We are well into the first week of 2021, a new year, a new decade, a new start. As we bid goodbye to 2020, a year that has been nothing short of a nightmare, we also bid goodbye to a decade that has given some really good memories to the sporting world.
When we at Zlingit did our last team meeting (virtual zoom meeting obviously) of 2020, our sports fanatic team ended up discussing our favourite moments from world sports that happened in the last decade. And we decided what better way to start the new decade than by sharing our favourite sporting memories from the previous decade.
Note: Not all memories mentioned below are sporting memories, some maybe memories off-pitch involving fans, players or teams.
#1 2011 - When a fan lifted the World Cup
2011 was a good start to the decade, especially if you are from one of the commonwealth countries and have grown up on cricket. The 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup saw the Indian Cricket Team become world champions in front of a packed stadium in their own home and with more than 3 billion watching in front of a screen. The events of the night are still afresh in almost all cricket lovers mind, what holds a special place in our hearts is the gesture by the one and only Sachin Tendulkar when he invited his ardent fan and the unofficial mascot of the Indian team, Sudhir Chaudhary to celebrate the victory with the Indian team in the dressing room. The images from the next morning showed Sudhir holding the world cup trophy along with his idol Sachin Tendulkar, a sight that set the tone for the decade to come.
#2 2012 - Armstrong’s fall from grace
Lance Armstrong’s story up until now wasn’t less than that of a movie, a cancer survivor who put competitive cycling on the map for most people goes on to win 7 Tour de France. He even created Livestrong, a foundation that provides support to people suffering from cancer. He was the American hero, people loved him, his legacy was already built. Until the United States Anti-Doping Association unceremoniously stripped him of his seven Tour de France titles and banned him from the sport permanently. Lance eventually lost his endorsements from Nike and other sponsors and also most of his fans.
#3 2013 - The year of two Goodbyes
2013 saw two of the greats of the sporting world with long illustrious careers bid goodbye to their fans in two of the most heartwarming farewells ever. If one was ‘The Little Master’, unarguably one of the greatest batsmen the game of cricket has ever seen, the other was the most successful British manager in the history of football. In May 2013, Sir Alex Ferguson bid goodbye to the fans at Old Trafford and the footballing world after a 26-year long managerial career that saw him lift 38 trophies with Manchester United. Later that year in November, Sachin Tendulkar played his last international cricket match in his home city in front of a packed stadium with more than 33,000 people witnessing the legendary player bat one last time. What the fans didn’t expect was a farewell speech that left millions of fans across the world crying.
#4 2016 - Leicester City wins EPL
Everyone loves an underdog. And 2016 gave the world one of the greatest underdog stories, one to talk about for the coming few decades. In May of 2016, we saw Leicester City win the English Premier League overcoming an unthinkable 5000-1 odds at the start of the season. This was only their second season in the Premier League after being promoted in 2014, where they spent more than half of the season at the dead bottom of the table. To go from that position to win the league in a span of 18 months was nothing short of a miracle and hence without a doubt makes our list of the decade.
#5 2018 - Viking Claps
2018 saw the French National Team go to win the 2018 FIFA World Cup held in Russia. But the memory from the world cup that stuck by us, was the reception the Icelandic Team got from their fans during and after their every match (especially the last one). We already spoke about it in one of our previous articles, but we just couldn’t resist not mentioning it again. For a team to come from where they came, to reach that stage and hold teams like Argentina (previous runner ups) and Croatia (eventual runner ups) on the back seat for the longest was an achievement on its own. Something their fans understood and reciprocated in their reception of their team. The Viking claps will be a memory that a lot of sports lovers will cherish for a long long time.
#6 2019 - Kiwis lose the cup but win hearts
The 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup saw the English Team win the trophy for the first time ever after what can be called the most dramatic and surreal cricket match ever. The Kiwis (New Zealand Cricket Team) lost the final because of one extremely unlucky incident followed by a very bizarre/unfair rule which eventually was changed after the tournament because the lawmakers, as well as the cricketing community, realised how unfair the aftermath of the rule was. Irrespective of all that, the way the Kiwis handled themselves at the end of the match, how they accepted the result of the match and the decision of the umpires and referee, even when everything that happened was clearly unfair to them, really showed why cricket was once termed as the Gentleman’s Game.
#7 2020 - Season Tickets for a lifetime and beyond
The last memory on this list is the most special one for us. 2020 has been by far the worst year for sports. We lost some of the greatest players that ever lived, we were forced into a world without live sports for a long time, and even now going to a stadium like the old days looks like a distant dream. Even on the sporting front, we saw some amazing stories and performances this year. But what took the highlight for us is a gesture by Fenerbahçe S.K. a Turkish football club from Istanbul. Mumtaz Amca and Ihsan Teyze were two of the most known Fenerbahçe fans. They were an older couple and they didn't even miss a match of the side. The gentleman passed away a few years ago and his wife recently did so too and, as a tribute, Fenerbahçe placed a photo of them both on the seats they used to sit at. It is gestures like this that really highlight what sports really stand for. Because Sports clubs and stars exist because fans do and when clubs validate fans for their support, it’s always a memory to cherish.