One comment on the video pretty much sums them up:
Damn, Japan... Even your bees are ninjas...
These hornets happen to have one natural predator that cannot be hurt by their stings: a Big, Badass Bird of Prey who like the honey badger has the word "honey" in its name.
Dolphins. The cutest marine critters there are... and they are real Badasses of the ocean. Sharks fear dolphins. Why? Because dolphins tend to gang-up sharks, and ram them on their gills, killing the sharks. The nose of a dolphin is called rostrum, "battering ram", because of its toughness. While sharks are stronger one-on-one, dolphins do team up and are far more intelligent.
Orcas (aka killer whales) can disable, kill and eatgreat white sharks, the feared predators of the deep.
The way they do this is incredibly smart. They deliberately flip the shark upside down, causing it to go into tonic immobility (it becomes unconscious and/or paralyzed until it can right itself) and then hold the shark that way until it suffocates.
Orcas do the same trick with stingrays, in order to subdue them and make them easier to eat.
Entire populations of Great White Sharks have been known to disappear from an area once an orca starts hunting and killing them. That's right — Great Whites run when orcas develop a taste for shark meat (especially the liver). Some orcas are actually known to rip the liver out of great whites that they kill, and leave the rest of the shark's carcass untouched.
Hell, the orca will ram into sharks and hit them in such a way that the internal organs explode.
Orcas have also been observed eating makos, which are known for their intelligence and speed among sharks.
Sure, eating a great white is pretty impressive. How much more badass can it get? Well, how about the fact that they also eatpolar bears?
Orcas have also been seen to kill and eat whale sharks, which while lacking the ferocity of great whites (they're plankton eaters), are enormous.
Megalodon has a reputation for being an extremely badass marine predator, and yet scientists believe it wasn't able to compete with orcas and thus driven to extinction. Some even think the mega-sharks died out because orcas ate their young.
Orcas have been observed chasing a pod of another whale species until there is a sort of agreement between the two groups, then they both stop, pursued group will have what looks like a discussion, and one of them will swim among the orcas to be devoured.
Orcas are sometimes called the wolves of the sea. This is inaccurate, mostly because wolves are nothing like as effective as predators.
Orcas generally however, don't eat the above, they substain themselves mostly on seals and sea lions. Hunting them in the water is hard. Orca solution? Hunt them on land.
Sperm Whales, Massive, Giant-Squid-eating whales that can stun things with their Echolocation. Orcas hunt those too. They do so by ramming it repeatedly, Biting equally repeatedly or in case of smaller Pods, wait for one mother and her child to get away from the rest, shove the mother away from her child and drown the child before eating.
To put an emphasis on how they're pretty much the second must successful species on earth (Right after humans), their range consists of two thirds of the world. All of the parts of the world that are ocean are Orca Territory, they're that good.
The octopus is smart enough that it can escape fishnets and supposedly secure tanks. Its lack of bones also plays a part in this however. They can also be taught to open jars, although they have short memories and have to be taught again the following day.
Wolverines are not very impressive-looking creatures. They are compact little blobs of dark shaggy fur rarely weighing more than forty pounds (18kg for the metrically inclined). They are the largest extant members of family Mustelidae, and can therefore be thought of as giant weasels (to which they are evolutionary cousins), with the weasel's distinctive trait of manic berserk bloodlust combined with impressively powerful, bone-crushing jaws. A forty pound wolverine can kill a caribou weighing half a ton, and then successfully defend the carcass from a pack of two dozen wolves, any of which is three times its size, or from a polar bear weighing more than the car you drive. Other predators know the wolverine's scent and avoid it by instinct except in the gravest extreme, because it's never worth it. It is bad luck to provoke a wolverine.
If we're going to talk about badass mustelidae, how about the Ratel - more commonly known as the honey badger. It may not eat zebras, but they are known for being able to tangle with lions. How does it manage to do this? Groin Attack. With teeth.
Honey badgers have two favourite foods. One of them is honey. They rob beehives while bee stings just tickle them. The other is... cobras. Scaly sausage... nomnomnomnom!
Those guys are known to have attacked and eaten pythons of up to four meters length, and all kinds of venomous snakes. They have excellent natural resistance to various venom.
Best of all, they can be tamed, and make excellent pets.
The King Cobra. It can kill elephants. A snake can kill an elephant!
And the Mongoose kills the King Cobra. And not even for food, but just because it apparently thinks that the King Cobra needs to occasionally be taken down a peg.
Speaking of mongoose, a couple of million years ago, a few mongoose from Africa ended up on Madagasgar. Lemurs had no natural enemies, so were easy prey for the mongoose. But after a while, the lemurs started taking to the trees when one showed up, where the mongoose could not follow. So did the mongoose starve? Hell no. They turned into cats.
Dinosaurs. They completed dominated the scene for 160 million years (to put it into context, humans have been around for only 200,000 years, not even 1 percent of the time) and it took a GIANT ASTEROID to finish them off.
And plenty of birds are still awesome. Take, for instance, cassowaries, which even look like dinosaurs (and are also deadly, but that's par for the course in Australia.) Then there are all the birds of prey.
One the other hand, humanity has only been around for 200,000 years compared to their 160,000,000 years, and we managed to get to space. Take That dinos!
Technically speaking, humanity. We're average-strength at best, and had an average lifespan of 20-something years for most of our history. Yet, we've managed to go all the way into space, inhabit 6 of the 7 continents with impunity, and pwn just about every other species out there. All within mere millennia!
When you consider what humanity looked like in 1011 to now, it's safe to say that we humans are pretty damned badass as a collective whole.
Don't forget the fact that the only reason (non-scientist) humans aren't living in Antarctica is the Antarctic Treaty. We're so awesome, we have to set limits on our awesomeness!
The way ancient humans hunted was to follow their prey over long distances and outlast them through endurance, until the creature either died of exhaustion or was too tired to escape as they closed in for the kill.
This praying mantis fought off a Spectral Tarsier 100 times its own size. No wonder they inspired their own martial art!
Do NOT mess with a Cape buffalo calf if its herd is nearby, even if you are a pride of lions. They will kick your collective asses. It's them, not lions or elephants or rhinos, that hunters tend to consider the most dangerous of Africa's big game animals.
Hunters often say that you have to kill them in one shot, because it's impossible to score a lethal shot on a pissed, charging buffalo that can and will destroy your jeep.
Ever see a dragonfly in flight? Dragonflies are the ace pilots of the insect world. Seriously, not only do they capture prey on the wing, some species will even mate while flying.
Plants and animals living in the area where the Chernobyl disaster occurred have actually taken back the places where humans used to live and have mostly adapted to the radiation. While there's still some cases of mutation, the population is thriving.
A pack of hyenas are attacking a buffalo. Two rhinos see, think "that's not right", so approach. In short, they intimidate the hyenas into stopping by just standing there. No charges, no warnings; just their size and knowledge of what they can do is enough to make the hyenas stop.
Ants and and termites are probably some of the most successful animal species on the planet. Not only do they outnumber humans to the point where "a million to one" is a conservative estimatenote Total human population? 9 billion (9,000,000,000). Total estimated ant population? 1 quadrillion (1,000,000,000,000,000)! , but they can perform some impressive tasks. Frequently mentioned is the ant's incredible strength, easily capable of lifting an object ten times their size. Not frequently mentioned is the level of an ant's cohesive unity. Army ants, for example are so coordinated and unified that they are capable of overwhelming just about any animal smaller than a mid-sized lizard through sheer force of numbers. Army ants are completely unstoppable when on the march, going so far as to make bridges and ladders out of their own bodies◊ to let other ants cross over wide gaps and streams. Somewhere, Karl Marx weeps with envy.
Operación San Lorenzo - the rescue operation for the 33 miners trapped underground by a cave-in at the San Jose Mine in Chile in 2010. At least six foreign countries aided in the rescue effort - the capsule was designed by NASA, the drill for the main shaft was provided by Canada, and the drill which made the pilot hole through which supplies were passed was South African. In the end, all 33 miners were rescued in remarkably good health. During the first 14 days, they were presumed dead.
Any time a large-scale humanitarian effort goes underway: e.g. Hurricane Katrina, Haitian earthquake, Chinese earthquake, etc. Regardless of the niggling BS that can surround these, generally done by someone with their head up their ass on the issue, there are countless Moments of Tears, Heartwarming, and Awesome... sometimes enough to spawn a series of "comic" strips regarding the heroism of those involved.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker had already developed a reputation as a "hands-on" mayor when he started shoveling the driveways of citizens who asked him to — no small task in a city with 277,000 people. But his Momentof Awesome came when he literally ran through a wall of fire to save a woman from a burning building.
US Airways Flight 1549 — often referred to as "The Miracle on the Hudson". A ten-year-old Airbus A320 jetliner taking off from La Guardia Airport in the middle of New York City struck a flock of Canada geese at 3,200 feet (980 m) that wrecked both engines, nearly eliminating all power for the pilots and leaving insufficient range to reach any runway, even the one they took off from. What resulted was at least four separate Awesome Moments, each of which almost certainly saved lives:
One for the Airbus design team, for, over thirty years before, deciding on a fly-by-wire design which kept the plane in control and flying with optimum lift, leaving the pilots space to think about higher-level decisions like where to land;
One for Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, a lifelong pilot, Air Force veteran, safety expert, former glider instructor pilot, and his co-pilot Jeffrey B. Skiles, another lifelong pilot with decades of experience, for keeping the plane in the air as long as possible as they abbreviated an engine recovery procedure designed for high altitude (including Sully's addition to this procedure: activating the auxiliary power, which kept the electrical systems fully running while the engines fell apart), and then for managing a near-textbook water landing despite never recovering sufficient power to fly;
One for the passengers and flight attendants, for apprising the situation and coming together to prepare for the crash (including several passengers protecting children with their own bodies, and one passenger watching the window to alert them all to the moment of impact), then successfully and quickly evacuating through the exits onto the inflated slides (which were acting as rafts) and wings;
And one for the local commercial, police, fire, and Coast Guard vessels who responded almost immediately to pick all 155 occupants of the plane out of the water alive.
Finally, when you consider the odds, Captain Sully never had a chance to practice. Water landings are tricky and dangerous at best and if the plane doesn't hit in exactly the right way, often fatal. With no practice and not much time, Sully landed it in the ideal manner. The result was only five injuries, only two of which were serious.
The crew of the Titanic. While the ship was sinking, they stayed at their posts, right up until the very end. Hell, the engineers who stayed at their posts, in the bowels of the ship, providing power for the lights and wireless right up until the ship broke in half, deserve extra praise just for that, as they were allowed to leave, and still kept at their jobs. There's a reason why most of the crew didn't survive, and it wasn't just due to lack of lifeboats.
Special mention for the ship's band, who played bravely all through the sinking to help maintain calm, right up until the slant of the deck made it impossible to hold the instruments steady.
No love for the Carpathia? The ship was almost 60 miles away from Titanic's last known position when her radio operator got Titanic's distress signal. Captain Rostron not only ordered immediate maximum speed, but had the heating and hot water shut down to route a little more steam into the engines. Let's go over that: maximum speed, at night, heading straight into an icefield that's already sunk one liner. But she got through, and rescued everyone still alive.
The passengers of United Flight 93. On September 11, 2001, after a flight scheduled to fly from Newark, New Jersey to San Francisco, California was hijacked by four al-Qaeda terrorists, the passengers of Flight 93 called their loved ones to inform them of this event. After learning about the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, they decided to rush the cockpit as a group in order to regain control of the cockpit. They successfully prevented the hijackers from reaching their destination of Washington, D.C., where it is believed they would have hit the United States Capitol Building or the White House. United Flight 93 crashed in a field outside of Stonycreek Township near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Sadly, there were no survivors on United 93.
Every single passenger on that plane deserved a medal. What they did was truly remarkable. They were ordinary people. Ordinary people placed in an extraordinary situation leading to extraordinary tragedy. Facing extraordnary odds and extraordinary perils, they performed extraordinary deeds and became heroes. God Bless The Passengers of Flight 93.
It's debated what exactly happened aboard the flight, but United 93 is a good example of terrorism's limits. Terrorists, like despots, rely entirely on their victims' fears of what will happen to them. But if the worst is already going to happen, and there's a chance to spare others at the cost of your own life, it's hero time.
Stanley Prainmath, who was in the South Tower after the first plane had hit, was caught right in the middle of the second plane impact. He survived through a genuine miracle. Living proof that You Are Not Alone.
Everything Canada did, on 9/11 and in the weeks afterward. Suddenly faced with the total shutdown of American airspace and the diversion of hundreds of flights to Canadian airfields, the nation launched Operation Yellow Ribbon, a monumental effort by towns and cities all around the country to feed and temporarily house tens of thousands of panicked, frantic stranded American passengers. What would have happened had we not had the unswerving support of the country north of the border very much does not bear thinking about.
Rick Rescorla was a notable and famous AU Army Cavalry officer in Vietnam, best known for singing classic Cornish folk tunes to inspire his soldiers. He retired and became a security officer for Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in their offices in the World Trade Center, charged with the protection of 2,700 people. Then came 9/11.
"He was last seen on the tenth floor of the World Trade Center, headed up. Of the 2,700 people he had been charged with protecting, all but 6 survived the terrorist attack." note Source
Various corollaries to this story exist, but in a case of knowing where priorities should be placed, Valve began a fundraising campaign through its multiplayer game Team Fortress 2. They sold assorted Japanese-themed in-game items, with all proceeds from those sales going to The Red Cross. The promotion lasted for two weeks. The final tally? Over $430,000. Go gamers.
Shortly after the Japanese earthquake/tsunami, fans started posting watch pages to let people know when Japanese celebrities were confirmed safe. In particular, Norio Wakamoto hadn't been heard from for several days. Just when people started really getting worried, confirmation came in: he sent a message to a friend, saying that he was alright and asking them to pass word along to his other friends and family members, and that he was going back to personally help in the rescue efforts. There's a reason people worship this man.
During the tornados in Missouri, a woman protected her kids by placing a blanket over them and using her body as a shield when the tornado struck down. Her kids walked away fine and while she lost both her legs, she's just very happy to have been able to protect her children.
The captain and crew of British Airways Flight 9 of the Jakarta incident. They engines were all completely clogged with volcanic dust, and flamed out, and the cabin was filling with smoke and sulfur from the volcano. Yet the Captain kept calm and was eventually able to get the plane under control and regain the engines once they were clear of the ash. Despite everything they managed to land the plane safely, and miraculously not one passenger was injured or killed. The crew were rewarded with numerous medals and commendations; passengers and crew formed the Galunggung Gliding Club in order to keep in contact. One passenger wrote a book about the incident, and went on to marry a fellow survivor.
Even more awesome was Captain Eric Moody's reassuring statement (or understatement) to the passengers, as he and his crew were desperately trying to relight the engines:
"Ladies and gentlemen, this is the captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We're doing our damnedest to get them going again, and I trust you're not in too much distress."
During Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy, a hospital in New York City suffered a massive failure of both main power and two backup generators. An army of firefighters and rescue personnel traveled with an army of ambulances, braving the deadly storm, to pull each and every last person out. At one point, a CBS reporter reporting on the incident dropped his mic, put on the medical scrubs and aided in the massive rescue.
Another Hurricane Sandy moment: The guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery elected to stay and continue to guard the tomb, even in the face of the storm.
Norman Borlaug. He saved a billion lives. If anyone doesn't know who he was, please look up his article on The Other Wiki, because this man had multipleMoments of Awesome in his lifetime. He moved to Mexico, where he developed high-yield, disease-resistant varieties of wheat, which improved food stability. He proceeded to take his wheat varieties to Pakistan and India, greatly helping in their food stability, increasing their ability to feed people. Later in life, he took his work to China and Africa, aiding them in feeding the people. His work is credited in saving a billion lives by preventing death through starvation, is the father of the 'Green Revolution', and was a major proponent of using genetics to increase the food yield and resistance to disease in plants. And as for his enviromentalist critics, he had this to say:
"Some of the environmental lobbyists of the Western nations are the salt of the earth, but many of them are elitists. They've never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for fifty years, they'd be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things."
David Ortiz during the first Red Sox game after the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013 and one day after the capture of the second bomber: "This is our fucking city!"
Immediately after the bombing spectators and runners alike, with said runners having just completed a 26.2 mile run, stepped in to help police and EMS triage and treat victims. Many runners finished the race only to go straight to the Red Cross to donate blood. The medical tents, with doctors, nurses, and paramedics there to treat race-related injuries and dehydration, sprang into action, turning Copley Square into an impromptu MASH unit. Doubles as a Heartwarming Moment as well.
