Saturday, September 20, 2014 • 09:05
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Sports and holidays go hand-in-hand



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Another great memory of sports in December — when the VCHS football team beat Madison to win the CIF title in 2008.
December 06, 2013
If you're at all like me, hardly a holiday will go by without a handful of accompanying sports events on the viewing schedule.

There's just something festive about cheering for a team while stuffing one's face with a meat-and-potatoes-and-pie buffet of deliciousness that gets me in the holiday spirit.

Thanksgiving, of course, means a trio of increasingly competitive NFL games, as the Lions are no longer the comic relief of Turkey Day that they were in the years of my childhood. Oh, Wayne Fontes, how we miss you.

This year's slate of games proved to be a fun mix of outstanding talent (Calvin Johnson is probably the most fun athlete to watch right now), a little bit of nail-biting action (you never know what Tony Romo will come up with in a big game), and a helping of controversy to end the night (how does an NFL coach not know he's got one foot on the playing field during a kick return?).

Even after the leftovers began to dwindle, we saw an amazing ending from the college football ranks, as Auburn beat longtime rival and No. 1-ranked team Alabama on a 108-yard return of a missed field goal for a touchdown with only one second on the clock. I was able to catch the second half of that game, and even though I don't really follow college football all that closely, I still couldn't help but get sucked in by the back-and-forth game. And then the finish — it still gives me goosebumps when I see the replay.

I still have plenty of fond memories from lots of holiday games from years past, including the Leon Lett fumble in the snow to give the Dolphins another field goal (a personal favorite, since I've been a longtime Miami Dolphins fan) and the unbelievable game between Oklahoma and Boise State that featured a hook-and-ladder for a touchdown and a Statue of Liberty play for the gamewinning two-point conversion (capped by the running back who scored that conversion proposing to his cheerleader girlfriend on the sideline after the game).

And more locally, I remember some big Valley Center games that happened in late November and into December, including some ups (the 2008 football team beating Madison at Qualcomm Stadium to win the CIF Division IV championship) and some downs (the Mud Bowl game at Southwestern College a year later, in which Mission Bay's Dylan Baxter accounted for 384 rushing yards and seven touchdowns).

I've even participated in a few holiday sports traditions here and there, including (years ago) a Turkey Bowl flag football game at VC Middle School with a large group of local athletes.

How about you, Valley Center? What are your favorite holiday sports moments?

Drop me a line at sports@valleycenter.com to share your holiday sports memories, either from pro sports or from right here in your own backyard.

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