Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Greatest Thing ESPN Has Ever Done

ESPN can be guilty of overhype and shameless commercialism, but when they put their minds to it, they can produce some absolutely top quality television for the sports fan. This video, which coincided with the airing of their superlative "Sports Century" series, took my breath away the first time I saw it during a NY Day 2000 SportsCenter. After the 3rd or 4th time, I stuck a tape in the VCR and recorded it to save for posterity. (Sadly, my VCRs have all gone the way of the dodo and I luckily happened to stumble across this on the YouTubes this morning).

Quite simply, this is the best sports video you will ever see.

Everything is there. A classic song, enthralling in its build and blood pumping in its crescendo. Beautiful, horrifying, mesmerizing, nostalgic, inspiring visions of virtually every single iconic sports image of the last 100 years. Fantastic editing, with the music, lyrics and footage in perfect, synchronous harmony. I can't think of a sports moment that shaped my youth, or that I heard about from my dad, or that I've experienced or read about, that isn't here and doesn't immediately bring a torrent of emotion to the surface. If anyone ever wanted to know why sports are important and why they inspire the passions they do, this video would be exhibit A. If you're a true sports fan, you can't watch this without getting chill bumps and getting misty eyed. Enjoy.

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