On May 6, 2013, in Cleveland, Ohio, dishwasher Chuck Ramsey stopped eating his dinner when he heard screams coming from a neighbor's home. He ran to them to find a young woman screaming for help. He kicked open the door, allowing the woman to escape. The young woman was 27 year old Amanda Berry, who had been missing for ten years. After a 911 call, police searched the home and also located 24 year old Gina Dejesus and 32 year old Michelle Knight, who had been missing for 9 and 11 years respectively. The girls had all vanished in separate incidents.
The 1925 serum run to Nome, Alaska, also called the "Great Race of Mercy", has been hailed for nearly a century as the crowning achievement of dog-sledding. The background: a diphtheria epidemic struck the city, which was totally icebound and had no antitoxin left save for a scant remainder that had already expired. With the port closed and the surrounding area all but impassable, the only routes available to bring the needed antitoxin to the stricken city were dogsled and bush airplane. The board of health initially wanted to use airplanes, but inclement weather crippled the engines of the primitive aircraft in use at the time, and the only remaining option was to bring the antitoxin in by dog-sled. As a result, twenty mushers and over a hundred and fifty dogs relayed the serum nearly seven hundred miles over some of the most forbidding terrain in the world in the space of five and a half days, a world record that still stands. The feat has never been duplicated. This legendary race against death became the basis for the modern Iditarod.
In the 2013 Nairobi attacks, one dentist managed to rush inside and helped to save 15 people from the mall, even rushing back in to save two people with pretty much no help from officials.
Another man who managed to flee the carnage managed to save a small girl who had been shot three times in the leg.
Abdul Haji, the former Kenyan defence minister's son was in the mall during the attack. He provided covering fire for the relief workers, civilians and first responders with his handgun when the shooting started and rescued multiple people including an American family.
Steve Buscemi, before he was an actor, was a firefighter. He showed up at his old firehouse the day after 9/11 to volunteer, and worked twelve hour shifts for a week, digging through rubble with his old comrades looking for missing firefighters... anonymously.
The rescue of Jessica Mc Clure, a 18-month-old girl who fell down a well.
The makers of The Dark Side of Chocolate, the documentary about the widespread use of child slaves in the cocoa industry, asked some companies to view their film but they refused. So what did they they do? They went to the headquarters of Nestle, the biggest giant in the industry, erected a giant screen right in front of it, and played their film. You can just imagine the corporate fat cats squirming in their seats. See it here.
Michael Moore crashed a Westboro Baptist Church protest with a mobile filled with proudly gay men and women. He and his gay friends exposed the protestors' bigoted views and embarrassed them so much that Fred Phelps called off the protest and sent his supporters home.See for yourself.
Yet another fabulous way to screw over the Westboro Baptist Church. - basically, counterprotestors found the car park where most of the Westboro visitors were parked, miles away from the funeral site, and parked pick-up trucks in front of every car with a Kansas licence plate. The trucks stayed there for the duration of a funeral of a soldier which was taking place in the town, thus thwarting their plan to picket the funeral.
When Westboro picketed the 2014 Final Four in Dallas, a group of people decided to split into four subgroups, each with their own couple of speakers and megaphones, made their way to the four intersections where the "church" was spewing its poison, and proceeded to drown them out with singalongs of Queen, Michael Jackson, Liberace, and various bands, before leaving when every member of the WBC had packed up and left. The last group finished thirty minutes after setting up shop.
In yet another jab at the Westboro Church, a group of guys have bought a house across the street from the church and painted in in rainbow colors, a prelude to its use as a headquarters of LGBT activism. A Take That and Heartwarming Moment at their finest.
Another attack on Westboro Baptist Church, this time a hacker hijacked a webpage the group made proclaiming the F5 tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma, was God's wrath for a recent outing, modifying it to show a picture of Jesus flipping the bird at them, delivering a short "The Reason You Suck" Speech, then posting a redirect link to the American Red Cross.
Keith Allen also gave a good punch in his documentary Keith Allen will Burn in Hell where he waited for the right opportunity to expose one of the greatest hypocrisies of all time: Shirley has an illegitimate son, and she's not going to hell according to herself.
Martin Luther King and the entire civil rights movement. Not only did they endure all of the crap the south could dish out, they did it without fighting back, earning popular support. Granted, they were helped by the south collectively holding the Idiot Ball...
It finally paid off in the most awesome way possible decades later. Just the inauguration of the first black president is enough to bring you to tears if you look back at MLK's efforts and struggles.
The women's rights movement, particularly the suffragists and suffragettes who fought for the right to vote.
The suffragists picketing the White House, the first group to do so.
The LGBT rights movement.
Graeme Taylor. When his teacher threw two students out of his Ann Arbor, Michigan classroom — one for wearing a Confederate flag, the other for bashing gays — he was suspended without pay. Graeme responded by speaking out at the school board meeting, urging them to reinstate the teacher and give him his pay. Graeme is openly gay and fourteen years old. He is clearly destined to become aMemetic Badass. You can agree or disagree with the teacher's actions, but man, awesome speech.
The Muslim man in this video. He is surrounded by a mob of angry Christians, chanting and throwing crosses at him. And what does he do? He ignores them completely. Instead, he simply carries out his prayers. And it turns out that he prayed for the families of the mob.
Mohamed Bouazizi was a street vendor in Tunisia, whose food cart was being taxed into oblivion. What does he do? He lights himself on FIRE as an act of protest. Not to mention this act kicked off the Arab Spring revolutions.
In 1970, Alabama State Attorney General Bill Baxley re-opened Birmingham's 16th Street Church bombing case (the basis for Spike Lee's 4 Little Girls and a turning point in the American Civil Rights movement). Over the years that followed, he received threatening letters from the state's still-powerful Ku Klux Klan chapter, including one from Klansman Dr. Edward R. Fields comparing him unfavorably to Robert Kennedy and implying that he might soon meet a similar fate to Kennedy. The full text of Baxley's response to Fields' letter, on official state letterhead:
Dear "Dr." Fields: My response to your letter of February 19, 1976 is — kiss my ass.
At a Neo Nazi Rally in Charlotte North Carolina, the nazis were met with counterprotestors who outnumbered them five-to-one. Did it get violent? No. The counterprotestors were dressed as clowns, and simply poked harmless fun at the nazis. A city councilmen even showed up with a red nose on! In the end, the counterprotestors got what they wanted: They made utter fools of the nazis.
On ABC News, a reporter was interviewing the mouth for the dictator of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "Now, sir, you have said that the Jews do not originate from the Middle East at all. Should you like to apologise?"
Chinese-American writer and activist Ben Fee was kicked out of a restaurant because of his race. In revenge, he told ten white friends what the restaurant had done. His white friends went to the restaurant and each ordered an expensive steak. Fee again tried to enter and was denied. He told the white customers (the restaurant owners had no idea they knew each other) about the restaurant's policy. Fee's friends got up and left, leaving the steaks half-cooked and unpaid for. This happened in 1924.
Also, William Alvord vetoing the ordinance banning "pigtails" for prisoners, which was specifically aimed at Chinese men with queues (an important part of Manchurian Identity), and Stephen Johnson Field for ruling the ordinance unconstitutional when it was passed under a later mayor. All this in the 1870s despite massive Sinophobia in society at that time (and for decades onward)!
A moment had to be given to Minnesotta Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, when, after hearing Maryland state delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr.'s letter attempting to shame fellow football player Brendon Ayanbadejo for his open support of gay rights, drafted the single-most scathing letter to be put forth by an athlete towards a government official on any topic ever. The letter needs to be read to be believed, but amongst others, the very opening paragraph does say:
"Your vitriolic hatred and bigotry make me ashamed and disgusted to think that you are in any way responsible for shaping policy at any level."
When a homophobic customer complained to the manager of a grocery store because the clerk was a lesbian, what does he do? He calls every grocery store within a 20-mile radius to get their clerks to pretend to be gay/lesbian just to get her goat! Now that's teamwork!
Sir Nicholas Winton saved the lives of 669 Czech Jewish children, sending them in trains to Great Britain and finding homes for them. Just because there was a need and the Nazis did not yet forbid it. Importantly, he told nobody for years. Only when some of the children grew up and wanted to thank him was his silent heroism was brought into attention. He is very much admired, respected and loved in the Czech Republic. When he appeared on the BBC's That's Life program in 1988, every single one of them came to Britain to thank him.
The British charity Help For Heroes rejecting funding from the English Defence League, a far-right fascist group that used the brutal murder of an English soldier named Lee Rigby, in order to further their own gains; this not only called them out, but also denied the EDL publicity they would have used even further. A matter of a few days later, the late soldier's regiment also told the English Defence League where to shove it as well, calling them out on exploiting the poor man's death too. Particularly awesome owing to the anti-Islamic paranoia that had hit Britain pretty badly after the murder.
As soon as the morning after the atrocity, many people of all faiths, and those without, such as secular humanists) rallied to defend those who were not involved with the killings (the majority of Muslim people in the UK, who were being demonised). Also a Heartwarming Moment.
Even Bill O'Reilly, who people don't exactly agree with on many things, promptly jumped to their defence, interviewing Tommy Robinson, their leader, and shredding him live on air, in front of the American public, by addressing his description of their group and dismissing it as Blatant Lies. Robinson more or less had his tail between his legs as the interview ended.
On June 13, 2013, the Australian Army's Chief of Staff announced a zero tolerance policy on sexual harassment:
Our service has been engaged in continuous operation since 1999, and in its longest war ever in Afghanistan. On all operations, female soldiers and officers have proven themselves worthy of the best traditions of the Australian army. They are vital to us, maintaining our capability now and into the future. If that does not suit you, then get out.
White Supremacist and Boomerang Bigot Craig Cobb tried turning a small town into a white supremacist haven. The town's solution? Call the cops and get the wanker arrested. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.
Post WWII, the KKK had a sudden surge in popularity. Stetson Kennedy went undercover so he could reveal all the hidden secrets of the KKK at the time, but afterwards no one was interested in what he had to say. So, he went to the writers of the Superman radio serial, which lead to them creating a 16-episode series titled "Clan of the Fiery Cross", where all the information he had gathered on them was revealed. Superman vs KKK? Superman wins. Two weeks after, recruitment was down to zero.
In the Charles Manson trials, mention must be given to Linda Kasabian standing down a group of killers threatening the same to her, all the while maintaining enough composure to give her testimony (albeit through tears). After already having an emotional breakdown as a result of said killings. When a Manson Family member screamed, "You're killing us!" she shot back, "I'm not killing you!You've already killed yourselves." Whatever you think of her, you've gotta hand it to Linda: that was excellent.
In addition, she unintentionally had the defense attorney's plan to discredit her backfire through her dramatic and human response to pictures of the murders. At one point, she looked at the Family members and said, "How could you do that?" Their answer? They giggled like schoolgirls. The attorney doubted her, considering that she had done LSD and could have easily been a part of the killings as well. Her answer? "I don't have the capacity to do something that animalistic."
John Smeaton of Glasgow was just a luggage handler on his break when the 2007 Glasgow International Airport attack occurred, with two men trying to drive an explosive-filled jeep into the airport terminal. What does he do? Thinks "that's not right" and goes over and helps the police in making sure they didn't get away, in typical Glasgow style (i.e. shouting "fuckin' mon, then!" and kicking one of the drivers in the head). Apparently there were other people there as well who had thought the same thing and they were kicking the shit out of the terrorists. Glasgow; if you're trying to be a suicide bomber there, make sure you die because if you don't you'll bloody well wish you had. It just goes to prove, you don't fuck with Scotland! (And if you try to, they'll break your legs and probably call out your footy team.)
A nearby cab driver helped detain one of the other suspects-who happened to be somewhat on fire at the time-by kicking the would-be bomber so hard in the groin that the cab driver actually tore a tendon in his foot. So to quote Cracked, "In the space of about 30 seconds, this man was in a car accident, an explosion, lit aflame and then kicked in the balls with more force than a human foot can technically take."
A police officer present summed up why Glasgow is not to be tampered with: "Should we help that man [the burning terrorist]?" "No... Let the fucker burn."
During the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, the first survivor was a little 1st grade girl. How did she survive? She played dead while the rest of her classmates (16 in all) were also dead and disguised herself by covering herself in their blood long enough for the killer to leave. When the coast was clear, she ran all the way out of the school and into her mother's arms, calmly saying, "Mommy, I'm alright... but my friends are all dead."
Also during the shooting, Vicki Soto, a first-grade teacher hid her kids in closets/cabinets and told the shooter that the kids were in an auditorium/gym. The shooter proceeded to shoot the teacher, but the kids survived. The mayor of Newtown wants to name one of the schools after her for her heroism. And she was all of twenty-seven.
And one of the teachers actually turned on the PA system to warn the rest of the school of the shooting.
How did the principal die? She died lunging after the shooter, trying to stop him herself, probably knowing she was going to die.
A local Bank of America branch in Florida tries to foreclose on a couple who don't even have a mortgage (they paid for their home in cash). The couple takes the matter to court and wins. The bank is ordered to pay the couple's legal fees (somewhere in the $2500-$3000 range). When the bank fails to pay, the couple and their lawyer get the sheriff and a two-man moving truck company and foreclose on the bank branch.The Daily Show covered it wonderfully here.
And what could make this more awesome? The lawyer in question had only been practising for 8 months, and he still had the balls and expertise to take on one of the biggest banks in the USA and win.
One of the few times 4Chan did something good! Youtube videos surfaced of a 14-year-old physically abusing his cat. So what does 4Chan do? They tracked the guy down and passed the details over to Oklahoma police! The punk got arrested and the cat was taken to a safe place.
Possibly averted. Sources from the town where this happened state that the boy's family is good friends with the town's sheriff and that the cat went right back into that household.
kenny-glenn.net: My name is (removed), I live in Lawton, OK and I have first-hand knowledge of the fact that the 2 cats being abused in that video, have not gone anywhere but back home to his abuser. I know for a fact that the Glenn’s and Sheriff Stradley are best buddies, I have witnessed Kenny (Christopher) Glenn telling the Sheriff that “I’ll see you when you come over to the house later.” Nobody has been punished, the cats are still where they came from in the first place. For personal reasons I can’t give you more info then that, I am just letting you know that absolutely nothing has happened to the animal abuser. The media ordeal was all a big show to make the public think that the abuser got punished...
Four thugs broke into a house of a businessman in Tula, Russia, armed with knifes, bats and guns. They tortured him and his family for money, but once one of them put a gun to his baby's head, the man grabbed a knife himself... Three of the scumbags died on the spot, the fourth one fled.
Any time the police conduct a raid arresting on child pornography rings all across their country, it's a Moment Of Awesome for them.
He didn't even realize it was a robbery. After the would-be robber left dejectedly after a telling-off, it took the cashier a moment to figure out, "He was gonna rob us?!" He then took about an hour to calm down.
If you can't/don't want to watch the video, it's even better than it sounds: when he tried to get away, she hauled him back for more, and then chased after him!
The response of this teenage waitress when confronted by a violent, angry customer. Serious Bad Ass, with a side order of Nerves of Steel. Her response to her cowardly boss immediately afterwards is a Crowning Moment within a Crowning Moment.
The lone bystander who could be bothered to help her also deserves props.
And this one. The woman moved so fast they had to slow down the footage so they could see exactly what she did.
In July 2014, some footage went around the internet of an English woman abusing some migrants, with hypocritical statements, racial and Islamophobic slurs, and even several punches. What's the best thing about the video? In spite of the constant verbal abuse and physical assault, none of the abused so much as raise a fist. The most they do is block a punch or move her arm out the way, and get some damn good snark in. As some of the commentators put it:
Well done to the gentleman for keeping his calm, even though he may speak a different language or possibly have non-national heritage, he is a much better representative of England than she ever could possibly be!
Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke during presidency on a cross-country speaking tour. This would have been devastating to America, right? Well, if the First Lady at the time, Edith Wilson, hadn't stepped in for him and taken over all his duties. This technically also made Edith the first woman president, if only for a few months.
The British politician Jack Straw is certainly a controversial figure, and that's putting it mildly. But his performance on Question Time in 2009 against Nick Griffin, (then) leader of the far-right British National Party, is universally applauded. Griffin had, on tape, claimed that "this nonsense about gas chambers [i.e, the Holocaust] is a total lie". He then tried to back away from his earlier claim, saying that he had changed his mind after seeing "German radio intercepts", but because of the European Arrest Warrant, he would be extradited and prosecuted in Germany and Austria for it. Unfortunately for Griffin, Straw was Britain's Justice Minister at the time, and knew quite a bit more about EAWs than Griffin did - he first explained to Nick why that was rubbish, and then offered him a personal amnesty just in case, so he could explain himself without fear. The humiliated Griffin backed down.
