists say, "Angry Ward's 'anger' is a direct result of "Bronx/Mets syndrome: growing up in the Bronx as a Mets fan." As if that weren't enough, his Minnesota North Stars abandoned him for Dallas, forcing him to embrace The Wild the way Nancy Pelosi embraces Mitch McConnell at charity events. And while his Vikings only tease him with success, his Golden State Warriors actually win these days. A-Dubya is MTM's longest-tenured indentured servant, its Larry David and quite simply, "The Franchise." (Junoir Blaber disputes this). Vent, curse and giggle with him on Angry Ward Wednesdays.