By Steve McKay. So, how are these “strange days” going for you? The social distancing commandments coming from on high have obviously altered the manner in which businesses are operating, if they are even operating at all. This is certainly the case for sports-talk radio, which has been stripped of virtually all of its content. After all, if there are no games being played, there are no games and related stories to yak about on the air waves. It’s been interesting….well actually-kind of humorous, to listen to sports radio talk show hosts scramble for content to fill their time. They’ve had to become mighty creative, with some hits and some misses along the way. But I admire them for trying…better them than me.
National media sports outlets have resorted to showing games from years ago. When I first heard this was going to be happening, my first thought was: LAME. I mean really, who’s going to be interested in watching an 80’s version of the Cubs play an 80’s version of the Padres? But then I happened to stumble across one of the “old time” games recently while in the process of trying to find the latest episode of “Ozark.” And I gotta say, it hooked me.
Since then, I’ve actually been seeking-out some of these historic games. And it’s not just the players, the uniforms, and the scores that draws me in. Watching these games inspires me to think about what I was up to the year that particular game was “live.” Ah yes, memories. Kind of cool to allow whatever game is on the tube or radio to serve as a time machine, taking me back to a time when we didn’t have to don a facemask to go pick-up a box of Twinkies at the corner store.
The prevalence of these historic games from our past inspired me to comprise a personal list recently, a list of games I wish I could watch again…games that would transport me back in time…games I would really love to see again. Here’s my list, in no particular order.
*1973 Class B state basketball championship game at the Augusta Civic Center between the Orono Red Riots and the Camden Windjammers. I was an Orono middle schooler at the time, and the dudes on the Orono squad were heroes to me and my middle school chums-names like Steve Gavitt, Tom Philbrick, Brian Butterfield, Richie Pullen, Danny St. Louis…..ah yes, those were the days. And by the way, the Riots got the win in overtime.
*October 20, 2004: 7th and deciding game of the ALCS between the Bosox and the Yanks at Yankee stadium. By far, the most satisfying win for me as a fan. Tears. Joy. Yelling. Hugging. Never, ever will get tired of watching that game. Incredible.
*May 22, 1988: Larry Bird vs. Dominique Wilkins shoot-out at the Gah-den. Final score: Celtics 118, Hawks 116. Wilkins: 47 points, Bird: 34 points. Incredible 4th quarter, with Bird-Wilkins eyeing each other like gun fighters at the OK Corral. Bird swishing shots from waaaay downtown that even had the Hawks falling off their team bench.
*February 5, 2017: Pats storm back to beat the Falcons. First half: all is lost. There’s always next year. The Pat’s stink. Second half: OMG, Tom Brady is the best QB EVER! Best Patriots game evah.
*June something, 1970: Orono Little League Giants vs. the Orono Little League Reds. Championship game. The Giants hadn’t won a single game the previous season, now the team is vying for the league title. Yours truly on the mound, with his twin behind the plate. Yours truly notching strike-out after strike-out (OK, yes…I’m conveniently leaving-out the part where I walked a ba-jillion Reds during that game, but…whatever.)
And then, the final out! Celebration with the twin brother, our dad as the coach. Tossing our gloves in the air with our Little League pals….ahhh, sweet victory, and even sweeter memories. I wish ESPN could dig-out the game film on that one.
By Steve McKay