Stephen Colbert: Well, that's just hiding in plain sight! It's the oldest trick in the book.
The protests against SOPA and PIPA which brought a previously guaranteed-to-pass, but highly controversial bill to a dead standstill, is a moment of awesome for the entire online community. Millions of people signed petitions. Hundreds of online companies blacked out in protest on the same day (Wikipedia blocked their screens out), and thousands of emails clogged up the inboxes of supporters and government officials. You know how if enough people call with a complaint about an issue it is noted in official record? Yeah, the protesters passed that mark by a couple of thousand. That's not even including the real life protests, where thousands gathered in New York. Several companies were convinced to end their previous support of SOPA when their users boycotted them and sent calm, but firm emails. It was the biggest online protest of all time, possibly one of the biggest in history, and the internet may never be the same. Game. Changed.
The ACTA protesters deserve a special mention for this as well, as they were able to defeat and push back the bill without the support of large internet corporation that opposed SOPA as that itself is an awesome moment on its own.
Now there's CISPA, and once again we've managed to stare down another censorship bill...and on our own! However it seems to be back for more! And once again, we will be ready!
And now SOPA is trying to be revived again. People get ready to protest again since its including streaming in its clauses now!
In March 1933, the German parliament (Reichstag) was voting on the Enabling Act - the legal act which would give Adolf Hitler dictatorial powers. The Communists, having been outlawed, couldn't vote, but the other parties were all present. Every single one of them voted in favor... except the Social Democratic Party (SPD), all of whose 94 members of parliament voted against the act (these 94 were the only opposing votes). At a time when left-leaning people were facing serious persecution (note: 26 members of parliament from SPD were not present at the vote... due to being either arrested or in hiding!). Oh, also, a bunch of SA brownshirt stormtroopers were in the room during this parliamentary session!
That's not all. Otto Wels, the chairman of SPD, went up and made a speech - the only opposing speech on that day, in fact. In the presence of Hitler himself, and his stormtroopers. Here are some highlights, using the translation as given on Wikipedia (there are others, slightly different):
An interesting case from the 2012 Presidential Elections. As the votes came in, it started to become clear that Ohio would decide if Mitt Romney had a fighting chance or if Barack Obama would be re-elected President. When Fox News' in-house decision team revealed that Obama would win Ohio and the presidency, they found themselves confronted by Karl Rove, who was adamant that they were calling the election prematurely and flinging out talk that Ohio always was Republican and the numbers would reveal that it would remain that way. One of the reporters, in turn, not only asks him, "Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better or is this real?", but she goes down to the team, who tell her that they are confident in their predictions.
Senator Wendy Davis filibusters the Texas Senate bill SB 5 that would close 37 of the 42 abortion clinics in Texas, the largest state in the contiguous lower 48 states. She had to stand, without leaning, without using the restroom, without food or drink, the entire time. 13 hours. She had to stay “on topic” discussing only “germane” issues. When filibustering in the Texas Senate, you get three points of order (basically you breaking the parliamentary rules for filibuster; two here were on germaneness, saying it wasn’t on topic, and the other for her getting aid from a fellow senator). if you break three, your filibuster is over. During the filibuster, she is sanctioned twice for discussing topics that are not “germane.” One of these topics? Sonograms. In a state where a woman must get a sonogram before she can have an abortion, per state legislation in 2012. The other sanction? Being helped with her back brace. The sonogram thing came up about 2 hours before the end of the session and then there was lots of parliamentary discussion about points of order and so on. The vote on SB 5 could only be called before midnight. About ten minutes before midnight, women in the gallery started shouting and screaming to prevent the vote, chanting, "let her speak". It’s one of the most amazing things you will hear. It really can make you proud to be a woman, or a feminist, or to be a voter in this democracy. While Davis is a liberal heroine (and most deservedly so) who deserves every one of the accolades she has received, this has become known as "The People's Filibuster" with excellent reason.
Special mention goes to her fellow Democrats who stalled and bothered by the book right back at the Republican led Senate, particularly Senator Leticia Van De Putte, who arrived late due to attending the funeral of her father, and, after having been ignored by the chair on a motion that should have preceded the motion to end the filibuster, made by a male Senator, called out the Double Standard, a comment which sparked the cheering in the gallery that continued past midnight, rendering the vote illegal to take.
"At what point must a female Senator raise her hand or her voice to be heard over the male Senators in the room?"
Unfortunately, the awesomeness was slightly undermined by the fact that the bill she blocked was simply brought up again in a second session of the Texas legislature the very next month, and passed. As one commentator put it, "Wendy Davis won the battle, but Rick Perry won the war." This could double as a Moment Of Awesome for Perry as well, given his victory in the face of Davis's incredible momentum.
Ron Paul. Allofhim. Yep. But even if you don't agree with him on a lot of stuff, you gotta admit the guy knows how to stand up for what he believes in.
Abraham Lincoln gave an early speech condemning the spread of slavery which was either so awesome the professional reporters were mesmerized and put their pencils down, or so strongly worded it was deliberately suppressed.
Alexander Fleming. He basically provided humanity with a weapon against one of its most dangerous (and possibly most numerous!) enemies with his discovery of penicillin.
The Moon landing. NASA put a man on the moon using technology less sophisticated than what is in your average cell phone. In 1969, before the advent of the Internet or modern computers. That is the crowning moment of awesome. The even more awesome part was that with tech that primitive, they not only sent two men to the moon, but brought them back alive.
On that note, the entire flight of Apollo 13 was one big Moment of Awesome for both the astronauts and NASA.
May just be the greatest Moment of Awesome for humanity, period. As Neil Armstrong himself said, "One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."
The design of the famous Concorde supersonic passenger aircraft. The technical challenges of making such an aircraft were one thing. The political and economic challenges were quite another. But they were all overcome, and the aircraft gave nearly three decades of service. It even finally turned a profit. It wasn't just a passenger jet: it was an achievement in aerospace, in design, and political co-operation. It was also a stunningly beautiful piece of design, and it became an icon of air travel - as well as the last hurrah of the era of "old" travel in comfort and style. Jeremy Clarkson sums it up in his book I Know You Got Soul:
It was a scientist with NASA who summed up Concorde better than anyone I've ever met: "Putting a man on the moon was easy", he said, "compared with getting Concorde to work."
Humanity succeeding in wiping out the smallpox virus. The vast reduction of other potentially crippling and/or lethal illnesses via vaccine (such as Polio and measles) is also pretty awesome.
Also, the eradication of rinderpest.
The development of the rabies vaccine is also worth mentioning, given the horrors one goes through if they contract the disease.
The Lenski Affair. Professor Richard Lenski had been working on an experiment to study how evolution works for 20 years (as of 2008) with the help of several students and other professors, and published the results on the article "Historical contingency and the evolution of a key innovation in an experimental population of Escherichia coli". Andy Schlafly, infamous editor of Conservapedia, sent him an e-mail asking for all the data about the experiment and casting aspersions on Lenski's character. The professor patiently and respectfully directs him to read the article, and also corrects several misconceptions Andy had asked about in the first letter. Schlafly then replies with yet another request for all information and data, again making the same misconceptions and even implying that Lenski may have engaged in fraud. Lenski's next answer becomes, as Lenski says, "less polite" in answer to Schlafly's lack of politeness. In a very long and comprehensive letter, Lenski completely shows that Schlafly isn't acting in good faith, completely pwns him and teaches everyone who reads it a bit of what he did, and concludes it with a P.S, a P.P.S, a P.P.P.S and a P.P.P.P.S. which show that, indeed, Lenski is far more open minded than Schlafly has ever been in the Real Life sense of the word (note that, in Conservapedia, "open minded" is Spy Speak for "I completely agree with Schlafly's opinions, even if they are the most stupid ones possible"). It gives you a nice feeling inside.
This baby girl who was [apparently] cured of the HIV virus. Even if she wasn't completely cured (as it's too early to tell), it certainly opens up many doors for future possible vaccines or cures of HIV.
The Milwaukee Protocol for treating symptomatic rabies. Until a few years ago, rabies was always fatal in humans once symptoms developed, but the daring work of Dr. Rodney Willoughby Jr. has produced, to date, six survivors of symptomatic rabies. It's far from a cure, as the survivors still sustained neurological damage, and it only works about 10% of the time, but it does give a fighting chance to patients who ten years ago would have been considered terminal.
Maurice Hilleman. He saved five hundred million lives. As with Borlaug above, see The Other Wiki for a full account of Hilleman's awesomeness. Briefly: he developed the first seasonal flu vaccines and the vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, among others.*
Leonid Rogozov, a doctor stationed in Antarctica, contracted appendicitis and had to perform the operation on himself under local anesthesia.
Any doctor that devotes their life to treating the Ebola virus, which is incurable, such as Sierra Leone's leading doctor, who treated a hundred patients until his own death.
Not to mention Canada's response to the current outbreak. Sending 1,000 doses of an experimental drug that has not been tested on humans to the affected area. This is not the Canada as you know it from fiction! This is heroism!
Secretariat, a big chestnut Thoroughbred colt who rose from the ashes of a fallen-from-grace racing stable to take home the Triple Crown for the first time in twenty-five years. He came from behind to win in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. Then he went to Belmont Park, where he broke first out of the gate and thoroughly dominated the rest of the field. How majestically did he dominate the race? He took home the Belmont, and with it the Triple Crown, with a thirty-one-length lead, and was still accelerating when he crossed the wire. He also set the record for the fastest running of the Belmont Stakes, a record that has yet to even be approached, and went on to set a track record for the mile and five-eighths as he was coasting out from under the wire. Did we mention that he ran not only the fastest Belmont in history, but the fastest mile-and-a-half on dirt run anywhere in the world? And that that record hasn't been broken yet, either? During his Triple Crown campaign, he ground every relevant race and track record to dust under his neatly polished hooves. He was named Eclipse Horse of the Year in 1972 and 1973, Sports Illustrated's Athlete of the Year in 1973, and one of the 25 greatest athletes of the 20th century in 2000, and to this day is widely considered the greatest racehorse to ever live.
For years, Secretariat didn't own the official track record at Pimlico (the Preakness track) because the timing clock malfunctioned, but around time of the 2012 Preakness Stakes, they re-evaluated footage of the Secretariat race with modern technology and concluded that the official clocks were slow. Secretariat's time was proven the fastest Pimlico run even to this day.
Bear in mind that the Belmont Stakes, where Secretariat dominated, is usually the race where Triple Crown contenders fall short — since Citation's Triple Crown win twenty-five years before, seven horses had taken both the Derby and the Preakness, but couldn't win the Belmont. Being both the last race and the longest one, the fastest horses at the Derby and Preakness are often in less than peak condition by the time of Belmont, leading to a horse that didn't contend (or often, didn't even run) at the earlier races to win. But Secretariat? No way was he going to let some other horse outrun him just because they were better-rested.
In a similar vein, turn-of-the-20th-century quarter horse Dan Patch never lost a race, and was so successful that the city his trainer, Marion Willis Savage, lived in (Hamilton, Minnesota) was renamed in honor of the trainer. One of the primary streets on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds is named Dan Patch Avenue.
Hello, Ruffian, Queen of the Fillies, winner of the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Two-Year-Old Filly, with an average winning margin of 8.5 lengths, running the fastest 6 furlongs by any two-year-old colt or filly, which remains untouched! Did we mention that she only lost the last race she'd ever run? Seriously, the filly wouldn't stop running, even if it killed her. Though it borders Tear Jerker, she was one awesome horse.
The whole Sherpa tribe. They start out as obscure peasants living up in the mountains, and they all of a sudden decide that climbing to the top of Mount Everest was a handy way to make a living. As a result they carry tons of cargo up high cliffs, thousands of feet on their backs through atmosphere that is so thin that people have to wear oxygen tanks. Today they are famed throughout the world and on at least one expedition it was Europeans who actually competed for the honor of just getting to be the porter for a famous Sherpa climber, thus reversing traditional roles.
Tenzing Norgay. Started as a porter, then earned the respect of his employers until he and Hillary were the first two that got to the top - neither of them saying who was first because it would strain the team.
The 1972 Miami Dolphins are, to this day, the only team to finish an entire NFL season without ever losing a game. They went a perfect 17-0, capped by a 14-7 win over the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII.
Laird Hamilton riding "The Wave" at Teahupo'o reef, regarded by many as the heaviest, most dangerous wave ever ridden.
English Football team Arsenal going an entire league campaign without losing back in 2004. When you consider an average season in England for a top club is 38 league games, with two domestic cups and European competition as well as players going on international duty, that's no mean feat. They had another moment of awesome 15 years prior in 1989 when they scored a goal in the last seconds of the last match to win the title.
Though with the caveat that they did lose games in the aforementioned domestic cups and European competition.
The 2010 UK Championship in snooker. Earlier that year, John Higgins was suspended from the sport, over match-fixing allegations of which he was ultimately cleared. Everyone assumed he would have difficulty getting back into the game due to being out of practice, but he made it to the final and then faced Mark Williams, one of the all-time greats. Williams at one point led the first-to-10 match 9-5, but Higgins fought back to 9-9, including one frame in which he came back from the "snookers required" stage. In the deciding frame, Higgins made a strong break that meant he would win if he potted one more ball, but he missed a red and then Williams made a strong comeback but could not pot the brown. The skirmish over the brown ended when Higgins doubled it into the far corner pocket, a shot that the commentators had not seen was possible until he played it. Now that is how to return to a sport in style.
The 2004 MLB ALCS. The Red Sox were down three games to none after a soul-crushing 19-8 loss to their hated rivals, the New York Yankees. They pulled out a Miracle Rally in the twelfth inning to win Game 4 - then they took Game 5 (in 14 innings), and six, and finally Game Seven, which they won, becoming the first team in MLB history to rally from a 3-0 series deficit in the process and creating indisputably the single greatest series comeback in the history of the sport. They went on to sweep the World Series in four straight games - and brought the title home to Boston for the first time since 1918. Considered by most the greatest moment in baseball history, and surely the greatest eight-game run by any baseball team.
It should also be noted that, at the time, only two teams in American professional sports history had ever come back from three games down in a seven-game playoff series (in 1942 and 1975, both in the NHL). It had never been done in over a century of American baseball (and as of 2012, has been accomplished only once more, in the 2010 NHL Eastern Conference Finals, with the Philadelphia Flyers defeating the Boston Bruins).
To further illustrate how monumental this comeback was, only two teams in the history of baseball had even forced a Game 6 after going down 3-0. And the Sox became the only team to even make it to Game 7.
One specific moment of awesomeness was Game 6 - Curt Schilling pitched 7 innings with a torn tendon sheath stapled to his ankle bone.
Better still, the Red Sox winning the World Series was sandwiched between two back-to-back Super Bowl victories by the New England Patriots (only two/three years after their first-ever Super Bowl victory), and later followed up by both the Boston Celtics (2008) and Boston Bruins (2011) taking home their respective championship trophies, for the first time in over 20 years and nearly 40 years, respectively. The eleven-year period between 2001-2011 saw all four Boston teams banish a collective 192 years of drought with seven championship wins.
Seven victories in eleven years across all four major leagues. The closest range of the three (non-NFL) Boston teams winning it before that? 32 years. (Bruins in 1972, Celtics five times from 1974-1986, * the Patriots in 2001, 2003, and 2004, and the Sox championship of 2004).
New York got its own back three years later in football, when the New York Giants produced a late come-from-behind victory in the Super Bowl over the Patriots, who were en-route to cap off the above achievement list with a perfect season (which, as stated above, was only accomplished by the 1972 Dolphins), providing an even greater cherry on top of the list of accomplishments above. The Patriots were favored by 12 points. Their fanbase felt the team was absolutely invincible. Tom Brady was considered the best quarterback in the league at that point, with some people putting him on the same pedestal as Joe Montana. It was the perfect underdog story, with a team people had declared dead in September knocking off a team that hadn't lost a game up to that point. And then the Giants repeated the feat 4 years later to prove it was no fluke.
The following season, the Chicago White Sox ended their own curse, winning the World Series for the first time since 1917 (meaning their wait was actually two years longer than the Red Sox) and did it in particularly dominant fashion. From Opening Day until the end of the regular season, they maintained first place in their division, though late in the season their play began to lag and they nearly dropped from first. In the playoffs, they first proceeded to sweep the defending champion Red Sox 3-0 in the divisional series, and then went on to beat the Angels 4-1 in the championship series. In the World Series, they swept the Astros 4-0. With 11 wins and 1 loss in the playoffs, the White Sox tied for the second-best playoff percentage in MLB history (the 1976 Cincinnati Reds are the only team to post a perfect playoff record, though they only had to play seven games to win). Their entire run, from Opening Day until the final out of the World Series, was one of the most dominant seasons in MLB history.
