Time travel worthy moments in Louisiana sports history.
In the face of chaos, it’s funny how a simple sports conversation can lend us blinders to the upsetting realities that surround us.
Following the devastation of the tornado that left some in Ruston piecing together their broken lives, one of those innocent sports conversations led myself and KNOE’s Aaron Dietrich down a wormhole the other day — which sports events or moments would you love to hop in a time machine and simply be a fly on the wall for.
Now I know it sounds silly, especially after something so horrific had just rocked us to our core, but in a way, these are the type of conversations people gravitated toward on SportsTalk977’s “The Morning Drive” in the aftermath.
The time travel thought came to me when Dietrich was talking about the well-received documentary on the Dream Team, which followed Team USA at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.
The highlight of the documentary for me centered on an epic practice that pitted Magic Johnson against Michael Jordan and matched Karl Malone against Charles Barkley and so on.
Oh what I would give to be a fly on the wall on that fateful day that the torch was passed. The story goes MJ walked into the locker room afterward and said, “There’s a new sheriff in town.” And Magic and Larry Bird couldn’t disagree.
That’s a national moment I’d love to visit, but then when you start to think about local moments, you can go many places, as many listeners did.
One of the first places I went in my head was Alabama’s locker room after ULM did the unthinkable.
That 21-14 upset victory against Crimson Tide becomes more remarkable by the year because, as you know, Nick Saban’s dynasty at Alabama has become one of the most dominant in sports.
With a fancy time travel gadget on your wrist, wouldn’t you like to be hiding behind a locker to hear what Saban had to say following that loss? You might need a pair of earmuffs for barrage of cuss words.
Speaking of Saban, there are other moments of his I would like to visit, and trust me, there’s a local tie-in. One of those moments would be the discussions he had with Miami doctors as well as other members of the Dolphins staff about Drew Brees and Daunte Culpepper. The Dolphins swung and missed with Culpepper.
And as fate would have it, Brees joined the Saints and lead New Orleans to its only Super Bowl victory while Saban left the Dolphins for the Alabama Crimson Tide.
While Brees led the Saints to dramatic wins, like the one in 2006 when the Superdome reopened and Steve Gleason left his mark with a blocked punt (you better believe that’s one of the stops we’re making with this time travel gizmo), Saban created a dynasty that would haunt LSU fans still to this day.
No game has ever generated more sleepless nights than that 2012 BCS National Championship Game, where Saban and Alabama stymied LSU’s offense to the point the Tigers couldn’t pass the 50-yard line.
Rumors and innuendo flooded the state after that game about whether or not there was a fight in LSU’s locker room before the game.
Was the team divided about how Les Miles handled Jarrett Lee’s benching for Jordan Jefferson.
We still never really got the full story of what went down behind the scenes, but fans could take one look at the team’s entrance onto the field that day and immediately tell something wasn’t right.
For that, it would be hard not to peep behind the curtain before opening kickoff.
These are some key events that have taken place in the state over the years, and really, we’ve barely scratched the surface on iconic moments in this state’s history. Some would love to revisit the Terry Bradshaw days at Louisiana Tech or the days of Pete Maravich at LSU.
Others would seek out some of the best moments in sports like Warren Morris hitting a walk-off home run to beat Miami in the 1996 College World Series.
If time travel was real, heck, some Louisiana sports fans would make a one-way trip, constantly reliving the glory of some of the finest moments of our childhood.
It may be a fantasy, but sometimes these are the type of conversations that bring us together on our darkest days.
And that’s the beauty of sports, isn’t it?
When a natural disaster rocks our area, we’re always one sports conversation away from taking our minds off of reality.
Just one piece of advice should you discover one of these time travel devices, though: maybe steer clear of that aforementioned 2012 game.