My most vivid professional sports memory - May 1989
On May 26th, 1989, it was the last match of the season for what is now called the English Premier League.
By some tortuous fate, the number 1 and 2 teams in the league were scheduled to play their last game against each other.
Despite being 10 years old at the time, the finish of this season was so dramatic that it got etched into my mind forever. I remember which room i was in, that it was too late for me to be awake, and exactly how i felt when the last seconds of the match were being played. Even watching this excerpt video now, 30 years later, gives me chills!
We had been living in London for a couple of years already, so i have a strong memory of how dominant Liverpool were at the time in English football/soccer. They had won the League and the FA Cup the year before, had won the FA Cup a week before this match, were leading the championship going into the last day of play, and so Arsenal had the totally impossible task, if they wanted to be champions, of winning at Anfield in Liverpool by a margin of at least two goals. Impossible.
At the time, English football was not the glitzy, star-studded, ultra-wealthy affair that it later became. It was pretty rough and tumble, with the playing style best summarized as "we're gonna kick and run, we're gonna kick and run, we're gonna kick and run, we'll get a goal." Not really very sophisticated, but it was a lot of fun to watch.
As a youngster in London, i was supporting Arsenal for no other reason than thinking their away kit was cool with its black and yellow colors, the large JVC letters on the front, and loving their logo with the little wheeled canon.
But you get emotionally involved with the teams you support, and on that night, i was deeply happy to experience the dying seconds of an entire football season come to this breathtaking finish. Even the typically steely British commentators are falling out of their chairs from excitement.