As they went into Game Seven of the 1960 World Series, the underdog Pittsburgh Pirates trailed the mighty New York Yankees in every offensive category except for games won: the series was tied three-all. Game Seven seesawed back and forth between the two teams, and was tied as the Pirates came up to bat in the bottom of the ninth inning. Leading off was the Pirates' number-eight batter, the great-fielding but weak-batting Bill Mazeroski. On the second pitch, he cracked a home run, and became the first batter in World Series history ever to win the series with a game-ending homer.
The 2000 Indianapolis 500. Juan Pablo Montoya was criticized by other drivers for not treating the track as it is. What did he do? He led over 80% of the race and won. On his first try.
Don Larsen was nothing more than a so-so journeyman pitcher for his Major League career. Except for Game 5 of the 1956 World Series, where he went out and tossed a 27-up, 27-down perfect game. In Yankee Stadium. Against the Yankees' hated cross-town rivals, the Brooklyn Dodgers. As the lead in the New York Daily News put it "The imperfect man pitched the perfect game."
Also consider that, for 54 years, it was the only postseason no-hitter ever pitched in MLB.
And while we're on that subject, Roy Halladay deserves a double-helping of awesome, for that second postseason no-hitter...and his first earlier in the 2010 season. Only four other pitchers in history have pitched more than one no-hitter in the same season: Johnny Van der Meer (who is extra awesome for pitching them in consecutive starts), Allie Reynolds, Virgil Trucks, and Nolan Ryan (who is extra awesome for pitching seven no-hitters total).
The 2010 Green Bay Packers, especially when you read about their season leading up to their Super Bowl win. Defines The Determinator, indeed.
The San Francisco Giants winning the 2010 World Series. No one thought they would win. Polls showed only California had hopes for the Giants. All the newscasters scoffed and said the Giants would never win. Still, the Giants pushed on and ended up winning the World series. Definitely a moment of awesome, especially considering the Giants hadn't won a World Series since they moved from New York to San Francisco in 1957.
The Minnesota Twins winning the 1991 World Series, which 20 years on is still remembered as one of the greatest of all time. Both teams had been last in their division on the last day of the 1990 season, and through some very astute offseason moves, a certain amount of good fortune in avoiding injuries on the field and simply winning a lot (the Twins put together a 15-game winning streak from late May to mid June, essentially putting the lights out in the AL West before the All Star Break). The series was already awesome when it returned to Minneapolis with the Twins staring down elimination after Game 5. In the bottom of the 11th inning of Game 6, Kirby Puckett hit a walk-off home run, etching Jack Buck's call of "We'll see you... tomorrow night!" in the memories of everyone watching. In the decisive game 7, Jack Morris pitched a 10-inning shutout for the Twins, before Gene Larkin hit a soft fly ball over the infield's heads to score Dan Gladden for the only run of the game. This World Series was rated by ESPN as the greatest of all time.
Steven Bradbury winning gold for speed skating at the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Or perhaps even competing after being sliced by a competitor skae and loosing four liters of blood.
How about some tennis love? Wimbledon 2011, Men's Quarter finals, Roger Federer vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Federer takes the opening two sets and breaks Tsonga's serve in the third. Tsonga then plays some stunning tennis, breaks back and breaks Federer's serve, winning the set. He goes on to win the next two sets 6-4. To repeat, Tsonga, seeded twelve (Roger was 3, but considered a favourite for the title), beat one of the best tennis players of all time from 2-0 and a break down. This is also the first time in Federer's entire career that he has lost from 2-0. That sort of awesome deserves a medal all of its own.
Another Wimbledon 2011 example in Bernard Tomic. An 18 year oldAustralian, he had to fight in the qualifiers to even get to Wimbledon. In the first round, he beats the 29th seed Davydenko, in round 2 comes back from 2-0 to beat Andreev, in round 3 beats 5th seed Robin Soderling in straight sets, then does the same to Malisse in the 4th round, reaching the quarter-finals. That makes him the youngest player since Boris Becker in 1986 to reach the Quarters, and not only that, but he went on to take a set from Novak Djokovic, the world number two, pushing him right up until the end of the 4th set, which Djokovic won 7-5. He came out of nowhere to become Australia's number one. AWESOME.
Speaking of Boris Becker, let's mention him. Youngest Wimbledon champion ever at seventeen in 1985, coming out of nowhere to win that year's Queen's tournament and then go on to take the Wimbledon title. He took the title again the next year, 1986. In short, Tennis is full of awesome!
And speaking of Robin Soderling, one must not forget his pulling off one of the biggest upsets in history at the 2009 French Open, handing Rafael Nadal the only loss he has ever experienced at that tournament, only weeks after Nadal has massacred him at another tournament, and even followed it up with a run to the final(in which Roger Federer made history, but Soderling the "yoker" still stole the victory ceremony). And as if that wasn't enough, the next year he came back and shocked Federer too.
Johnny Hoogerland. In stage 9 of the 2011 Tour de France, a five-man breakaway including Hoogerland and Juan Antonio Fletcha had a sizeable lead on the rest of the race. Due to his performance in the breakaway, Hoogerland had reclaimed the King of the Mountains (best climber) jersey, and it waited for him at the finish. Then, disaster - a TV car, trying to pass them and avoid a tree at the same time, sideswiped Flecha. Flecha met the pavement... and turned out to be the lucky one. His bike slammed into Hoogerland, sending Hoogerland flying through the air and into a barbed wire fence. The fence destroyed his shorts and left him with deep lacerations on his legs and bottom. And what did he do? He disentangled himself from the wire, got a new pair of shorts, got back on his bike, and kept riding while the medics patched him up with every bandage they could find. He finished 15 minutes behind everyone else and was in visible pain as he stood on the podium to accept his jersey and "most aggressive ride" prize (poor consolation for what had happened, but the best the organizers could do). Only then did he go to the hospital, and he ended up needing 33 stitches to close the cuts on his legs. He stayed in the Tour in spite of his injuries, and finished 102nd. The man is badass.
For Virginians, the VCUnote Virginia Commonwealth University Rams moving on to the NCAA Final Four in 2011 for the first time in the school's history is an awesome moment of itself. More? This was the first season that the NCAA tournament had expanded to 68 teams, with eight having to play in the new "First Four" round to get into the main 64-team bracket—and VCU was one of those eight. In other words, they had to win five tournament games to reach the Final Four, while the other three Final Four teams that season needed only to win four. Still more? The coach that brought them therenote Shaka Smart, who's still at VCU had been in the school's basketball program for not even two years. That a young and inexperienced coach had done something that no one in the program's history says something. They may not have won, but for one week, everyone was a Ram.
It gets better when one remembers that VCU's crosstown rival, the University of Richmond, also made it to the Sweet Sixteen and happened to be in the same regional, both playing in San Antonio. After Richmond was defeated by Kansas, the entire city rallied around the Rams, who avenged their rival and solidified that Richmond, VA was indeed Hoopstown, USA.
The UEFA European Championships of 1992 was a huge Moment Of Awesome for Denmark. Although they finished second to Yugoslavia in their qualifying groupnote at the time, only the qualifying group winners advanced to the championships, United Nations sanctions caused by the civil war in Yugoslavia meant that Denmark was given a place in the finals just two weeks before they began (some of the players were literally recalled from the beaches on which they were spending their holidays, while manager Richard Møller Nielsen was in the middle of renovating his kitchen). After drawing against England and losing to hosts and eternal rivals Sweden, Denmark beat France to advance to the semi finals. They beat the Netherlands on penalties to reach the final against Germany, which they won 2-0. They hadn't qualified, hadn't trained for the tournament, and were without their biggest star, and still won it all.
Queensland's rugby union team The Reds had its Moment of Awesome in 2011 when it won its first Super Rugby title of the professional era, despite the state itself producing more Wallabies in that period than any other. Despite being a dominant force in the Super 12 Rugby competition in the mid to late 90s, the Reds never won a game in the knockout section of the competition. Between 2003 and 2009, the team did not once win more than 5 games in season, with their highest overall finish at 8th (of 12). In 2009, at the darkest point in the club's history, management began proceedings for filing for bankruptcy, the team was to be without a major sponsor for the next season and was coachless. The next season, a desperate team rallied, beating both teams that would end up in the Grand Final, and only missed out on the finals themselves by one team. The next year, The Reds were the Champions of the world's premier provincial Rugby competition, winning 13 of their 16 games, and setting a new Super Rugby attendance record for the final game of the season. After their performance, many long-time Reds supporters switched from the typical "We are Red" chant to saying "We are Redeemed".
"And after twenty-two years... RAYMOND BOURQUE!" Those were the words of ESPN's Gary Thorne as Canadian hockey legend Ray Bourque, who in 1998 had been named the greatest player never to have won the Stanley Cup, finally got his chance to lift the Cup as part of the victorious Colorado Avalanche in 2001, at the end of the twenty-second and last season of his professional career.
The 2002 Super Bowl. The Patriots were tied with the heavily-favored Rams at 17-17 after the Rams had scored on a touchdown drive with 1:30 left on the clock in the fourth quarter. The Patriots had no time-outs remaining, and John Madden was recommending they run out the clock and win in overtime. After returning the kickoff, Tom Brady threw three passes to get to the Patriots 41-yard line with a mere 33 seconds remaining. An incomplete pass, a short post pass to the tight end, and a 6 yard rush put the Patriots on the Rams 30 yard line, where Brady spiked the ball to stop the clock. There was time for literally one more play (3 seconds left on the clock), and the Patriots call in Adam Vinatieri, the kicker, who boots it as the clock runs out. The ball just barely splits the uprights, and the Patriots win the game at the latest possible moment, beating the 14-point spread against them for the biggest upset in football history, and making the New England Patriots a force to be reckoned with in American Football for the next decade.
Saints vs. Seahawks, 2011 playoffs. The first team in NFL history to win a division with a losing record against the reigning Super Bowl champions. After falling behind early 10-0, the Seahawks fight back and take a 34-20 lead going into the fourth quarter. The Saints cut the lead down to 34-30 and seem poised to retake the lead - until Marshawn Lynch uncorks one of the greatest plays in franchise history, a 67-yeard touchdown where Lynch sheds eight tackles on the way to the end zone. Seahawks go on to win the game 41-36. And if you still don't think that run was Moment Of Awesome-worthy, consider this: the fans in the stands went so crazy during the play that they caused a friggin' earthquake.
For that matter, the 2014 Super Bowl. After an ugly division-deciding match against rival San Francisco, and a 30+ year history of being the Butt Monkey and punchline of American pro sports, they're up against the legendary Denver Broncos. No one outside Seattle is considering the Hawks to be a serious contender (especially after the 2006 disaster against the Steelers, although you could blame the refs for that one). The Hawks proceed to murder the Broncos in an embarrassing blow out.
Another one for Seattle. The 12th man (Hawks fans) set a world record decibel level inside CenturyLink Field for loudest crowd in the world...twice. And when the Hawks won the Super Bowl? Sure, there was partying in the streets and a couple drunken louts caused damage to the pergola in Pioneer Square, but the footage showing a massive amount of elated football fans politely waiting on crosswalk lights, staying out of the streets, and immediately taking up a collection to repair the damage done by the few drunken louts is both awesome and Funny.
Vince Young in the 2006 Rose Bowl. After a month solid of hearing how great USC was, the entire state of Texas was ready to knock some Cali heads in the National Championship Game. Late in the game, down 12 points, Young puts the team on his back and scores a touchdown to pull within 5, the defense held tight and forced a turnover on downs, Young drives the offense down the field, and on fourth and five, less than thirty seconds left with literally everything on the line, Young takes the ball himself and runs across the goal line untouched for the game winning touchdown, sending the entire state (with the possible exception of College Station) into a frenzy, then to put the icing on the cake, scores the two point conversion himself. Regardless of college affiliation, a great moment for the state of Texas.
On August 25th, 2011, the St. Louis Cardinals were 10 and a half games back in the NL Wild Card race. In just a month's time, they managed to go 22-8 and, thanks to a 9-17 September collapse by the Atlanta Braves (and a good luck necklace given to manager Tony LaRussa by Carlos Santana), they drew even with the Braves with one game to play. At the same time, the Tampa Bay Rays, who were 9 games back of the then Division leading Boston Red Sox on September 1st, won 6 out of 7 games against the Red Sox that month (they went 10-9 otherwise) which, along with the Red Sox's 7-19 (Tampa Bay games included) collapse, also brought the AL East rivals even heading in to the final day. September 28th itself had two games with Miracle Rallies, plus one inversion:
The inversion was the aforementioned Braves, leading 3-1 after 6 innings. At that point, the Philadelphia Phillies showed why they got 100+ wins by cobbling together single runs in the 7th and 9th innings, and another with two outs in the 13th. The 3-6-3 double play in the bottom of that inning capped off the Cards' Miracle Month (having won their game almost an hour earlier).
This was win #102 for the Phillies, breaking the previous franchise record of 101(-61) set in 1976 (and also in 1977).
As for Boston, they led the Last-PlaceBaltimore Orioles 3-2 after 6 and a half innings and about one-and-a-quarter hours of Rain Delay. After nothing doing on Baltimore's part for two innings* If it wasn't for two hits-by-pitch in the 7th, the Orioles would've been 0-6 for the 7th & 8th, the Red Sox were 1 out away from at least living another day. But then, the Orioles hit two consecutive doubles (one of them Ground-Rule) and then an outfield single, for two runs, and the win, on that last out.
Which wouldn't have mattered seeing as how the AL-leading New York Yankees were up on the Rays 7-0 after 7. Then, in the 8th: Single, Double, Hit-By-Pitch, Walk (1), Hit-By-Pitch (2), strikeout, sac Fly (3), Evan Longoria Home Run (4-6). In the 9th, however, the first 2 Rays got out, leaving them down to, at the time, their last out of the season (Baltimore was still in Rain Delay at this point). Cue Pinch Hitter Dan Johnson, who hit a solo-shot, forcing extra innings. 12:02 AM EDT: Baltimore polishes off its 2-run Rally, putting Boston on the canvas. 12:04 AM EDT: The Baltimore Rally Win shows up on the Tampa Bay scoreboard. 12:05 AM EDT: Longoria strikes gold again in the 12th inning; capping both a Miracle game and a miracle month.
While calling September 28th "the day of the Miracle Rally" is a bit of a stretchDue in part to the Philly-Atlanta inversion, as well as Texas' similar and Arizona's opposite inversions below, the Awesomeness of this date is acknowledged even by Braves Fans* Or, at least, by this Braves fan. ESPN assembled the timeline of events here* Wherein they forgot to Carry the One.Who Needs Day 163? Or a 2nd Wild Card for that matter? Besides the AL Central and West?
What makes this all Hilarious in Hindsight is that starting the following year, the top two wild card teams from each league would make the playoffs, playing each other in a one-game playoff for the right to advance to the Division Series. So this was the last possible year that something amazing like this could happen, because in any subsequent year, both teams would make the playoffs!
First afterthought: The races for 2nd place (and Home Field) in both Leagues also came down to this last day, with Texas and Milwaukee ahead of Detroit and Arizona respectively by 1 game each going in. With Milwaukee taking care of business, Arizona attempted (and failed) 9th inning rally would not have mattered* plus, it was against the Dodgers, who were just barely above .500. You could say that the Dodgers' prevention of Arizona's rally was Heroic. As for the AL race (and the right to put off the Yankees for 3 games): Detroit traded blows with Cleveland but still won with a solo-shot in the bottom of the 8th which Cleveland couldn't answer. However, it was for naught as Mike Napoli of the Rangers broke a 1-1 tie against the Angels in the Top of the 9th with a two-run shot that the Angels could not answer.
As a postscript to the above, the St. Louis Cardinals, after getting to the 2011 World Series (and beating the favored Phillies and Brewers to do so), twice were one strike away from losing in Game Six in the ninth and tenth, and both times managed to tie it. And then Hometown Hero David Freese, who had tied it, manages to win it with a walk-off homer in the eleventh to tie the Series. Busch Stadium practically EXPLODED after that win. Then Freese, in Game Seven, managed to tie it after the Rangers took the lead in the game, made a foul catch at the rail in the crowd to deny Josh Hamilton another pitch, and the Cardinals go on to win the World Series, their eleventh win.
David Freese also gets one for winning both the World Series MVP and the League Championship Series MVP in the same season.
