Red Card Roberts
Ryan Summerlin December 13, 2011
Every year, as the calendar comes to a close, we become bombarded with "year in review" stories in the media. Barbara Walters compiles her list of the year’s most fascinating people. Time Magazine recaps the biggest news stories of the year. ESPN reminds us of the year’s top sports bloopers. Radio stations everywhere play the most-requested songs of the year. Wherever your interests lie, you can find a story reminding you of the best and the worst of the previous 12 months.
So, in that spirit, it seems fitting to have a year in review for the Utah’s sports stories. Here are the top headline-grabbers of 2011.
BYU basketball star gets booted for doing the horizontal tango. Call it the hump heard around the world. In March, BYU basketball player Brandon Davies was suspended for the rest of the season for breaking the BYU honor code by having premarital sex with his girlfriend. National and even international media outlets ran with this one, calling the ruling "out of touch" and "archaic." But others defended the school for sticking to its values and pointing out that Brandon Davies signed the honor code. He agreed to the terms of the contract and gave his school and his team his word he’d uphold it. Despite the controversy and Davies’ absence, the Cougars advanced to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament where they lost to Florida in overtime.
RSL player suffers stomach-churning leg break. In May, Real Salt Lake midfielder Javier Morales fractured his left tibia and fibula, dislocated his ankle and suffered torn ligaments after being hacked from behind by Chivas USA midfielder Marcos Mondaini. The nasty break has been viewed tens of thousands of time on YouTube. But perhaps the bigger story is how quickly Javier recovered. His injury was expected to be season ending, but he was back in action in September. The only RSL story that could have possibly topped that this year is if Kyle Beckerman had gotten a haircut.
Record-breaking ski season. While last season’s snowfall commenced in late 2010, the records started falling in 2011 — when the snow didn’t stop falling. Alta and Snowbird both comfortably broke 700 inches while Park City-area resorts also reported new records. Many ski resorts extended their season, and Snowbird stayed open until July 4th, giving its season-pass holders 202 days of skiing during the 2010-11 season. Last season’s epic snowfall was joyful news for everyone except those without snow blowers.
Death of Jeret "Speedy" Peterson. In July, Park City resident and Olympic medalist Jeret "Speedy" Peterson committed suicide. Though he fought a public battle with alcohol and depression, he seemed to be winning the war with his demons. "I know that a lot of people go through a lot of things in their life, and I just want them to realize they can overcome anything," Peterson said after winning the silver medal in Vancouver. "There’s light at the end of the tunnel and mine was silver and I love it."
Known as a standout in a sport known for its risk takers, Speedy will be remembered as one of the world’s most innovative freestyle skiers and as the creator of the one-of-a-kind "Hurricane."
Porter Hancock paralyzed. In October, South Summit High School linebacker Porter Hancock was paralyzed after dislocating his neck in a special-teams tackle. In the last couple of months, people around the state have rallied to help Porter and his family after hearing the tragic news. Fundraisers of all types have been organized to help pay for his medical bills. Because Porter is paralyzed from the chest down, getting around his split-level house when he’s released from the hospital will be difficult. So the good people of the South Summit community are building the Hancock family a new wheelchair-accessible home. Donations are still being accepted. For more information about Porter’s condition and how you can help, go to www.helpporterhancock.bbnow.org .
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Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, public-relations guru and globe-trotting thrill seeker. In a former life she worked in TV news, both as a reporter and sports anchor. She has bagged peaks on six continents, kayaked the Zambezi and Nile rivers, swam with great white sharks in South Africa and tracked mountain gorillas in Rwanda. She was once very nearly sold for 2,000 camels while traveling through Morocco.