Top 3 Sports Moments/Things of the Year:
1. Makau breaks the Marathon World Record in Berlin.
Don’t worry, we’ll talk SEC Football soon enough. But records in the Marathon don’t happen every year, and it’s getting much harder to break. So when Patrick Makau runs 26.2 miles in 2:03:38, it’s a big deal. Breaking the previous record by only 21 seconds in a race that is so long might not seem significant, but, umm, it is. I find it helpful to note that the time listed above means Makau ran the race with an average pace of 4:42.9 per mile. If you were a track star in high school, it is possible that you could run a mile in under 5 minutes. Once, maybe twice. To do it 26.2 times is truly difficult for me to comprehend.
2. The ALL SEC National Championship Game.
Since it is a moment that will actually occur in 2012, we’ll say the selection of two SEC teams for the title game. I’ll start by saying the whole situation stinks for Oklahoma State. They were certainly deserving of a shot against LSU. But so is Alabama. I didn’t agree with any of the talk about the LSU-Bama meeting on November 5 – I didn’t think it was terribly boring, and really enjoyed watching it.
Aside from SEC homerism, the moment is significant in that it might have finally tipped the scales for a move to some kind of playoff. It has, at the very least, put the structure of the BCS in doubt going forward. The run up to the national championship may look very different five years from now.
3. The Atlantic publishes Tyler Branch’s piece, The Shame of College Sports, in October 2011.
As should be clear by now, I love watching college football. But its hard to read that article and not feel unsettled by the current state of affairs. As revenues for college football continue to increase, I expect that we’ll eventually see some sort of real payment for players. Which is probably for the best.
Top 3 Albums of the year:
1. Here We Rest – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit.
He was my favorite part of the Drive-By Truckers when we was with them, and I’ve loved each of the three albums he’s made since he moved on in 2007. This last one is yet another good addition to his body of work. He’s a heck of a songwriter, and you can rock out or relax at various points on the album.
2. The King of Limbs – Radiohead.
I liked it, sorry. Maybe it’s not as groundbreaking as stuff in the past, but I’ve caught myself listening through the album over and over again. I take that as a sign.
3. Barton Hollow – The Civil Wars.
These guys put out an incredible album this year, and then got a ton of publicity when Taylor Swift tweeted about their concert at the Belcourt Theater. The whole album is beautiful, and the title track is all sorts of acoustic kick-ass.