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As one of those fans whose happiness and everyday functionality depends on the success of her sports teams, 2017 was not my year. In big games this year, my alma mater (Roll Tide) was defeated by Clemson in the NCAA football national championship, and my home team (Go Cats) just missed the Final Four thanks to North Carolina’s reserviest-looking reserve, Luke May. I need 2018.

But despite the remote controls I’ve thrown and broken this year due to full-out fan tantrums (fantrums? No? OK.), I can put my bitterness aside to recognize some of the best sports stories of the year: LaVar Ball became a household name; the Golden State Warriors looked like the Monstars en route to the NBA Finals; Queen Serena and her baby won the Australian Open; JJ Watt raised a kajillion dollars for Hurricane Harvey relief; and Dennis Rodman became the unofficial ambassador to North Korea.

Those were the headliners, but SPORTS has winners and losers. So who won SPORTS in 2017? Honorable mentions aside, here are the winners of 2017.

Third Place: World Series Viewers

This year’s World Series between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers consisted of a lot of World Series “evers.” It started with the hottest game ever which was also one of the shortest games ever, and there was one of the longest games ever which was also one of the greatest games ever. And remember all of those dingers?! The teams had a combined 25 home runs between them, setting a record and giving viewers quality water cooler talking points. Viewers also won three extra innings throughout the series. Free baseball!

Second Place: McGregor and Mayweather’s Bank Accounts

“The Money Fight” only takes second place because Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather have had enough good fortune this year. Watching this fight was like playing a claw machine: you know what the outcome was going to be, but you couldn’t help wasting your money on it anyway. Mayweather remained undefeated and took home $300 million while McGregor lost and left with a measly $100 million. Their bank accounts weren’t the only winners, however, as I found 37 cents in the couch cushions during the third round.

First Place: Tom Brady

Full disclosure: I hate Tom Brady and I don’t know why. On the other hand, I hate Roger Goodell and I do know why. For this reason, I found myself enjoying Brady and the Patriots’ win over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI. After the never-ending Deflategate saga and four-game suspension, it was divine providence that Brady would lead his team back from a 25-point deficit, if not solely to make Goodell hand him the Lombardi trophy.

I’m going to repeat this again for emphasis: I hate Tom Brady… but I am a huge fan of pettiness, so Brady gets the top spot for 2017.


2017 Biggest Losers: The “Stick to Sports” Crowd

Ah, sports trolls. They’re a special breed. They’ve been dwelling in internet comment sections for years now, but their battle cry fell on deaf ears in 2017. This past year, athletes and sports reporters alike made it apparent that they didn’t plan to “stick to sports.”

Though Colin Kaepernick is still needlessly out of job, the movement he began to protest racial injustices spread throughout the NFL. The U.S. Women’s National Hockey and Soccer Teams protested against wage disparities. LeBron James called the President of the United States “u bum,” for crying out loud. 2017 showed trolls that athletes are people with the freedom to express thoughts and feelings; they are not just empty creatures whose only purpose is to entertain. I’m looking at you, Papa John!

Caroline Willett

Caroline Willett is an Avril Lavigne conspiracy theorist who has a three-legged cat that she'd love to tell you about sometime.

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