Best and worst of 2003

Published 1:00 am Saturday, December 27, 2003

By Staff
For the 17th straight year it is time to rip open the envelopes and take a look at the "Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust Awards," which have come to be known as the TYAACODs (pronounced Ty Cod).
Hopefully this humorous look at the best and worst of 2003 in the world of sports can put a little smile on your face.
The envelopes please…
SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR -- Give me a break Sports Illustrated. Tim Duncan and David Robinson? This pick is nearly as bad as Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson. You couldn't find anyone more worthy? Well, my winner is a repeat performer. I have selected Lance Armstrong, who once again captured the Tour de France. Armstrong is everything we should strive to be. He is a true inspiration. Plus, he's been dating Sheryl Crow.
GREATEST MOMENT -- Michael Waltrip won his second Daytona 500. This time the race was shortened by rain. Waltrip was able to enjoy this celebration after his first victory the previous year was tarnished by the death of his former boss Dale Earnhardt.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS -- I usually only name one winner here, but there were so many to choose from in 2003. So here is a list of disappointments: the Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, NASCAR's title sponsor Winston leaving and being replaced by Nextel, and this past week the release of the baseball salary figures which only gave players a raise of $76,540. Why is this a disappointment? Because the players are whining about it. I would be dancing in the streets if someone gave me a $76,000 raise.
CREAM PUFF AWARD -- The Detroit Lions didn't tease anyone again this year. The Lions were awful from the start and never looked back, setting a new NFL record for most consecutive road losses with 24. The Lions have won two more games than last year, but I don't see that they are any better.
PITCHMAN AWARD -- Tiger Woods, despite not having won a major tournament or the money title continues to win the war of endorsement dollars. He is everywhere, supplanting Michael Jordan in this category.
HEAD OF THE CLASS -- I usually have a list of teams that won championships here in this category, but I am only going to name one champion from now on and that is the team I felt was the overall best. This year it is the Connecticut women's basketball team which was supposed to be rebuilding from its championship year in 2002. The Lady Huskies didn't rebuild, but reloaded and went on to defeat arch rival Tennessee for the NCAA championship.
WE'RE GOING TO MISS YOU -- Warren Spahn, Bobby Bonds, Herb Brooks, Dave DeBusschere, Bill Shoemaker, Althea Gibson, George Plimpton and Tex Schramm are among the few who passed away in 2003.
NEARLY GREAT MOMENT -- The Bowl Championship Series had a chance to get it right again this year, but decided to totally blow it. Instead of making No. 1 ranked USC play for the national championship against LSU, the BCS chose defending champion Oklahoma, which didn't even win its own conference championship, to play the Bayou Tigers.
HOW DO YOU SPELL RELIEF? -- N-0 M-O-R-E A-N-N-A K-O-U-R-N-I-K-O-V-A. Although we all enjoy looking at this tennis beauty, we finally do not have to watch her play any more bad tennis. Kournivoka is a terrible player who only appears on television constantly because of her looks.
BIGGEST SURPRISE -- The total collapse of the Los Angeles Lakers on their way to tyring to win a fourth consecutive NBA championship. Perhaps the bigger surprise was Laker Kobe Bryant being accused of rape in a small Colorado community.
Scott Novak is sports editor of the Dowagiac Daily News. Email him at