ESPY Awards inspiring

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 29, 2004

Even though I consider myself a diehard ESPN fan, I had never watched the ESPY Awards.

I religiously watch SportsCenter every night. Some nights work prevents me from watching, so I make sure to watch the rerun of the highlight show in the morning while getting ready to work.

I enjoy most every sport, so watching SportsCenter helps me keep up with every sport without me having to watch every game played.

Sunday night, I watched the sports stations award show for the first time and was impressed. Like most awards shows televised today, the ESPY’s had comedic monologues and skits along with musical guests.

I agreed with most of the recipients of the awards presented, but one struck me as inspiring.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre won the Best Moment and Under Armour Undeniable Performance awards for his play during the Monday Night Football game held Dec. 22, following the untimely passing of his father Irvin.

Favre showed a lot of courage stepping out onto the field that night, which proved to be one of his best performances of his career. In his 205th consecutive start, Favre completed 22-of-30 passes for 399 yards and two touchdowns as he led the Packers to a 41-7 blowout over the Oakland Raiders.

His passes were blessed. His teammates were focused. And I’m sure his father was smiling down on him from heaven.

The ESPY committee put together a real nice speech prior to presenting Favre, who had a prior engagement, with the award. His wife and mother accepted on his behalf. Stories such as Favre’s inspire me and I’m sure it does others as well.

It’s the stories of people’s triumphs and those who overcome tribulations that make me excited to be a sports fan.

The stories of the good, the bad and the ugly in sports don’t do much for me. They’re sometimes interesting, but at other times, they can be pretty intrusive.

In case you were unable to watch the ESPY Awards, here are the awards I agreed with 100 percent:

Best Male Athlete: Lance Armstrong.

Best Breakthrough: LeBron James (Cavaliers Super Rookie).

Best Game: Super Bowl: Patriots vs. Panthers.

Best Record Breaking Performance: Eric Gagne (MLB consecutive save record with 85).

Best Sports Movie: Miracle (although I believe Radio was better).

Best Male College Athlete: Emeka Okafor.

Best Female College Athlete: Diana Turasi.

Best Moment: Brett Favre (Monday Night Magic).

Best Play: New Orleans Saints’ lateral.

Best Upset: Detroit Pistons (NBA champions over Lakers).

Best Championship Performance: Phil Mickelson (The Masters).

Best MLB Player: Barry Bonds.

Best NBA Player: Kevin Garnett

Best Driver: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Best Female Golfer: Annika Sorenstam.

Best Female Soccer Player: Mia Hamm.

Best Female Tennis Player: Serena Williams.

As for the other winners, I have no problem agreeing that they are great at what they do and will go down as history as one of the best in his/her sport, but there are a couple athletes I feel should have been recognized.

I believe Best Coach/Manager should have gone to Jack McKeon, who led the Florida Marlins to the World Series title in his first year as skipper.

The Best NFL Player should have gone to Atlanta Falcon quarterback Michael Vick because even though he was hurt most of the season last year, he is most definitely the most dominating player in the league. I completely understand why Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning won if the vote was based on total performance throughout the year. I guess it could have gone either way.

As for Best Golfer, Tiger Woods is still the man. I don’t care what any sports analyst has to say. He’ll break through his current slump and prove to everyone why he’ll go down in history as the best golfer ever. Phil Mickelson is playing the better golf as of lately, but everyone should be prepared because Tiger is on the prowl.

My opinions may not mean much to the ESPY Award committee, but I like to think my favorites in the game keep me interested. They inspire me with their performance and keep me on the edge of my couch each and every weekend.

Adam Prestridge is sports

editor of The Greenville Advocate. He can be reached at 382-3111, ext. 122 or by e-mail: adam.prestridge@greenvilleadvocate.com