11th July 2010. Johannesburg. It's the final match of the South Africa 2010 World Cup. The contenders: Spain and Netherlands. Neither have won yet a World Cup title. It's Spain's first World Cup final, and Netherlands' third. Both teams play very well, but Netherlands employs very aggressive tactics against the Spanish players (the most notorious one was Nigel de Jong's kick on Xabi Alonso's chest, which is the image for Unnecessary Roughness) that throw off Spain's game. Casillas and Stekelenburg, the keepers for Spain and Netherlands, are showing how good they are in stopping the opposite team's attacks. The ninety minutes of normal game pass, and it has to go to extra time. Netherlands has one of its players expelled after a rough kick. Time reaches minute 115, five remaining till it has to be decided on a penalty shootout. And then... Jesús Navas sprints with the ball into Netherland's half-field, and initiates a series of passes. The ball ends up reaching Cesc Fábregas, and he makes a long pass to Andrés Iniesta, who is in the Dutch area. He controls with his chest, lets the ball fall to the floor, and shoots towards the goal, in such a way that Stekelenburg is unable to reach the ball. Four minutes later, the Spanish squad becomes the World Champion of FIFA 2010 World Cup.
One of the most memorable events in the history of American sport: the Babe calling his shot in the 1932 World Series. There may be some question of where he was pointing (he may have simply been pointing mockingly at the Chicago Cubs' bench), and it was in only the fifth inning in only the third game of the Series, but it remains one of the most indelible images in baseball history from one of the sport's greatest players.
Often considered one of the most memorable goals in hockey, Paul Henderson scores the game winner in the final match of a series that an entire country practically shut down to watch. It's one of the most frequently viewed goals and one of an extremely limited number of goals considered more influential on the sport than Crosby's overtime winner. To anyone unfamiliar with the series in question; the 1972 Summit Series was the first series of games played between the Soviets and Canada. It consisted of 8 games, 4 in each country, starting in Canada and ending in Russia. In the last game the teams ended up tied at 5-5. The goal above was referred to as "the goal heard around the world" by Foster Hewitt.
In 1903, a hockey team called the Kenora Thistles, from a town no one had heard of, in a part of Ontario that no one cared about challenged the Ottawa Silver Seven, the world's best hockey team, for the Stanley Cup. They lost. They challenged again in 1905, and lost. By this time, they had gained a reputation for fair play and brave tactics. Still, no one thought seven teenagers from a frozen wasteland like Northwestern Ontario would ever win the cup. Cue 1907, when Kenora beats Montreal, 4-2 and 8-6. Little kids from the Northwest can still see the cup the Thistles brought back to the boonies in the Hockey Hall of Fame, complete with "Kenora Thistles, 1907" engraved in the side. Kenora remains the smallest town to ever win the Cup.
Alex Zanardi's return to the Eurospeedway Lausitz in 2003 to complete the 13 laps he missed after a serious crash almost two years prior. Zanardi lost both his legs in the crash and was forced to drive with the throttle, clutch, and gear shifter on the steering wheel and controlling the brakes with his prosthetic leg. He not only completed the laps, he later returned to professional motorsport in the World Touring Car Championship and actually won races.
The kicker on his accident is that the Lausitz race was the first sporting event held anywhere in the world post-9/11.
And then he went on to win Paralympic gold medals in handcycling.
Superbowl XLIV. The most-watched event in television history, where the New Orleans Saints, still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Katrina, pulled off a stunning upset to win their first championship.
Shawn White getting the first perfect score (100) in the 2012 Winter X Super Pipe.
The Miracle at the New Meadowlands. The Philadelphia Eagles, after trailing the New York Giants 31-10 with 8:17 remaining in the 4th quarter, orchestrated a Miracle Rally to tie the game 31-31 with 1:16 remaining. The Eagles defense then forces a 3-and-out by the Giants, who drain the clock down to 0:14 before calling time out. On the ensuing punt the ball is snapped high to rookie punter Matt Dodge. This forces him to rush the punt and is unable to direct the ball away from returner DeSean Jackson, who takes the punt 65 yards for the game winning touchdown with no time remaining. Final score: Eagles 38 Giants 31. Jackson's touchdown was also the first of its kind in the history of the NFL (game-winning punt return TD with :00 remaining in regulation).
In the last moments of the 1982 NFC Championship game, the San Francisco 49ers trailed the favored Dallas Cowboys by 6 points. After leading a drive close to the endzone, the 49ers had two downs left. Quarterback Joe Montana took the ball, and, under pressure from the Cowboys' defense, threw into the endzone... where wide receiver Dwight Clark jumped as high as he could and caught the ball with fingertips, landing for a touchdown. The 49ers won the game, and proceeded to their first Superbowl, which they won. The moment is known in NFL lore simply as "The Catch". Adding to the awesomeness, as the crowd went wild, Cowboys defensive end Ed "Too Tall" Jones said to Montana "You just beat America's Team." Montana replied "Well, you can sit at home with the rest of America and watch the Superbowl."
The 2011-2012 English Premier League came down to simultaneous final-day games for Manchester City and Manchester United - going in, the teams were tied on points, but City held the tiebreaker (goal differential). If City won, it would just be its first championship in 44 years. City's match with Queen's Park Rangers entered second-half injury time with QPR leading 2-1 while down a man. Meanwhile, United had already won their match at Sunderland, and were starting to organize an informal victory celebration. Two minutes into injury time, Edin Dzeko scored the tying goal, but that wouldn't have been enough for City to take the title back... until Sergio "Kun" Aguero scored the winning goal (and the final Premier League goal of the season, as it turned out) to cap off a beautiful team play in the dying seconds. All of this with United, and their fans that had traveled with them to Sunderland, in shock as the results filtered into the Stadium of Light. The frantic finish helped make the 2011-12 season the best of the Premier League's first 20, according to a fan poll.
The Denver Broncos had by 1997 developed a reputation for playing well and often getting to the championship, but always being humiliated in the Super Bowl. This was exacerbated by the fact that they had a superstar quarterback in John Elway who, despite having a reputation for being one of the better quarterbacks in the game and for pulling off comeback wins, always seemed to be stifled in the Super Bowl. That year, the Broncos were facing off against the defending champion Green Bay Packers, and before the game the spread was at 12 points for the Packers. However, the Broncos had something they hadn't had in years past–a running game. Running back Terrell Davis chewed up the Packer defense for 157 yards and three touchdowns rushing, and ended up being named the MVP for his impressive performance in a 31-24 Denver victory.
The play often considered as the defining moment of the game comes from John Elway, however. Termed "The Helicopter," it refers to an 8-yard run by the quarterback. On 3rd and 6 at the Green Bay 12, with the score tied at 17-all, Denver needed a first down to keep the drive alive. After finding nobody open, the 37-year-old quarterback decided to tuck the ball in and run. He managed to make a first down, but got hit so hard on the play by three defenders that he spun around in midair. After this, he immediately got up and headed back to the huddle, ready to continue playing.
The 2005 Gibsonburg High School baseball team went 6-17 during the regular season. In Ohio, all baseball teams went to the playoffs, however, and Gibsonburg pulled off the miracle, winning eight straight games to win the Ohio state championship. To date, they are the only high school team in any state in any sport to win a state championship with a losing record. And yes, someone did buy the movie rights.
The 2012 Stanley Cup run of the Los Angeles Kings. One of the six 1967 expansion franchises, the Kings had been consistently sideshowed by more famous, talented teams throughout their 45 years in the NHL, and even getting Wayne Gretzky in 1988 couldn't seal the deal (their closest approach to the Stanley Cup was the 1993 final series, where the Gretzky-led Kings lost in five games to the Montreal Canadiens). For decades, they had been derisively dubbed "The Kings Without a Ring".
Though regarded as championship contenders at the beginning of the 2011-12 season, an unsettled first few months (which ended with the appointment of Darryl Sutter as coach) meant that they only qualified for the postseason in the last week of the regular season, and back-to-back losses in their final two games against the San Jose Sharks meant that they had to settle for eighth seed in the NHL West and a conference quarter-final against the President's Trophy-winning Vancouver Canucks, who were among the favourites to win the Stanley Cup.
Then the postseason began. The Kings beat the Canucks in five games, followed by a sweep of the second seed St. Louis Blues, a five-game win over the third seed Phoenix Coyotes (making the Kings the first eighth seed to beat the top three seeds in their conference), and a six-game win over the New Jersey Devils to claim the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. They became the first eighth seed to win a national championship in any of the four major North American team sports. As eighth seed, they never had home advantage for a series, yet they managed to win ten road games in a row, tying the NHL record for most road wins in a postseason and breaking the records for both consecutive road wins in a postseason and consecutive road wins across multiple postseasons (with a total of 12). They also became the first team to win their first three games in all four rounds since the playoffs went to an all best-of-seven format in 1987.
Special mention should go to Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick, who recorded a save percentage of 0.946 and a Goals Against Average of just 1.41 across the Kings' twenty playoff games, both records for goaltenders starting in more than ten games in a single postseason. To give you an idea just how remarkable these numbers are, even the best goaltenders that many people know of, Martin Brodeur, Patrick Roy, and even Dominik Haseknote though Hasek recorded a save percentage of 0.958 and a GAA of 1.33 with the Buffalo Sabres during the 1992-1993 playoffs, he only played in one game, and for only 45 minutes couldn't come close to matching those numbers even during their prime. That shows how scarily efficient Quick's goaltending was in the Finals. For his efforts, he became only the third American-born player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy for the Stanley Cup playoffs MVP.
On CBC's coverage of the final game, for the last few minutes the commentators sat mostly silent and allowed the pure joy coming from the fans to be the only comment needed.
Thirty years before their Stanley Cup win, the Los Angeles Kings qualified for the 1982 playoffs as fourth seed in the Smythe division and faced the heavily-favoured Edmonton Oilers, led by such rising stars as Mark Messier, Grant Fuhr, and the Great One himself, Wayne Gretzky. After splitting the first two games in Edmonton, the two teams headed to the Los Angeles Forum for Game 3. The Oilers stormed to a 5-0 lead in the first forty minutes, and all seemed lost for the Kings. Then, in the final twenty minutes, the Kings scored five goals of their own, including three in the last five minutes and one in the last five seconds. In overtime, Mark Messier almost scored an immediate winner for the Oilers, but it was the Kings' Daryl Evans who broke the deadlock after just under three minutes to complete the improbable comeback, dubbed "The Miracle on Manchester". The Kings went on to win the series 3-2.
Despite arguably misinformed talk over a weakened field, whether his team-mate Froome was a better climber or even rider and defensive tactics stifling the Tour, Bradley Wiggins' Tour de France General Classification victory in 2012 must surely count. The first Brit ever to win the Yellow Jersey, leading out a Brit-heavy team at Sky with Froome coming second, though in the end not that close, behind him. A man who was a Gold Medal winning specialist in far shorter Pursuit track disciplines lost 10% of his body weight to be competitive at the Tour. In previous years he managed to come 4th, but also disappointed with 23rd place in his first season as team leader, then crashed out and broke his collar-bone after a good start in 2011. Finally he came good, cracking the defending champion in the mountains, riding an untouchable minute and a quarter faster than anyone in the penultimate individual time trial phase, showing sportsmanship all the way and selflessly leading his team members to individual stage victories on more than one occasion. He finished with panache, leading out Sprinting World Champion Mark Cavendish to a win on the Champs Ellyses. His team, brilliantly marshalled by Dave Brailsford, also had the second place cyclist Chris Froome and a multistage winner in Cavendish and when Brailsford claimed it would lead a British cyclist to the Yellow Jersey within 5 years when he formed it in 2009, he was seen as a laughing stock. Three years later, it was done, comfortably and just 5 days before many of the team would go to the Olympics, where Wiggins and Froome promptly took gold and bronze in the time trial.
The 2007 Fiesta Bowl. The Boise State Broncos went into the game as huge underdogs to the Oklahoma Sooners, one of the most storied programs in college football. After blowing an 18-point lead, the Broncos found themselves down by a touchdown late in the game. On 4th and 18, with 18 seconds to go in the game, Boise State threw a 15 yard pass, and then the receiver lateraled the ball to another receiver who not only got the first down, but ran all the way to the end zone to tie the game and force overtime. Oklahoma got possession first in OT and scored on their very first play. On their ensuing possession, Boise State needed a touchdown to stay alive. On 4th down, from the 5 yard line, Boise State ran a trick play, and had a receiver throw a pass which was caught in the end zone for a touchdown. The Broncos elected to go for a two-point conversion for the win rather than an extra point to tie. They would use another trick play, a variation of the Statue of Liberty play, to win the game and finish the season as the only undefeated team in Division I-A football.
October 3, 2012, the last day of the main season, ended up being one massive one for the Yankees, Nationals, and Miguel Cabrera. The Yankees played against the Boston Red Sox in a game that would help determine whether or not the Yankees clinch the AL East. Not only did they defeat the Red Sox 14-2, the Orioles, the main threat to their chances, were defeated during the game. Miguel Cabrera became the first man to win the Triple Crown in over 40 years. And the Nationals clinched the NL East and entered the post season for the first time since the Washington Senators did so in the 30's. Not only that, but the Running Gag of Teddy Roosevelt always losing a race that is used for mid-inning entertainment was broken and Teddy finally won after receiving support from both John McCain AND one of Barack Obama's spokespeople, a Republican and Democrat, respectively. It was a DAY of awesome. Except for Boston, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, who all lost in some way.
Not even the best part of the day. The Oakland Athletics, predicted at the beginning of the year to lose 100 games, were 93-68 and facing the mighty Texas Rangers, who were... 93-68. Two teams, the high-spending juggernaut and the thrifty, Moneyballing underdog, tied for first with the division title coming down to this last game. This was after the A's had been 13 games out and 9 below .500 in June, and 5 games behind Texas with only 9 to play. Coming into this three-game series with Texas, they were two games out, so needed to sweep to win the West. They won the first two, so the stage was set for one final winner-take-all game. Oakland jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, but the Texas bats showed their power by scoring 5 runs in the top of the third. The A's should have rolled over now; after all, weren't they facing a vastly superior team? Hell no! They came roaring back in the fourth by scoring six runs to pull back ahead of the Rangers. The final two runs in that inning came when Texas' highest-paid player, superstar Josh Hamilton, dropped a routine fly ball to allow Oakland to take the lead. The reinvigorated Athletics didn't take their foot off the Rangers' throat for the rest of the game, routing Texas 12-5.
They followed this up with a terrific effort against the Tigers in the ALDS, coming back from an early 2-0 deficit and forcing a Game 5 before finally bowing to Detroit's star-studded roster. The A's received a ten-minute standing ovation following their final defeat at the hands of the Tigers, in recognition of the group of hitherto-unknown underdogs who managed to defy the logic of the sport.
Jackie Robinson's first Minor League game with the Montreal Royals, when everything was riding on him to prove that black players play with white ones on a professional level. In his five trips to the plate against the Jersey City Giants, Robinson had four hits, including a three-run home run. He also scored four runs, drove in three, and stole two bases in the Royals' 14–1. In short, when it really counted, Robinson had a spectacular first game that topped the fictional game in The Natural!
The FA Cup, the oldest and most prestigious association football knockout cup in England and Wales, has seen many awesome moments over the years, but in a special category are "giant killers", non-league clubs who have knocked out a top-flight club. note "Non-league" here means any club outside the Football League, which comprised a single division from 1888-92, two divisions from 1892-1920, three divisions in 1920-21, and four divisions from 1921 onward. "Top-flight" therefore refers to a club from the First Division before 1992, and the Premier League since 1992. Since World War I, this has happened just ten times:
On 10 January 1920, Southern League club Cardiff City defeated First Division side Oldham Athletic 2-0 in the First Round (at the time, the round of 64, to which all Football League sides were given a bye). They followed this with a 2-1 win at Second Division club Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Second Round before going down 2-1 to Second Division side Bristol City in the Third Round. note Cardiff were invited to join the Football League Second Division at the end of the 1919-20 season; they have been a League side ever since and even won the FA Cup themselves in 1927, defeating Arsenal 1-0 in the final.
On 19 January 1920, having fought out a goalless draw at home in their First Round tie, North East League side Darlington defeated their First Division hosts Sheffield Wednesday by a score of 2-0. They were defeated 4-0 in the Second Round by Birmingham FC (now Birmingham City). note Darlington joined the newly-formed Third Division North in 1921, but spent two further spells outside the League, one for a single season in 1989-90 and one beginning in 2010. Financial difficulties led to the club folding in 2012 and reforming as Darlington 1883; they currently play in the Northern Premier League.
On 12 January 1924, Corinthian FC, an amateur side with no league affiliation, defeated First Division club Blackburn Rovers 1-0 in their First Round match. They were beaten 5-0 in their Second Round tie at West Bromwich Albion. note Corinthian merged with Casuals FC in 1939 to form Corinthian-Casuals, who currently play in the Isthmian League.
