Douglas: Signing off on a wild year for sports

Coach Matt Campbell and the Iowa State coaching staff have secured six commitments from the class of 2020 since June 10.

Zane Douglas

There’s a feeling when you watch a good show and all you want to do is see some spectacular ending that wraps up every loose end, the feeling that the show can only be good if the ending matches the journey.

Sports are the same way.

While shows like “Game of Thrones” at least had a chance to end, the sports world was completely shut down in mid-March and the ending of the NCAA basketball season was wiped clean from memory.

For sports fans, a huge part of their March and some of April was taken away from them when they needed it most.

Dayton fans will look to next season hoping their team can retain the lightning in a bottle success it had this year — a hope that took a hit when the player of the year left the Flyers for the NBA.

There is nothing ideal about what is happening and the problems in other areas far outweigh sports, but sports is a big part of my life and a big part of the lives of people around me.

Instead of wishing the MLB, NBA and NHL would find a way to come back safely, why not look back at some of the ways this sports season was good before the pandemic.

In October, we saw a World Series capped off by the Washington Nationals’ first championship over the Houston Astros who were in the middle of a scandal that would expand in the coming weeks in huge proportions.

Also in October was the end of a wild WNBA season that was topped off by dominant Washington Mystics taking a decisive game five over an almost as dominant Connecticut Sun.

While all that was happening, a star was being born in college football as Joe Burrow led Ed Orgeron’s football squad to one of the best college football seasons of all time. I think we all remember that first half against Oklahoma.

The NFL treated us with a new face as Patrick Mahomes took the playoffs by storm and led what was an otherwise pained Kansas City Chiefs franchise to a Super Bowl win over the San Francisco 49ers.

Before that, Derrick Henry went bananas against the New England Patriots, forcing Tom Brady’s last Patriots pass to be an interception as the Titans upset the defending champions, and against the Baltimore Ravens where Lamar Jackson’s amazing season was destroyed by a team led by Ryan Tannehill at quarterback.

In the NBA, gone were the days of the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers dominating the NBA. The parity in the league grew with Los Angeles having two title contending teams and the Giannis Antetokounmpo-led Bucks showing why they should be the favorites.

In the NHL, as the Blues looked to defend their Stanley Cup, the Boston Bruins were over in the Eastern Conference trying to spoil that again.

The NBA and NHL seasons didn’t get to finish and I suspect they never will, but the seasons were fun up to that point.

Iowa State had an interesting year in the sports realm with the football team turning in another winning season and yet still retaining Matt Campbell among questions of a possible departure again. 

It was a rebuilding year for the soccer team, but the volleyball team made it to the tournament before ending its season there.

Cross country for the men and women was a massive success as runners stood out for Iowa State, especially the champion of the cross country season, Edwin Kurgat.

The men’s basketball team was one of the few men’s basketball teams in the country to end its season before the pandemic canceled everything. The Cyclones lost a close game at the start of the Big 12 Tournament to end the season at a pedestrian 12-20.

The real tragedies of Iowa State’s ensemble were in the women’s basketball and wrestling teams who both had more to play.

Women’s basketball got to end its season on an extreme high, toppling the perennial title contender Baylor Lady Bears when the Cyclones were close to the bubble.

The wrestling team had nine wrestlers going to Minneapolis for the NCAA Championships, trying to earn an All-American spot or in redshirt freshman David Carr’s case, possibly take home an NCAA title.

The successful winter for the Cyclones wasn’t done there as the gymnastics team was one of the more successful Cyclone teams in recent memory, while the men’s golf team found its stride in the winter, joining the women’s golf team with promising seasons.

Track and Field was in a similar situation with cross country and Edwin Kurgat led the Cyclones again, but the season was cut short again with the outdoor season not even getting the chance to start.

Iowa State had an interesting year while the sports world was riddled with intrigue.

As a “Game of Thrones” fan, I don’t like the ending and I can sit here and wish the writers did a better job, but it’s still my favorite show because I look back at all the seasons and episodes along the way that led up to it.

The same can be said about the sports world and one thing is clear to me as the school year comes to a close.

We only care about the ending because the journey was just that good.