Game Changers: Memorable Events
We asked this year’s honorees: What is the most memorable sporting event you’ve attended?
Naz Aletaha: The 2005 USC vs. Notre Dame football game with the “Bush Push.” And the 2019 Champions League final in Madrid — my first international soccer game. Never in my life have I seen fandom like that. It was electric, and what we aspire to with “League of Legends.”
Megan Hughes Allison: Every Finals game during the Chicago Bulls’ 1996-97 season! The United Center was electric … the fans were amazing … my heart beat out of my body! By far the most memorable time in sports I have ever experienced!
Michelle Andres: Super Bowl XLVII when the Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers!
Molly Arbogast: The final stage of the Tour de France in Paris. It’s the most amazing setting for an event and the end of a grueling competition for the riders.
Christine Burke: I ran the New York City Marathon in 2001, just a few months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. I’ll never forget how my sense of fear and devastation was replaced by a sense of overwhelming New Yorker pride over those 26.2 miles.
Shelly Cayette: 2016 NBA championship game in Oakland (Cavs vs. Golden State Warriors) and championship parade following for a city that had not won a championship in 50-plus years.
Kim Damron: I’m a huge Dodger fan, and I’m proud to say I was at the 1988 World Series game for Kirk Gibson’s home run.
Kim Davis: My first basketball game. I must have been 7 or 8 years old. My uncle had season tickets for the Bulls. … I became a basketball fan because of that early exposure. That’s why I know when kids are exposed early, it changes their whole view.
Jill Driban: Super Bowl LII. Watching the Eagles win their first Super Bowl. My team. My hometown. Seeing people around me, grown men, in tears, while the confetti fell. Hearing “Dreams and Nightmares” on the sound system while the team ran out of the tunnel. And the Philly Special. It was pure and simple magic. It almost makes you forget how cold Minneapolis was.
Wendy Fallen: Being a member of my alma mater’s first-ever Big Ten women’s gymnastics championship.
Julie Giese: The Open Championship 2013.
Melissa Heiter: Definitely watching the Chicago Cubs win the NLCS during Game 6 at Wrigley Field in 2016. Given that it was the Cubs’ first pennant win since 1945, and that they had sealed their place in the World Series, there’s no doubt why the excitement level in Chicago will be something I’ll remember and cherish for the rest of my life. Go Cubs Go!
Krista Hiner: The 2018 Boston Major. Majors are top tier, international events. The 2018 Boston Major was the first time a North American team won a “Counter-Strike” major. Cloud9, the winner, is a client of mine, and they won in spectacular fashion. A close second is the American League Central tiebreaker game between the Twins and Tigers in 2009. It was a great game on its own, plus 1) the Twins won, and 2) it was the final year the Twins played in the Metrodome.
Terri Carmichael Jackson: You never forget your first time: 2016 WNBA Finals — all five games.
Michele Kajiwara: The 2014 World Cup in Brazil. My husband is Brazilian so it was extra special to be there with him to see the opening ceremony and match between Brazil and Croatia in Sao Paulo. The energy from all the global fans made it the most electric sporting experience I’ve ever experienced.
Meredith Kinsman: My son’s first soccer game.
Thayer Lavielle: Super Bowl 2002, watching Tom Brady clinch his first Super Bowl as a rookie. It’s been quite a ride as a Patriots fan ever since.
Melanie LeGrande: The Major League Baseball game played at Fort Bragg was especially special. I’m a military child, and my parents met while my father was stationed at Fort Bragg, as my mother’s family hails from the Fayetteville area. To be there in the intimate setting with my parents was pretty cool.
Michelle McGoldrick: My junior year of college my friends and I drove a Winnebago from Chestnut Hill, Mass., to South Bend, Ind., and watched the upset of a lifetime when Boston College defeated the fourth-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish 14-7. GO EAGLES!
Lucinda McRoberts: The most memorable sporting event I’ve attended is Game 1 of the 2004 World Series at Fenway Park. It would be the best sporting event I’ve attended if the Cardinals had won.