On 10 January 1948, Southern League side Colchester United defeated First Division high-flyers Huddersfield Town 1-0 in the Third Round (the round of 64 as of 1925, to which all clubs in the top two divisions receive a bye). Two weeks later, they knocked out Second Division side Bradford Park Avenue 3-2 to advance to the Fifth Round, where they lost 5-0 to Blackpool. note Colchester's heroics were rewarded in 1950 with election to the Football League. Apart from two seasons in the Football Conference from 1990-92, they have been a League side ever since.
On 21 January 1949, Southern League club Yeovil Town, having already knocked out Second Division side Bury in the Third Round, became the first non-league side since World War I to knock out a First Division side in the Fourth Round with a 2-1 win over Sunderland. They were ultimately beaten 8-0 in the Fifth Round by Manchester United. note Yeovil earned promotion to the Football League in 2003 and have played there ever since.
On 5 February 1972, Southern League club Hereford United hosted First Division side Newcastle United in a replay of their Third Round tie, having fought out a 2-2 draw in the original match at Newcastle. Though Newcastle opened the scoring in the 82nd minute with a goal from Malcolm "Supermac" Macdonald, Hereford equalised three minutes later with a 30-yard strike from Ronnie Radford, sparking a pitch invasion by jubilant Hereford fans. Thirteen minutes into extra time, substitute Ricky George scored the winning goal for Hereford, sparking a second pitch invasion by the ecstatic home fans. The match has, on multiple occasions, been voted the biggest shock in FA Cup history, helped by its status as the first "giant killing" to be televised and the commentary by a young John Motson, later one of the BBC's most recognisable sport broadcasters. In the Fourth Round, Hereford held First Division side West Ham United to a goalless draw at home before losing the replay 3-1 thanks to a hat trick from 1966 World Cup Final hero Geoff Hurst. note Hereford were elected to the Fourth Division at the end of the 1971-72 season, but have spent two spells outside the League since then, one from 1997-2006 and one starting in 2012; they currently play in the Southern League again.
On 4 January 1975, Southern League club Wimbledon became the first non-league side since 1920 to defeat First Division opponents away from home with a 1-0 win at Burnley in the Third Round. They went on to hold Leeds United to a goalless draw in the Fourth Round before losing the replay 1-0. note Wimbledon were elected to the Football League in 1977 and quickly rose to the First Division, where they provided one of the FA Cup Final's greatest shocks by defeating runaway League champions Liverpool 1-0 in 1988. However, they quickly outgrew their stadium and, after years of ground-sharing and a decline in their fortunes, controversially moved to Milton Keynes and re-christened themselves the Milton Keynes Dons in 2004. A Spiritual Successor club, AFC Wimbledon, was founded in 2002, shortly after the original Wimbledon received permission to move; after a quick series of non-League promotions, AFCW made it to League Two in 2011, where they have played since.
On 14 January 1986, Football Conference side Altrincham followed in Wimbledon's footsteps with a 2-1 defeat of their Third Round hosts, First Division side Birmingham City. In the Fourth Round, they were beaten 2-0 at York City, then in the Third Division. note Though a Conference powerhouse in the 1980s, Altrincham faded just as promotion to the Football League was introduced to the Conference in 1986-87; they have since alternated between the Conference National and the Conference North.
On 7 January 1989, Football Conference side Sutton United defeated First Division side Coventry City (who had won the Cup in 1987) by a score of 2-1 to advance to the Fourth Round, where they lost 8-0 at Norwich City, another First Division side. note Sutton United's fortunes declined in the years that followed, and they were relegated from the Conference in 1991. They have alternated between the Conference South and the Isthmian League since 2000.
On 26 January 2013, Football Conference side Luton Town (a former top-flight side who had fallen on hard times financially and been relegated out of the League in 2009), who had already beaten Championship note the second tier of the "football pyramid", immediately below the Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 in the Third Round, became not only the first "giant killers" of the Premier League era, but also the first non-league side since 1949 to defeat top-flight opponents in the Fourth Round (and the first to do so away from home since World War I) with a 1-0 victory at Norwich City. They were ultimately defeated 3-0 in the Fifth Round by Millwall. note The following season, Luton ran away with the Conference championship to earn promotion back into the League after a five-year absence.
The FA Cup final has also seen its fair share of heroics and other awesome moments since the first tournament in 1872, but, again, underdog victories are in a special category of awesomeness.
The 1973 final saw Leeds United, one of the dominant sides in English football in the early 1970s (if controversial for their brutally physical style), playing against Sunderland, at the time in the Second Division. The final was marked by two particularly awesome moments: Ian Porterfield's goal for Sunderland in the 31st minute, and an improbably acrobatic double save by Sunderland goalkeeper Jimmy Montgomerynote often named "the best English goalkeeper never to play for England" from Leeds forwards Trevor Cherry and Peter Lorimer. Sunderland held on to win 1-0.note Coincidentally, Sunderland manager Bob Stokoe and Leeds manager Don Revie had met in the FA Cup final in 1955 as players for, respectively, Newcastle United and Manchester City. Stokoe was on the winning side in that match as well, Newcastle having triumphed 3-1.
In 1976, the final once again pitted a giant of the sport against a Second Division club as Manchester United met Southampton. In a parallel with the 1973 final, Saints goalkeeper Ian Turner made a series of impressive saves, and Bobby Stokes' goal seven minutes from time won it for Southampton.
The final of 1978 saw Arsenal, who had won the League and FA Cup double just seven years before, playing Ipswich Town, who were appearing in their first ever FA Cup final and had been demolished 6-1 by Aston Villa in their final League fixture of the season. However, to the surprise of all who saw the final, Ipswich proceeded to dominate the match and claim a 1-0 win with a 77th minute goal from Roger Osborne (who was so overwhelmed by the emotions of the experience that he fainted and had to be substituted and revived with smelling salts).
Arsenal exorcised the ghosts of their 1978 loss with an awesome (if non-underdog) 3-2 win against Manchester United in the 1979 final,note With Arsenal leading 2-0 after 86 minutes, Manchester United scored twice in just over a minute to level the score, only for Alan Sunderland to slot home an 89th-minute winner for Arsenal. and made a third consecutive final appearance in 1980. Their opponents were Second Division West Ham United, who were expected to pose no threat to Arsenal's quest to retain the FA Cup. However, England international Trevor Brooking headed the only goal of the match in the 13th minute, and a solid performance by Phil Parkes and the West Ham back four preserved the 1-0 scoreline to hand the Hammers the Cup.
In 1987, Tottenham Hotspur, who had won seven out of seven FA Cup finals in their history, faced Coventry City, who were appearing in their first ever FA Cup final. Clive Allen opened the scoring for Spurs after just two minutes, only for Dave Bennett to equalise six minutes later. Gary Mabbutt put Spurs in front again just before half-time, but Keith Houchen equalised for Coventry just past the hour mark. The score was still 2-2 at 90 minutes, and six minutes into extra time, Gary Mabbutt scored again... unfortunately, this time he scored against his own goalkeeper, Ray Clemence, and Coventry held on for a 3-2 win.note To this day, a Coventry City fan magazine bears the name Gary Mabbutt's Knee in "honour" of the Spurs centre back's own goal.
The 1988 final set runaway League champions Liverpool, seeking a second League and FA Cup double in three seasons, against "the Crazy Gang" of Wimbledon FC, who had only joined the Football League in 1977. Following the same pattern as the 1973 and 1976 finals, goalkeeping heroics from Dave Beasant (including saving a penalty from Liverpool's Irish striker John Aldridge, the first penalty save in an FA Cup final) and a goal from Lawrie Sanchez gave Wimbledon the astonishing 1-0 win.
In 2013, the final saw Manchester City, the previous season's Premiership winners, taking on perennial relegation battlers Wigan Athletic, who had only joined the Football League in 1978. Once again, although Manchester City had more shots on target, Wigan goalkeeper Joel Robles kept a clean sheet, and Ben Watson's 91st-minute header gave Wigan a shock 1-0 victory.
In 2014, heavily-favored Arsenal were up against Hull City in what should have been an easy win for the Gunners, who had beaten Hull by a combined score of 5-0 in the Premier League season. In the first ten minutes, Hull scored twice, leading Arsenal fans to lose their confidence, believing this would be another collapse in a big game that mattered. In the 17th minute, Santi Cazorla rocketed home a free kick to put Arsenal a goal behind, and in the 71st, Laurent Koscielny put in an equalizer. The game went to extra time where Aaron Ramsey, the man of the year for Arsenal, put in a beautiful goal in the 110th minute, which would prove to be the game-winner for Arsenal, who not only ended their nine-year trophy drought, but also became the first team to come back from 0-2 down to win the FA Cup Final since 1966.
The weekend of May 4-5, 2013 was a pretty awesome weekend if you were an auto racer going for your second career win in your respective series:
NASCAR Nationwide Series regular Regan Smith initiated the madness, charging from 7th to 1st in the final lap of the series' race at Talladega with a three-lane wide sweep to steal the lead from moonlighters Joey Logano and Kasey Kahne. A wreck happened behind them as they came through the trioval; Kahne nipped Smith and Logano three wide at the line which led many to think he won, but NASCAR ruled the caution came out and froze the field with Smith barely in front.
The Indy Car Series took the second leg at Sao Paulo, Brazil. Takuma Sato, fresh off his maiden victory at Long Beach, had to hold off fellow 2013 first-time winner James Hinchcliffe on worn tires. Hinchcliffe faked Sato out down the long backstraight and cut under him in the last turn hairpin to steal the win and regain momentum after contact in the previous two races.
While Hinchcliffe was pulling his magic, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega was mired in a rain delay lasting nearly four hours. They were well past the half distance required to make the race official, but the workers dried the track off to finish the race. What resulted was the Front Row Motorsports tag team of the Davids, Ragan and Gilliland, shocking everyone by storming through the pack on the final two-lap dash. Ragan pulled a block on Carl Edwards out of turn 4 to thwart a return pass, and Gilliland kept him at bay through the trioval to let Ragan pick up his second Cup Series win unchallenged. And yes, Gilliland finished 2nd to complete the biggest two-teammate upset in modern NASCAR history.
2013 NHL Quarterfinals Game 7, Boston Bruins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs. Toronto took a 4-1 lead before Boston scored to bring it within two with half a period left in the game. The Bruins then scored 2 goals in the last minute and a half of regulation and scored to win the series 6 minutes into overtime. They're the only team to come back from a 3-goal deficit in the 3rd period of a Game 7 in history.
FC Bayern Munich had an entire season of awesome in the 2012-13 Bundesliga (Germany's top tier domestic league), finishing 25 points clear of second-placed Borussia Dortmund, only losing one match (a 2-1 home defeat against Bayer Leverkusen) and drawing four, and tying or breaking a staggering thirty league records.note The single-season records include, but are not limited to: most points, biggest points margin over second place, fewest matches and earliest date to clinch the title, most wins, longest winning streak, fewest goals conceded, most clean sheets, scoring at least one goal in all 34 matches, spending the entire season in first place, highest goal difference, most away wins, fewest away losses, fewest goals conceded away from home, longest away game winning streak, and most consecutive wins at the start of the season. They followed this utter dominance of the Bundesliga with a 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions' League final and a 3-2 defeat of VfB Stuttgart in the final of the DFB-Pokal (Germany's premier domestic knockout tournament) to become the first treble winners in German football history.
The 2012 Scottish Cup Final: The two teams from the capital, Heart of Midlothian and Hibernian FC, meet in the final for the first time since 1896. A hungry Hibs haven't lifted the great trophy since 1902. A packed Hampden awaits a fiercely fought clash and a possible chance for Hibs to unseat their rivals as Edinburgh's top team. Lifting the trophy would be a fitting end to Hibs' "narrative arc" in the 2012/13 season. Unfortunately, reality ensues: A rampant Hearts smash a ten-man Hibs 5-1, with club legend Rudi Skacel scoring two fantastic goals and Hearts writing a new page in the history of Edinburgh derby hammerings.
Raja Casablanca's FIFA World Club Cup run in 2013 may have ended in defeat in the final, but that they managed to reach the final at all is a moment of awesome for the club, and for Moroccan football in general. The FIFA World Club Cup is contested for by the champions of the six continental knockout tournaments and the league champions of the host country; as the 2013 tournament was held in Morocco, Raja were the only participants not to have won a continental tournament (the previous season's CAF Champions League having been won by Egypt's Al-Ahly, widely regarded as Africa's most successful football club), and were the lowest-ranked club at the World Club Cup. However, they proceeded to defeat New Zealand's Auckland Citynote 2013 OFC Champions League winners in a preliminary playoff, followed by a 2-1 quarter-final win over Mexico's Monterreynote 2013 CONCACAF Champions League winners and a 3-1 semi-final win over Brazil's Atletico Mineironote 2013 Copa Libertadores winners, whose squad included international superstar Ronaldinho. Raja may not have won the tournament, but they were certainly the most extraordinary team there.note Tournament winners Bayern Munich, meanwhile, had only to defeat China's Guangzhou Evergrande (the 2013 AFC Champions League winners) to reach the final.
The Chicago Blackhawks' 2013 Stanley Cup triumph had two noteworthy awesome moments:
Winning game 1 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final at home in triple overtime. But one of the more awesome parts of a moment already awesome? The music guy at the United Center ended up playing Iron Maiden's song "2 Minutes to Midnight" at, well, 11:58 PM local time. which unexpectedly became their Near Victory Fanfare when they scored the game-winner at midnight.
Despite having a 3-2 series lead heading into Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Blackhawks were trailing the Boston Bruins 2-1 with time running out in the game, and it appeared that Boston was going to force a climactic Game 7. Cue Chicago player Bryan Bickell tying it up at about 1:16 left in the game, as the Blackhawks pulled their goalie for an extra attacker. 17 seconds later, David Bolland picks up the go-ahead goal (and eventual game-winner) to help the Blackhawks pull off a similar comeback feat that the Bruins themselves managed in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals versus Toronto. Moreover, the Game 6 win gave Chicago its second Stanley Cup in four years, and provided the perfect capstone to a season where they managed a record of 24 games with at least a point to start the lockout-shortened season.
The 2011 NBA Finals. Not just because the Dallas Mavericks, after contending for so long but falling short, finally won their first long-awaited NBA Championship, but they did so against the Miami Heat, who had beaten them during their previous Finals appearance in 2006. Highlights include Dirk Nowitski's rampage during the second half of Game 2, clinching the game on a left-handed layup with two broken fingers on said hand, longtime Dallas man Jason Terry stepping up in a big way during Games 5 and 6(after Nowitski went down with a fever that severely hampered his performance after Game 4, though he still turned in a great 4th quarter in 5 that drew comparisons to the famous "Flu Game" of Michael Jordan), and JJ Barea, a 6'0" Point Guard, taking the legendary Lebron James(a 6'8" monster who dwarfed most of Dallas' roster) to the paint time and time again, scoring layups repeatedly against one of the best men to ever play basketball. Really, Dallas' "Miracle Run" in the 2011 playoffs was laden with CMO As: The Mavericks were the underdog all throughout the playoffs due to them not making it past the first round since 2006. After being taken to 6 games by the Portland Trailblazers, Dallas went into the Semifinals the complete underdog against the LA Lakers and their ambition for a three-peat as champs. The Dallas Mavericks then proceeded to sweep the defending NBA Champions out of the playoffs 4-0, catching just about everybody off-guard in the process. They then went into the Conference Finals against the OKC Thunder, who were regarded as the best young team in basketball while Dallas' lineup was stacked with aging but experienced veterans. Again, Dallas was the underdog, and again it pulled up some shocking comebacks on their path to the Finals including an overtime win in Game 4 that gave them a 3-1 series lead. Then came the Finals, where Dallas was again the underdog against the Miami Heat, who had just acquired Lebron James to round out their Big Three of James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh that many saw as the "Team of Destiny"(perfectly encapsulated by Lebron's infamous "Not one, not two, not three, not four" promise of Heat championships during his televised introduction when coming to Miami). And again, Dallas pulled it off despite the odds. While the Mavericks haven't been back to the Finals since, with some rather stupid moves by upper management in addition to Dirk Nowitski's age starting to catch up to him, the 2011 NBA Finals remain a very special moment for the fanbase.
