1. Mark Herzlich’s battle with cancer
I specifically avoided putting Mark’s battle with cancer in either the best or worst moments. As I said when the news first broke, it was so overwhelming that it couldn’t simply be categorized as bad or worst. His valiant fight back, the people he inspired and the joy he brought to BC cannot be captured by the term “best.” Finally putting Mark on any list seems premature. Thankfully his story is not over and his future is bright.
2. Superfan to kicker (the Steve Aponavicius story)
He’s been around so long and his story has been rehashed so many times that I think we forget how goofy, remarkable and fortunate this whole series of events were. A kid sitting in the stands with body paint and a sombrero stepped out onto the field and eventually became our all-time leading scorer. It is a Disney story, only true. Sure there were plenty of times we could have used a better leg, but Steve worked hard and got better every year. When you think back to this past ten years, Sid Vicious will be one of the first things that comes to mind.
3. Celebrity fan Tim Russert
I don’t know if this happens at every school, but being BC parent can suck you into BC sports within one season. No one served as a better example of that than Tim Russert. He was our highest profile fan and became legendary around campus for his passion, friendliness and sense of humor. The BC portion of Russert’s identity was only a fraction of who he is or what he meant, but I think BC fans will always hold it dear. Because, at the end of the day, it was something we could all relate to and at its roots, was just about a father and son bonding over sports.
4. The Duke scuffles
Despite the first three items on this list, the decade was not all smiles and soft light. We also had some moments of toughness that made me proud. I am not big on moral victories, but two separate incidents with Duke basketball still put a smile on my face. The first happened early in the decade. Duke handed the 2001 team its first loss of the season and late in the game Duke guard Jason Williams taunted us with some ball fakes. Not one to be trifled with, Kenny Walls body checked Williams into the scorer's table. Of course holier than thou Coach K labeled BC players thugs. Fast forward to the 2006 ACC Championship game…BC and Duke are in an epic back and forth, when floor slapper Greg Paulus “inadvertently” threw a punch at Louis Hinnant. Like Walls, Hinnant didn’t take shit from anyone and promptly shoved Paulus back. Both got technicals and Hinnant played the half of his life after that. BC came up short, but I was proud.
5. The BC offensive line destroys UVA after Brad Butler’s cheap shot on Kiwi.
In thinking about this incident, I am amazed this story wasn’t bigger. Think of the press that this year’s punch in the Boise State-Oregon game received. But that is not why it is on the list. After the smoke cleared and Kiwi was hurt and Washington was ejected, and BC buckled down and ran over Virginia. The offensive line in particular played inspired football and won one for Kiwi.
6. BC-Notre Dame on First Take
The rivalry has been rehashed a million times. We know we dominated on the field, but I still smile when thinking about this dominant performance by then BC student Jeff Weinstein on First Take. Jeff handled himself with class and the ND kid looked like an arrogant blowhard.
7. Italics Numbers and the Angry Chicken Logo
This decade saw BC provide a much needed refresh to our logo and uniforms. Instead of a classic look or a new cool design, we got italicized letters and numbers and the Angry Chicken logo. We also got ten different shades of maroon and gold. We are finally moving on from Reebok to Under Armour. Let’s hope we take off the italics so I can tell the difference between a 6 or 5 on a uniform.
8. BC and Texas play the longest college baseball game in history
The only BC baseball those of us outside of New England get to see is the game against the Red Sox in Spring Training. So I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to watch online as the boys take on Texas in the NCAA tournament last spring. Little did I know that I was about to witness the longest game in college baseball history. BC lost, but it was such a unique game and unique experience (there was a whole group of us posting on message boards all through the night), that I will never forget it.
9. BC on Youtube
Online video predates the ‘00s, but Youtube and its competitors made it so easy to post and view that it really changed the dynamic of being a sports fan. There are a million funny and cool BC clips online, but here are some of my favorites.
10. BC-Clemson lovefest
The move to the ACC wasn’t about rivalries. It was about money. But the bond BC and Clemson formed early is one of the more pleasant surprises of our new home. The football series saw four classic games and this year’s bizarre triple rain delay. Every other year the Orange clad Clemson fans invade Boston and seem to enjoy every minute. Every other year more and more BC fans make the trip down to Death Valley to experience real tailgating and their big time game day environment. When Clarence Megwa snapped his leg and was hospitalized with a coma, Tiger fans sent him hundreds of letters wishing him well. We won’t ever replace Notre Dame and South Carolina as true rivals, but I think what we have is better…in a way. It is based on respect and hospitality and fun. Who would have predicted?