Jamie Morningstar: 2008 men’s basketball NCAA championship game. I had the opportunity to watch the Kansas Jayhawks (my alma mater) win the national championship. Most importantly, watching my brother who was on the team be a part of such an exciting victory.
Sianneh Mulbah: The 2015 WNBA Finals was an incredibly memorable event. Our Minnesota Lynx won their third WNBA title, buzz at Target Center was incredible and our Lynx were able to celebrate with nearly 19,000 fans.
Pamela Murrin: America’s Cup.
Laura Neal: I will never forget my first golf tournament — The Players Championship in 1997 — where I served as a volunteer during my senior year of college. Walking through those gates (in my tour-issued golf shirt and khaki shorts that were four sizes too big), I felt like I was part of something huge … even though my “job” was simply to put wristbands on people coming into a hospitality chalet. I could never have imagined that 10 years later I’d be working for the tour. That initial experience not only gave me a sense of the bigness of the tour, but also an appreciation for the volunteer workforce that makes our tournaments possible.
Gloria Nevarez: Too many to choose one.
Moira O’Connor: Working Super Bowl for the first time was by far the most memorable event I’ve ever been at. Working an event on that level with a team that is all working toward the same goal and leaving at the end of the night after a successful event on that scale, there isn’t anything else like it.
Nicolina O’Rorke: 2007 Georgetown vs. Vanderbilt Sweet Sixteen game at the Continental Airlines Arena. I was sitting with my now husband and his Vandy buddies when Jeff Green hit a game-winning buzzer beater. It was tough to celebrate graciously in a sea of despairing Vanderbilt alumni.
Djenaba Parker: I’m a huge tennis fan so probably Roland Garros (French Open) in 2015.
Ana Shapiro Queenan: It’s a tie: As a Canadian, watching men’s gold medal hockey at the Vancouver Games was unbelievable. Singing “O Canada” on the last day of the Games, surrounded by my family and friends, after being a part of the organizing committee in my home country, was emotional and such a proud moment. As a woman in sport, and a former hockey player
(who had to play on a boys team growing up), watching women’s gold medal hockey in Pyeongchang was inspiring. The level of hockey was amazing, and the women on both teams are such amazing competitors and role models for young girls, which is something that I didn’t really have in hockey growing up.
Caroline Rebello: Game 6 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final in St. Louis. The city was absolutely electric and the eventual outcome became one of the greatest stories in sports.
Tracie Rodburg: New York Giants Super Bowl victory in 2008. I had my sister with me and it was amazing.
Carla Rosenberg: Wimbledon.
Tara Gutkowski Schwartz: Being present at the inaugural NBA Africa Game in 2015, the first-ever basketball game featuring NBA players on the continent. It was a historic moment.
Carrie Skillman: 2010 World Cup — USA vs. Algeria. Landon Donovan scoring in extra time to advance the USMNT into the next round of the tournament still gives me chills til this day thinking about it.
Maureen Smith: Michigan vs. Ohio State, 1991, and getting to witness Desmond Howard’s Heisman pose after his 93-yard punt return.
Amy Sprangers: Super Bowl XLVIII.
Neda Tabatabaie: I’ll give you two from last season. Toronto Raptors vs. Golden State Warriors, NBA Finals, where Oracle Arena turned into Canada after each win. And Sharks Game 7 win over the Vegas Golden Knights in Round 1. Still gives me chills.
Tina Thornton: I worked the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament in 1995, two years after graduating from Wake Forest. Wake beat UNC 82-80 in overtime in the championship game. Randolph Childress scored 37 points with the game-winner and had 107 points over three games. An amazing performance … I was in tears.
Alisha Valavanis: Last season, Game 3 of the Finals to secure the WNBA championship. It was a franchise third and my very first.
Whitney Wagoner: I love the finish line of the NYC marathon in Central Park.