2013 NBA Finals. Miami Heat vs San Antonio Spurs. After holding a 1-0, a 2-1 and a 3-2 series lead at different points, the Spurs held a five point lead with 30 seconds remaining in Game 6. Some of the fans left the building. Officials were actually bringing in the yellow tape and the championship trophy in anticipation for the Spurs' impending win. After LeBron missed a three pointer, Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen battled the ball around the air, with Mike Miller coming up with it and throwing an over the shoulder pass to LeBron. He launched another three, and this time, it made it through the net, cutting the lead to two. To keep the Spurs from winding down the clock, Kawhi Leonard was fouled and went to the line. He missed the first free throw (and damn-near had a Heroic BSOD ), but hit the second, bringing the lead back up to three for the Spurs. LeBron threw up another three, but it missed. Chris Bosh corralled the rebound and threw it over to Allen, who ran to the three point line, fired a jump shot and tied the game with five seconds remaining, without ever looking down. Parker missed a chance to win it for the Spurs and the game was sent into overtime, where the Heat prevailed. Seen by many as one of the greatest games in the history of the NBA Finals (although a trainwreck for the Spurs. Miami would go on to win the championship in Game 7.
On the other side, the following year, the Spurs (who had a Game 7 with the Dallas Mavericks and had an overtime with the Oklahoma City Thunder) and Miami Heat (beating the Indiana Pacers yet again in the Playoffs) eventually joined again for a rematch. The first game had the Spurs winning in their home arena, but the following game had the Miami Heat win in the Spurs' arena. However, the following two games in Miami were not only won by the Spurs (with the help of Kawhi Leonard, who was eventually named the Finals MVP), but in Game 3, the Spurs were ahead by 21 points at halftime, which broke a record of the greatest halftime lead in a Finals game by a road team since 1996. Additionally, the victories in Games 3 and 4 broke a record itself as the Spurs were the first team to win two consecutive games on the road by 15+ points in the Finals. In Game 5, the Spurs looked like they were significantly behind in the first quarter, but in the second quarter, they got back up and eventually beat the Miami Heat by 104-87.
Andy Murray winning the men's singles at Wimbledon in 2013, making him the first British men's singles champion since Fred Perry won three tournaments in a row between 1934 and 1936. Though many British tennis fans are old enough to remember Virginia Wade winning the women's singles tournament in 1977 (an awesome moment in itself), far fewer are old enough to remember Perry's victories, and after so many near misses by first Tim Henman in the 1990s and early 2000s and then Murray himself in the early 2010s (including a four-set loss to Roger Federer in the 2012 final), the 77 years of heartbreak finally ended with a straight sets win over Novak Djokovic.
First Test of the 2013 Ashes series. Ashton Agar is 19 years old, on debut, the last man in, has just watched his team implode, and has only a struggling, out of form batsman for support. What does he do? Plays like a seasoned pro and drags his team back into the game by scoring 98 of the best, breaking half a dozen world records in the process.note Australia still lost the Test, though by only 14 runs instead of the possible three-figure margin by which they would have lost without Agar's first innings.
Jordan Spieth becoming the first teenager in over 80 years to win on the PGA Tour: first he holes a surprise bunker shot on the 72nd hole, then after all three members of the playoff find tee shot trouble on the fifth hole of sudden death, Spieth hits a clutch shot from the trees to set up a par that would be good enough for the win.
Phil Mickelson overcomes a 5-shot deficit after 54 holes to win the Open at Muirfield, less than a month after another heartbreaking runner-up finish at the US Open. He birdied 4 of the last 6 holes and shot a 66 (on a day where the scoring average was about 73). And now the US Open is the last major left for Lefty to achieve.
The 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates finally ended 20 consecutive years of miserable losing in winning fashion and have made people proud of the team again. In the Wild Card game against rival Cincinnati Reds, the ebullient and raucous crowd at PNC Park so unnerved Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto that he ended up dropping the baseball on the mound and the Reds never recovered from it. It was a well deserved season for Pirates fans.
The 2013 Boston Red Sox. After an epic collapse out of playoff contention in 2011, to a brutal 2012 season that found them in last place, the Sox rebounded in a big way, first winning their division, then having the best record in the American League, and culminating in their third World Series Title in 10 years - and the first Series clincher at Fenway Park since 1918. Boston Strong, indeed.
Adam Scott's (no relation to the Parks and Recreation actor) 2013 season will go down as one of the greatest in the history of Australian golf. He starts off by breaking his country's curse in the Masters with one of the most clutch 72nd hole birdies ever to force a sudden death playoff he'd win in two holes. He follows it up with a T3 at the Open Championship, a T5 in the PGA Championship, and then wins a FedEx Cup playoff event holding off the likes of Justin Rose and Tiger Woods for good measure.
And then things get insane once he returns to Australia in November. He wins two of the country's biggest tournaments, and the week after his second, represents Australia in the World Cup on the same course. Scott suffers a quintuple bogey 9 in his first round and rallies back to finish third in the individual standings. Had that 9 been a par it would have been enough to win the individual title. But that 9 might have been better off, because the individual winner is his teammate Jason Day, putting together one of the biggest performances of his career after losing eight relatives to Typhoon Hainan * Day's mother and family are Filipino, and helping the Australians demolish the team competition. Scott's quest for the Australian Triple Crown ended one stroke shy of a resurgent Rory McIlroy but a solo second was still a fine end to an excellent run.
Jason Brown's amazing Riverdance-inspired free skate earned him a place on the U.S. Olympic Squad for the Sochi Olympics and went viral, having more than two million views at the time of posting. He shattered his own personal best score for the routine by more than 20 points, and reduced the NBC commentators (Scott Hamilton especially) to giddy laughter. He actually beat Jeremy Abbot's free skate score, and only finished second to Abbott because of his third place placement after the short program.
The 2013 Alabama–Auburn Iron Bowl when Chris Davis caught an Alabama kick nine yards deep in his own end zone in a 28–28 game with 7 seconds left, and running it all the way for the 34-28 win.
Cincinnati Bengals head coach Sam Wyche only needed five words to deliver a devastating TRYSS to unruly Bengals fans who threw debris on the field.
On the 6th stage of the 2013 Vuelta a España, Tony Martin attacked from the beginning, with nobody going with him. He spent the entire day riding solo, only to be caught within the last 20 meters and finish seventh. His attack was essentially a 175 km individual time trial which he managed to complete as well as an entire peloton, going with the average speed of 44.8 km/h. A Moment Of Awesome for the big German, even if he didn't win.
The 1967 Grand National, the biggest event on the British horse racing calendar, was held on a very soggy racetrack, with two horses falling and one, Popham Down, throwing his rider at the very first fence. However, Popham Down continued to run without his jockey, as did April Rose when his jockey was thrown at the third fence. Just as commentator Michael O'Hehir was observing that the riderless Popham Down didn't seem to be interfering with the other racers, both riderless horses suddenly ran to the inside of the track just before the twenty-third fence, causing a massive pile-up in which at least nine other horses either fell, threw their jockeys, or turned around and refused to jump, while almost every other horse was caught in the mayhem and had to wait for a chance to jump... all except 100-1 outsider Foinavon,note 100-1 being the highest odds offered by the bookmakers for the race, essentially their way of saying "This horse has no chance of winning, but we have to offer odds on him anyway" who had been lagging so far behind that he was able to run around the pile-up and jump the fence uninhibited, opening a lead of over thirty lengths. Though a number of horses did finally jump the fence, Foinavon was too far ahead to be caught, and became one of the most improbable yet awesome Grand National winners in the race's history. The fence at which the pile-up occurred is now known as the Foinavon Fence.
April 6, 1996: The finals of the Flagship Open in (ten-pin) bowling's PBA Tour, held in Erie, Pennsylvania on lanes set up in the city's main indoor arena, now known as Erie Insurance Arena. The first match of the five-player stepladder finalsnote where the winner of each match leading up to the championship match faces a new player, nationally televised on ESPN, featured Erie's own Bob Learn, Jr. In front of a loud hometown crowd of 4,500, Learn began the finals by bowling a perfect game (12 strikes), earning a $100,000 bonus. It got even crazier from there—Learn went on to win the tournament, setting a new PBA record for a four-game series at 1,129. Taking the craziness Up to Eleven: the combined scores of his four opponents (1,083) were higher than the series record that Learn had just broken (1,070).
2010 Wimbledon: John Isner defeated Nicolas Mahut after 11 hours and 5 minutes of play. The match took three days to finish, with a final score of 6–4, 3–6, 6–7(7–9), 7–6(7–3), 70–68 for a total of 183 games.
Martin Kaymer's record-breaking performance at the 2014 U.S. Open. He shot 65 in each of his first two rounds to record the best 36-hole total in the tournament's history (10-under-par 130). No one else in the field was able to get close, and he cruised to his second major title.
In 2006, Western reiner Stacy Westfall won the All-American Quarter Horse Congress reining title with her horse Wizards Baby Doll, to the song "Live Like You Were Dying". But that wasn't the awesome part. The awesome part was that she did it with no saddle, no bridle, and no reins. It's one of the most virtuoso displays of horsemanship ever.
The rescue of the Danish Jews during WWII. After the reverses in the East showed the Danes that their calculation in 1940 - that they would have to live under German rule and so the best thing was to make it as easy as possible - was wrong, Danish civil society moved from passivity to active resistance to Nazi "protection". In response, Hitler ordered that Denmark's 7800 Jews should be rounded up and deported to Auschwitz. The Danish underground movement, local police, and fisherman, managed to smuggle 99% of the Danish Jews over the Øresund to neutral Sweden. As per their wishes, the Danes who participated are collectively honored as "Righteous Among the Nations" at Yad Vashem.
"The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength. Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old." Yours truly, Winston Churchill.
A retired Gurkha soldier on the way home on the train takes on 40 robbers by himself. And wins. Even better, the reason he risked his life? They were going to rape a 18 year old girl on the train. If they had just taken the cash and other valuables he wouldn't have killed 3 of them, injured 8 and drove all 40 off. His only weapon? A kukri knife. Their weapons? Swords, knives and thankfully non-working guns.
The Gurkha soldiers and even the Nepalese themselves have a long history of awesomeness. Even as far back as the early 16th century, the Gurkha soldiers were elite and brilliant soldiers. The entire East Indian branch of the English Army tried to subdue Nepal, but the Gurkha soldiers were so good, and all the regular people (or peasants as they were known back then) were so indomitable and brave that not only did they force England into a stalemate, with England having only gain nominal control over them, the English were so impressed and so respected them that they made Nepal a protectorate. They ended up contracting the Gurkha soldiers out as mercenaries, giving them officer ranks, respected them immensely as great soldiers, and treated them with a type of equality that was never heard of even until the 1960s in America! * they were still subordinate to any British officer, but they were treated as valued members of the English army when in America anyone who wasn't white was still in slavery and treated as subhuman. That is pretty Goddamn impressive! These soldiers were so good and valuable that in World War One more than 200 000 Gurkhas served in the British army, with only 20 000 casualties, and receiving nearly 2000 gallantry rewards! That is how awesome these soldiers are.
On June 14, 1982, elements of the 1st/7th Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Gurkha Rifles were poised to attack Mt. William, held by Argentinian troops. The Argentinians caught wind of the Gurkhas' presence and promptly retreated, leaving Mt. William to the Gurkhas without a shot being fired.
Former Chief of Staff of the Indian Army Sam Manekshaw, himself a pretty Awesome Four-Star Badass (his nickname was "Sam Bahadur" - Sam the Brave) said it best:
"If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gurkha."
Another moment of awesome from a Gurkha soldier: fighting off 30 Taliban fighterssingle-handedly. He was largely annoyed that he had forgotten his khukri that day. He made up for it by beating several enemies to death with a fucking machine gun tripod. Which are incredibly awkward at the best of times, essentially three pieces of two-inch steel pipe with hinges.
In 1966, US Navy Commander Jeremiah Denton was forced to do a TV interview in Vietnam while he was a POW, so what did he do? He calmly answered the interviewer's questions while doing Morse code by blinking. He spelled out T-O-R-T-U-R-E, telling American Intelligence that he and his fellow prisoners were being tortured (it is speculated that his captors didn't know he had sent the message until eight years later). He ended up getting promoted to Captain while he was STILL imprisoned.
Jack Churchill, who fought in World War II with a longbow and a broadsword.
The infamous Titanic's elder sister ship Olympic also had her share of collisions, but unlike her hapless sibling, absolutely refused to go down. The first two cases were incidents with a tug and a cruiser, but the third one is where it gets awesome. Olympic was drafted into service in WWI as a troop ship, and once engaged a German submarine. The sub fired a torpedo at the ship but missed. Olympic in return rammed the submarine and sank it. This is on top of the fact that she was one of the largest commercial ocean liners at the time, and was only drafted due to a shortage of ships. Large troopships were extremely vulnerable targets because if one sunk they would take with them a lot more lives than smaller troopships. The Olympic not only rammed a submarine to death, but survived the entire war intact. This earned her the name "Old Reliable".
The town of Misrata, Libya. During the 2011 Libyan Civil War, Misrata became the only rebel stronghold in the west. It was quickly besieged by Gaddafi's forces, and many assumed it would fall. Instead, the citizens of Misrata transformed themselves into an effective fighting force, holding out for weeks until rebel forces, supported by NATO airpower, drove out Gaddafi's forces. Misratan troops continued to serve with distinction until the end of the war. The fall of Tripoli was another for the rebels. Everyone was expecting that the battle for Tripoli would be a drawn-out bloodbath, with many wondering if the rebels might end up making Benghazi the post-Gaddafi capital instead. Come the evening of August 20, when the rebels launched a masterful surprise attack, quickly capturing the city intact. There was no bloodbath, and no question that Tripoli would remain the capital of Libya.
Operation Entebbe, immortalized as the Entebbe Raid. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine takes 105 Jewish passengers hostage from an Air France jet, before flying the aircraft to Uganda, where it is sheltered by the Amin government at Entebbe Airport. Israel refuses to negotiate. Instead, they send 100 commandos to execute an operation that took a week of meticulous planning. Defying the odds, they got 102 of 105 hostages out and lost only one commando, utterly defeating the hostage-takers. As a final insult, the Commandos blew up most of the Ugandan Air Force on the runway on the way out to cover their escape. The raid was called "an impossible mission" at the time, and it is still studied by military scientists as an example of hostage-rescue and special operations done right.
In WWII, when Czechoslovakia was invaded by the Nazis, Czechoslovak pilots emigrated to the United Kingdom to fight in the Battle of Britain. There were lots of Ace Pilots among them with lots of personal Moments of Awesome going on. Unfortunately, when they returned home and communists took over, they were treated as traitors just because they fought with Western Allies. They were falsely accused of conspiracy and treason, they were imprisoned in concentration camps and tortured for years. Shameful and definitely a huge Real Life Dethroning Moment of Suck. Poor guys, such heroes, but such sad fate. However, their professional and personal courage is now greatly admired and they are among the most respected people.
Polish fighter pilots. Poland was the second casualty of German aggression note They took over Czechoslovakian border regions in 1938, with a blessing from Czechoslovakia's fair-weathered allies, and invaded the rest of the country in March 1939., in a campaign that lasted only a week. The Polish Air Force was one of the first to fall. However, the Polish fighter pilots who escaped found themselves joining Allied armies such as the British Air Force. It was there that they fought in the Battle of Britain, and the Polish arm of the Royal Air Force was one of the most (some say THE most) decorated and effective fighter group during the battle. The free Polish Army, meanwhile, would later go on to fight with the Western Allies in Italy, France and Germany where they served with distinction (including having a Nazi-fighting bear on their side), the proudest moment being the Battle of Monte Cassino. However, this relationship was marred when the Western Allies gave Poland to the Soviet Union as part of the Yalta conference. Facing likely persecution by communists for fighting with the Western Allies, many Polish veterans would remain in the West, with more than a few never going home.
In WWII, the Dutch defence line at Kornwerderzand was not broken after German attacks and only surrendered after the national capitulation. The defenders were saluted by their captors on their way to internment.
In the Pacific theatre, a small Dutch submarine force based in Western Australia sank more ships than the American and British navies in that threatre combined.
The Battle of Samar. A Japanese battle group under Admiral Kurita centered around the giant battleship Yamato made a daylight attack against the American landings at Leyte Gulf. Yamato alone outweighed the entire defense force remaining in the gulf after Halsey's carriers departed northward to attack a decoy force. None of the defending surface combatants were larger than a destroyer, and most were actually the even smaller and lighter-armed destroyer escorts. Such was the ferocity of their defense that Kurita thought he had run right into Halsey's entire fleet and withdrew.
