by Gunner Ellsworth – Staff Reporter
2016 is officially the “Year of the Choke.” Never before have there been so many unbelievable “choke” moments in this small amount of a time. A “choke” moment is, for example, if someone did 99 successful bottle flips in a row, and then proceeded to miss the next one. Many of these chokes have occurred, mostly in the sports world, but even outside of it.
All the choking began in the NFL. Blair Walsh, in the conference semifinals, two games away from the Super Bowl, missed a 27-yard field goal to win the game with 25 seconds left. This ended up sending our Seattle Seahawks to the conference finals against the Carolina Panthers. Twenty-seven yards may seem like a long distance, but as a professional kicker that should be easy.
It didn’t stop there though, the Carolina Panthers who beat our Seahawks in that conference finals game were an undefeated team. Lead by Cam Newton, the team had not lost a game all year.
They went on to face the Denver Broncos, a team who most people thought would be eliminated by the New England Patriots weeks prior. The Panthers lost that game, despite being favored to win heavily. This “choke” was a huge upset of the NFL.
The “choking” continued even after the football season was over. In the NBA, the Golden State Warriors led by Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson was in its prime coming off the NBA Championship against the Cavaliers in 2015.
The team was unstoppable in the 2016 regular season, winning 73 games— the most games ever won in history, topping Michael Jordan’s 72 wins. The Warriors probably felt on top of the world going into the 2016 playoffs.
They coasted through their first opponent, the Houston Rockets, and proceeded to easily beat the Portland Trailblazer. Then came the Oklahoma City Thunder, who had barely taken a win against the San Antonio Spurs, and now were faced with a game against the Warriors.
Lead by Kevin Durant and Russel Westbrook, the Thunder acquired a 3-1 lead. The Thunder proceeded to “choke”, losing their next three games and the conference finals. The Cavaliers, having a blatantly easier conference, blew all their opponents out of the water. They were the team matched up against the Warriors in the finals.
The Warriors thought they had the game in the bag, acquiring a 3-1 lead. In the history in of the NBA, no team had ever come back from a 3-1 lead in the NBA finals. LeBron James, leader of the Cavaliers, was determined to break this streak, and he did.
The Cavaliers won the next three games thanks to an outstanding performance by James and Irving as well. Just like that the Warriors had the biggest choke thus far.
And then it was baseball season, and the Cleveland Indians were destroying the Chicago Cubs in the World Series. Not only did the Indian’s have the tradition of “The Curses” on their side, the Cubs were down in the series 3-1. The odds of a team coming back from that far behind to win were slim. But the Cubs persevered in game 5, again in game 6 and brought themselves back to even.
The final game took 10 innings to complete, survived a rain delay and each team was ahead at some point. The Indians even came back in the eighth inning with a gigantic homerun, how could the lose? But they choked and lost by 1 in the 10th inning; the Cubs curses were broken.
The final “choke” is not sports related; it is political. The 2016 election was arguably the most heated one of all time, many liberals hated republican candidate Donald Trump, and many conservatives hated democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Trump was obviously behind, even with Clinton’s email scandal and many other things contributing negatively to her campaign. Despite this, Clinton seemed like the obvious winner for the election. Many still had hope though, that America could become great once again, under president Trump.
Come election day, many conservatives were hanging their heads, waiting for another democratic president. Then, Trump took the nation by storm. He won a ton of swing states and was very quickly in front of Clinton. He then proceeded to close out the election beating Clinton, and giving conservatives everywhere something to be happy about.
Sports, politics—there is no denying that this year is truly the “Year of the Choke.” What will 2017 have in store? Let’s hope more breathing.