We’ve reached the Turning Point. We reached Judgment Day. Heck, we’ve reached that time of the year where we reflect on what has happened, and plan on what will happen next. As 2005 bids goodbye and we welcome 2006 with open arms, let’s see who had been the newsmakers, both good and bad in the different realms of humanity. For today, we shall review the people who’ve made a name for themselves in the world of sport.
Champions of the Year: Liverpool F.C. - nobody expected them to win silverware this year. As a matter of fact, nobody thought they’d win anything. But the Merseysiders proved critics wrong as they bagged their fifth European Champions Cup. And what made it special? They were down 0-3 by halftime against Italian giants A.C. Milan, yet they scored three goals in ten minutes, forcing extra time, and ultimately the penalty kick round. Jerzy Dudek’s spaghetti-moves spelled disaster for the Italian club as the Reds beat them, 3-2, capping Liverpool’s whirlwind run in the UEFA Champions League.
Runners-Up: The Chicago White Sox, Marat Safin and the San Sebastian Staglets.
Man of the Year: Tiger Woods - According to Tiger himself, he played the best golf of his life in 2005. With 2 majors for the 2005 season (The Masters and the Open Championship) tucked under his belt, his ten overall majors is now within striking distance of Jack Nicklaus’s eighteen. And with a golfing career extending to the forties by this time, he might as well surpass or even double that mark.
Runners-Up: Arwind Santos, Louie Alas, Fernando Alonso.
Woman of the Year: Danica Patrick - In the world of Indianapolis 500, men play the game. But this year, a rookie made bigger news than the race per se. Danica Patrick made racing history as she became the fourth woman to race in the Indy 500. Despite making a crucial error during qualifying (which cost her pole position), she rewritten history books again as she lead in the race. Despite not winning a single race in the Indy Racing League, she was named Rookie of the Year for the 2005 season. So what would Bernie Ecclestone say?
Runners-Up: Lindsay Davenport, Annika Sorenstam.
Player of the Year: Tom Brady of the New England Patriots - W hen it comes to today’s NFL, only one player would not choke when the game is on the line: Tom Brady. Brady proved it on the AFC Division Championships when the Pats beat the red-hot Indianapolis Colts, 20-3, and again on Super Bowl XXXIX, when New England beat the Philadelphia Eagles, 24-21, after throwing TD passes to wide receiver Branch. He may be backed by a great team, but when it’s American Football, the quarterback stands out.
Runners-Up: Roger Federer, Ronaldinho, and Arwind Santos.
Rookie of the Year: Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers - In the NFL, having a 15-1 record is like having a 72-10 record in the NBA. And having a rookie quarterback, it is just simply amazing. Most quarterbacks need three years to master the offense. But “Big Ben” did not three seasons to master the Steeler offense, he just needed 13 wins. Too bad the Steelers would have to face defending champions New England Patriots in the Conference Championships. Hey, if the Steelers beaten the Pats, then the Pittsburgh could have been champions.
Runners-Up: Ben Custodio of the UE Red Warriors, Danica Patrick, Richard Alvarez of the Shell Turbo Chargers.
Match of the Year: Wimbledon Women’s Singles Final (Venus Williams vs. Lindsay Davenport - I just watched the replay of this match a night ago. An All-American final (When would a Brit win the Wimbledon? Hahahaha), Venus’ strength overpowered the then world’s number one. Ms. Davenport, who never won a Grand Slam title this year, was on the brink of winning The Championships when, up on the final set 7-6, she collapsed as Venus smashed her way, winning the marathon third set, 9-7. What made this special? Just two nights before, everybody saw what was supposed to be the match of the tournament when Venus and the defending champion Maria Sharapova played the loudest match in Wimbledon history. Talk about endurance and stamina, coming off from an injury.
Runners-Up: Brazilian Grand Prix, UAAP Finals Game 1 (Tamaraws vs. Green Archers), Australian Open Men’s Singles Final (Safin vs. Hewitt)
Play of the Year: U.S. Grand Prix Pullout - With Michelin not providing adequate proper tires (or tyres as the Brits spell it), the Michelin-tyred teams demanded for a chicane to be constructed on the “dangerous” Turn 13. But with FIA not budging, the seven teams pulled out after the warm-up lap, which led to the first (and only) Ferrari victory in the season, beating the Jordans and the Minardis in a debris-filled racetrack. Now what would happen after this season? Let’s see.
Runners-Up: Hernan Crespo scoring two goals in the UEFA CL Final, Batista winning the Royal Rumble, Tiger Woods’ very long putt in the final hole of the Masters
Defection of the Year: Johnny Damon (from the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees) - Really, who would have thought that the Johnny Damon, of all people, would abandon the Red Sox, and defect to the team he helped decimate two seasons before? Hey, in pro sports, money is everything, and when the Evil Empire offers, it is hard to resist. Now, when's the haircut?
Runners-Up: Ron Artest (from the Indiana Pacers), Ronnie Bughao (from the San Beda Red Lions to the Ateneo Blue Eagles), Rogemar Menor (from the San Beda Red Cubs to the De La Salle Green Archers then back to the San Beda Red Lions).
Cheap Shot of the Year: Manny Salgado to Arwind Santos, in the UAAP Finals - Who would have thought that a Lasallian (of all people), would hit UAAP MVP Arwind Santos at the back of the head, when the game is over? Yes, trash talking is a part of the game, but hitting your opponent, when his back is turned is just plain cheap. And what is cheaper? When Salgado reasoned out that Santos was bad mouthing him. No matter what a person says, you have no right to hit him back. And what made it special? Santos did not retaliate. Sure, he did try to hit back, but he was restrained, and made his game do the talking, as the Tamaraws swept the Green Archers in the UAAP Finals.
Runners-Up: Shawn Michaels to Hulk Hogan, Joseph Yeo to Enrico Villanueva, fans of Inter Milan to AC Milan
Choker of the Year: Andriy Shevchenko in the UEFA CL Final - When it matters the most, you put all of your trust to your star player. And in AC Milan’s case, the unenviable task belongs to Andriv Shevchenko. And with match going to the penalty kick round, it’s the kicker and the goalie. Nevermind the yelling and chanting fans around you, the time is now. And with his club down 3-2, Shevchenko needs to score for Milan to equalize. Miss and the title goes to Liverpool. As kicked waekly to the middle of the net, here comes Dudek blocking the ball and winning the title for Liverpool. So much for being Ukraine’s top-ranked player, eh? Well, there’s always next time.
Runners-Up: Roger Clemens in the World Series, Andy Roddick in the Wimbledon Championships, the Oklahoma Sooners in the Orange Bowl
Retirement of the Year: Mike Tyson - Talk about a Fighting Irish, and I’m not even talking about Notre Dame. The fighting Irish is Kevin McBride, who finally ended Mike Tyson’s career. Tyson needs to keep on fightin’ to earn a livin’ or else his creditors will squeeze him out. Needless to say, Tyson heeded the call of nature, as he quit by not answering the bell on the seventh round. So what’s next? Ear-biting?
Runners-Up: Reggie Miller, Alvin Patrimonio, Zinedine Zidane, Minardi F1
Tomorrow, it’s the glitz and glamour of showbiz, and on the 31st, it is the dirty world of politics.