Special mention should be given to the destroyer USS Johnston. When Kurita's battle group first appeared on the horizon, it was the Johnston that led the charge. Once within torpedo range, she fired a torpedo, which blew the bow off the Japanese cruiser Kumano, then sunk another cruiser that stopped to aid her. Then once out of torpedoes, she stuck around to provide fire support to her sister destroyers and act as bait to take Japanese guns off the escort carriers. Due to her role in the battle, the Johnston's crew received the Presidential Unit Citation and her skipper, Lt. Cmdr. Ernest Evans, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
Also from the Pacific Theater, the raid on Cabanatuan Prison Camp by the 6th Ranger Battalion. The actual raid itself may count, but the ultimate Moment Of Awesome is the battle at the nearby Cabu Bridge, where Capt. Juan Pajota and his around 100-storng guerillas managed to hold off around A THOUSAND Japanese soldiers, and managed to wipe out more or less half the Japanese stationed on the other side of the bridge. See everything here.
Said POW rescues also double as Heartwarming Moments, especially the Ranger raid at Cabanatuan, since all the PO Ws rescued were Bataan and Corregidor survivors who thought they will never have a chance to go home again.
The entire career of the USS Enterprise CV-6 is one long string of these. She earned twenty battle stars, a Presidential Unit Citation, and has the distinguished accolade of being the only active carrier in the Pacific Theater for an entire year after her sister ships Yorktown and Hornet were sunk (at Midway and Santa Cruz, respectively) and still managed to survive the war. And to top it all off, she was at all of the major battles in the Pacific. Midway, Guadalcanal, Truk, Philippine Sea, Leyte Gulf, Iwo Jima, Okinawa — it was present for all of them. A squadron of Enterprise's scout bombers even fought the Japanese at Pearl Harbor.
There is actually an awesome moment in the above. When Gene Roddenberry was considering a new name for the ship that would be the center of the show, he was originally going to go with "USS Yorktown". Then, out comes the second ship to bear the name Enterprise, and Gene suddenly changed his mind. Art Director Matt Jefferies even compared the fictional Enterprise to CVN-65 for scale. Thus was born the most famous Enterprise of all.
The Doolittle Raid. Twenty B-25 Mitchell medium bombers — which were most definitely NOT designed for carrier takeoffs — launched from the USS Hornet, bombed Tokyo's industrial center, then made it to Chinese territory (though none of the airplanes survived). The actual damage was negligible, but the moral effects of the raid were tremendous for both sides of the war.
The relief of Bastogne. The city of Bastogne was placed under siege by the Nazis during the Battle of the Bulge, with the 101st Airborne Division trapped within. On December 19th, the Third Army was fighting down on the Saar border of Germany when Eisenhower called a meeting. Before going, General George S. Patton drafted three different contingency plans, guessing the intent. When Ike asked Patton how soon he could have troops in the Ardennes, Patton replied he could do it in 48 hours — completely insane for an army engaged in a slog. Patton insisted he could do it, and Eisenhower told him to attack on the 22nd with three divisions. Patton took the 4th Armored, 80th Infantry, and 26th Infantry divisions and charged north. Not only did they make it, they managed to relieve the battered 101st. Many historians refer to this as "Patton's finest hour," and it was faithfully reproduced in the movie Patton.
In 1918, the soldiers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (AKA the Hapsburg Monarchy) that were able to return home to Carinthia (formerly a Duchy within Austria-Hungary, now a state/province of Austria) were in for a surprise. The newly-formed country of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (AKA Yugoslavia) wanted to make nearly half of Carinthia part of their nation. The soldiers' response: Take up arms again after four years of hellish warfare and defend their new country Austria, which many people thought would not survive. They managed to fight the enemy forces until 1920 when the issue was decided by a vote. Even the majority of Carinthian-Slovenes voted to stay with Austria.
Hannibal gets one for his victory at the Battle of Cannae. Facing an army of over 80,000 Romans with his army of 50,000 Carthaginians, he not only won, he actually managed to bait the Romans into a position where his army, which to reiterate was outnumbered by more than 3 to 2, completely surrounded the Romans. This has gone down as one of the greatest tactical feats in military history.
General Eisenhower once tried to have the lesbians in the army removed from service, and told Johnnie Phelps to do so. Here is (part) of her response.
Johnnie Phelps: Sir, you’re right. They’re lesbians in the WAC battalion. And if the general is prepared to replace all the file clerks, all the section commanders, all the drivers-every woman in the WAC detachment-and there were about nine hundred and eighty something of us-then I’ll be happy to make that list. But I think the general should be aware that among those women are the most highly decorated women in the war. There have been no cases of illegal pregnancy. There have been no cases of AWOL. There have been no cases of misconduct. And as a matter of fact, every six months since we’ve been here, the general has awarded us a commendation for meritorious conduct.
He told her to "forget the order".
Walt Disney: Anyone who takes his reputation and what he accomplished for granted don't realize just how much crap he went through early in his life. First, he went through two unsuccessful attempts at making his own studio—then, when he finally got a hit star, it was stolen right out from under him, along with almost all of his animators by a greedy coporate scumbag. But did he give up?HECK NO. Walt simply quit the studio and decided to become his own boss from there on out, taking with him the only three people who didn't leave his side—his partner Ub Iwerks, and the two apprentice animators Les Clark and Wilfred Jackson. From tiny acorns do mighty oaks grow, indeed. Then they went on to make Mickey Mouse, then later on the Silly Symphonies which constantly pushed technical boundaries and subject matter unheard of in animation, and then proved that feature length animation was viable, then went on to pioneer theme parks... the guy just kept finding ways to keep topping himself, driven by his perfectionism. If he had just lived longer, who knows what more he could have contributed to the world? Meanwhile, Charles Mintz, the man that stole Oswald, was fired from Universal less than a year later for "Letting Walt Disney get away" and was replaced with Walter Lantz, who went on to create Woody Woodpecker.
In 1987, at a party held by fashion designer Fernando Sanchez, the philosopher A.J. Ayer, then 77, confronted Mike Tyson, who was forcing himself upon the (then little-known) model Naomi Campbell. When Ayer demanded that Tyson stop, the boxer said: "Do you know who the fuck I am? I'm the heavyweight champion of the world," to which Ayer calmly replied: "And I am the former Wykeham Professor of Logic. We are both pre-eminent in our field. I suggest that we talk about this like rational men." While Tyson was thus distracted by Ayer, Campbell slipped out.
In Greek (or was it Roman?) mythology, a woman who dies in childbirth ends up in Elysium — where HEROES end up because of their great deeds.
Viking women only went to Valhalla — heaven for heroes — if they died in childbirth.
The Spartans would only give a proper funeral to two types of people: men who died in battle, and women who died in childbirth. All others were looked down upon.
Criss Angel exposed Jim Callahan and Uri Geller at the same time with one little envelope, gives a picture perfect "The Reason You Suck" Speech, and almost clobbers Callahan.
P.S. In case you're wondering, what was in the envelope was a card with "9/11" written on it, because in the event that anyone there did prove psychic enough to know what was in the envelope the question would remain: why didn't they put it to good use and do things like warn us about 9/11 on 9/10?
For those who didn't like Jerry Falwell, Christopher Hitchens's remark to Sean Hannity after his death was one of these: "If you gave Falwell an enema he could be buried in a matchbox."
Steven. Slater. Upon landing in New York JFK airport on a JetBlue flight, when a passenger dissed him, he ran to the PA, cussed him out, took two beers from the galley, opened the emergency exit, and made his grand escape on the emergency slide. C'mon, hasn't everybody dreamed of doing that at least once in their lives?
In 2008, Dave Carroll witnessed his guitar, among others being thrown around on the tarmac by the baggage-handling crew of United Airlines. He arrived at his destination to find his guitar with a broken neck, then went through nine freakin' months of trying to negotiate with United, to no avail. So what did he do? He wrote not one, not two, but threeepic "United Breaks Guitars" songs, here,here, and here. And the first one got 150,000 views on the day he posted it. And just to make Dave's revenge a little sweeter, since that day, there have been zillions of people sharing stories about what United did to their luggage - don't think anyone in their right mind would fly with United after seeing those. And all of this just for a guitar. Way to go, Dave - best Take That ever.
Carroll later gave a presentation where he commented that at one point he was at another airport on a transfer bus between terminals when someone asked him if he was the United Breaks Guitars guy. When he acknowledged he was, a United plane just happened to be passing by...and the passengers on the bus spontaneously began singing the chorus of the song.
United's humiliation was so great that they now show the video to new employees to demonstrate what happens with bad customer service.
In the early 1980s. Tom Paxton had a similar experience, which he recorded in the song, "Thank You, Republic Airlines".
Casey Heynes, the kid who's had enough of a bullies who have been harassing him for years. Just... see for yourself. They call him the Zangief Kid.
Philippe Petit aka Man on Wire. Walked a tightrope between the Twin Towers. At the very top. Illegally. With no safety net, harness or anything. They made a film about him, and quite rightly too. When asked why, he replied "There is no why." Awesome.
The pilot of a cargo plane in South Africa suffered a brain haemorrhage mid-flight. Despite being paralysed down the whole left side of his body, he maintained communication with his wife and ground control, informed them that he wasn't well, and then landed the plane perfectly with no one else in the plane to help him. Sadly, he died in hospital the next day.
The Roman emperor Caligula was told that he had a higher chance of crossing the gulf of Baiae with his horse than becoming emperor. Not known for his sanity, Caligula, who by all accounts was not a nice guy, had the Roman navy create an enormous row of boats stretching from one side of the gulf to the other after becoming Emperor, after which he did cross with his horse. Of course, this nearly drove Rome bankrupt, in typical Caligula fashion.
Sanal Edamaruku. An Indian skeptic who publicly challenged an Indian tantrik Pandit Surinder Sharma (one of the most well known spiritual purveyors in India) to kill him on national television. Not only was the tantrik not successful, the event was so hyped that several hundred million people tuned in to watch this man completely destroy the tantrik's credibility by literally putting his life on the line.
In 1921, David Marshall Williams was not a man who looked like he had much of a future. He was a railroad worker, but on the side ran a moonshine still. Then during a raid on that still, a deputy sheriff was shot dead. He was charged and convicted of murder and sentenced to 20 to 30 years in prison. That might have been the end of him, were he not good with machines. He was given extra time in the prison machine yard for it. He eventually got permission to design gun parts while in prison. He filed patents for a floating chamber and a short-stroke piston for self-loading firearms. His family petitioned for him to be pardoned, and eventually the sheriff who arrested him and the widow of the dead deputy joined in on the petition. He was released after a decade of jail time in 1931. Then? He went on to design the M1 Carbine for Winchester firearms, one of the most widely used and iconic American weapons of WW2, earning him the nickname "Carbine" Williams.
Years ago, George Lucas wanted to build a small special effects studio at one his properties in Marin County, California, which would have created much needed jobs and revenue for the region and had much support. However, his rich neighbors feared such a thing would lower their land values and they continually tried to block or at least drag out the process of building the studio, and continued to do so for 25 years. In 2012, Lucas finally got sick of his entitled neighbors and finally sold off the property... to a non-profit organization that specializes in building low-income housing projects, and this time, the neighbors couldn't do anything about it.
Felix Baumgartner, on 13 October, 2012, performed a successful skydiving jump from a balloon-mounted capsule 120,000 feet in the air. How high is that? High enough that there's hardly any air left to be in (he had to wear a space suit). Higher than SR-71s flew. And less than fifteen minutes later, he's standing on the ground talking with the recovery crew.
In October 2012, a bus driveruppercuts a rowdy 25 year old woman for taunting him, hitting him in the face, and spitting on him. Also counts as a Funny Moment.
A special mention to the girl too, who took the uppercut like a boss and went back on the bus. The closest thing many of us in real life will come to an Awesome Moment of Crowning.
High School and College Graduations in general. They prove that you've completed important steps in your life.
Susan Boyle. The audience laughed at her until she opened her mouth. She got a standing ovation right when she started!
For those lacking the context know what's going on: She was an unexpectedly successful competitor on a British talent show.
A deviantArt user was talking to his girlfriend, and asked her if she still loved him after some trouble. Another guy came in and started making fun of him. His response? "Get. The fuck. Off. My profile. And. The site." The troll has yet to respond.
Now I want a link to that guy's profile so I can find him and congratulate him for being so amazing.
Mehdi Hasan's rebuttal to the concept that Islam is a violent religion in an Oxford University debate. A rousing Take That to bigots and Islamophobes everywhere.
When the United States entered the first partial government shutdown since 1995, the Obama administration closed down parks and monuments, among others. But, did that stop a group of World War II veterans from seeing the World War II memorial? Hell, no! They charged in, knocking down barricades meant to keep them out and visited their damn memorial. Even more, a number of Senators, frustrated by the shutdown, even helped these old soldiers get in, distracting police as they did.
Texas State Marching Band contest, November 5th, 2013. There's a lot of State regulars like Waxahachie and Wakeland, but guess who secures tenth?The two year old program and first time at state rookies known as The Lake Ridge Eagle Band. Keep in mind that means TENTH IN THE ENTIRE DAMN STATE as of November 2013 is held by a two year old program out of hundreds of WAY older and more experienced bands. They got it THEIR FIRST EVER STATE YEAR. Their show certainly reflects the awesome.
This. Seriously, tens of thousands of people (and even US Justice Department), in the big city of San Francisco, acting like they're in Gotham City, shouting and cheering for the "Batkid" (will fully decorated suit and even a Batmobile) to catch the resident "Riddler" and "Penguin", even having a paper print stating that "Batkid saves the city"... All for a sick kid's wish? Heartwarminglyawesome.
Dr. Sun Yat Sen. He went and with the help of nearly every single person in China, managed to overthrow the corrupt and well-hated Qing Dynasty after many failed attempts, and the armies on his side crushed them in one Curb-Stomp Battle after another. And he formed Modern China. What's not to love?
Vice Admiral Thomas "Tomcat" Connolly. They named the aircraft he was directly responsible for bringing to fruition after him, the F-14 Tomcat. All it took was sacrificing his all-but-certain chance of gaining a 4th star, ticking off his boss, the Secretary of the Navy, his boss' boss (Defense Secretary Robert McNamara), and effectively ending his Navy career by publicly going against the wishes and bullying of his bosses to toe the line at the Senate hearing at which they were all asked to testify.
The short version: McNamara was trying to push a plane, the TFX, on the Air Force, Marines, and Navy as a means of saving development costs and money on service-specific planes. The aircraft was too much of a compromise and was hideously underpowered for use on an aircraft carrier and ran into serious cost overruns on the project. VADM Connolly was asked to directly state his personal, not official, opinion, as to whether the TFX plane was salvageable for Navy carrier operations. His statement to the chairman? "There isn't enough thrust in Christendom to fix this plane." This single statement guaranteed the TFX would fail and resulted in the Navy being allowed to pursue the VFX project which became the F-14 Tomcat.
The Long March. Thousands of Communist soldiers crossing through mountains, marshes, bridges and forests, chased by Nationalist troops, local mercenaries and angry tribesmen, and with non-superior weaponry to the ones the Nationalists used, along with lack of food, and many dying of starvation, managed to reach their destination. OK, some was probably made up, but it's still epic to watch and read about.
Lots of professional musicians do incredible things all the time, just to please their fans. Sometimes, this gets a bit extreme...
In the middle of December, 2011, Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal was in a car accident. Less than a week later, he played a 3-hour concert despite not having healed up completely! And that includes carrying a 30-pound guitar a lot of the time. For ease of comparison, the average weight of a guitar is 6 to 10 pounds... And most concerts are typically just around 2 hours long.
In 2013, Metallica played the first ever concert on Antarctis. On the FRIGGIN' SOUTH POLE! They had an audience of 300 scientists and who-knows-how-many penguins.
And in 2013, Lady Gaga announced that she will be playing the first ever concert IN SPACE!! Probably only because someone else has already played under water and Antarctis is no longer the next logical extreme...
A 30-year old man was morbidly obese along with an alcohol problem and severe depression. He then met a woman from UK online via Draw Something. What happened from there? The man was afraid of losing his friendship with this woman, so he actually stopped drinking and lost about 400 pounds in a year ... and eventually met the woman in person to go to climb up the Eiffel Tower. Little awesome things like that.
Some of the latest discoveries by scientists definitely count. In 2013, they invented a Real-Life Lightsaber! And in May 2014, they found a way to turn light into matter! Light exists everywhere, it's just sometimes not visible, and they've made it possible to turn it into solid matter. In other words, Humanity is now capable of creating matter out of thin air! If that's not awesome, nothing is.
Jon Meis, an ordinary Seattle Pacific University Student who pepper-sprayed, tackled and, with the help of others, held down a rampaging gunman opening fire in Seattle College before he had a chance to take any more lives.
Firefighting. This is a career where you are willingly diving into other people's burning buildings, save their lives and whatever they can, and then do it again the next day if need be. This is a career that, by it's nature, requires a human to utterly rewire their fight or flight response in order to just do their jobs, in order to save complete strangers for no reward.