Zies’ Pieces: A Farewell Column

Kyle Zies


A weekly addition of news and notes across the sports world, all in the humble eye of Kyle Zies.

In the course of just nine months, the sports world has ever evolved. It has changed for better and for worse. Peyton Manning rode off into the sunset embarking on one of the most memorable journeys in NFL history. Stephen Curry is lighting up the NBA in California for another year. We kissed goodbye to Kobe Bryant on an emotional April night that left fans with lasting memories for a lifetime. In our beloved hometown, another year has come and gone on the sports scene as senior faces disappear and young ones emerge. The sports world is forever evolving. With or without us, sports as we know it changes. In America, across the globe and our small nestled town of Granville, Ohio. Now, in the 2015-2016 sports season, we look at the top moments together that captivated our minds, our attention, and our hearts.

The Sheriff Rides Off:

At the age of 39, Peyton Manning did the impossible. Manning retook the reigns of the Denver Broncos from quarterback Brock Osweiler and gave the offense just the spark it needed to win Super Bowl 50 over the seemingly unbeatable Carolina Panthers. Perhaps Von Miller and the Denver defense really won the game, it cannot be overlooked the power of one man and the effect he has on the sports world, that being Manning. Shortly after, Manning decided to hang it up and ride off on top of the world. One of the greatest to ever play the game, delivering unforgettable moments in Indianapolis, Denver, and the University of Tennessee. He leaves us, a champion.

Derby Day:

On the first Saturday in May, the people of the world flock to Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky in the snazziest attire to watch a horse race that will forever be in scripted into our minds. After American Pharoah was the twelfth Triple-Crown winner of all-time and since retired, the world looked for a new horse to fall in love with. That came this year as Nyquist won the Kentucky Derby and slingshot him into the top of the horse racing world. Enjoy a mint julep to that.

One Final Night:

Love him or hate him, one has to respect the accomplishments of longtime Los Angeles Laker, Kobe Bryant. “The Black Mamba” at age 37 captivated the audience at the Staple Center one final time by dropping 60 points in an unforgettable night in Los Angeles. Although Bryant will not walk off on a championship run, his moments of the face of the NBA have marked our generation respected the Lakers, and the league.

Never Too Old:

Peyton Manning and Kobe Bryant proved their worth at an old age but there are more across the sports stage doing unthinkable things at an unusual age. Jaromir Jagr, 44, led the Florida Panthers of the NHL in points this season. Jagr is twice the age of some of his teammates and is old enough to be some of their fathers. Jagr has every intention to play at the age of 45 signing a fresh new contract extension at the conclusion of the season. Who wouldn’t want to see more Jagr still at the top of his game? David Ortiz is saying his farewell to the 30 ballparks across America in his last season of his playing career. Ortiz is still playing at a big time level and 29 other ball clubs would love to have called Big Papi their own. The city of Boston gladly calls him theirs. Just this past weekend, Bartolo Colon of the New York Mets became the oldest player to hit his first home run in MLB history. At the age of 42, Colon has been written off by half the league and will be 43 at the end of the month. His pitching ability is still top notch and has no reason to hang it up. Imagine playing a children’s game in your forties and making millions of dollars? Not a bad gig.

The Voice of a Legend:

Dodgers fans have only known the golden crisp voice of Vin Scully who has been the play-by-play commentator since the Dodgers days’ in Brooklyn in 1950. The Dodgers tore down Ebbets and moved to the bright lights of Los Angeles in 1958. Scully went with the club and has remained the voice for 66 years now. In 2016, Scully will call it quits at the conclusion of the season in which baseball fans morn and cherish his final moments. Part of Scully’s gifts for his last hoorah has been a street sign in front of Dodgers Stadium newly named “Vin Scully Way”. What a nice retirement gift.

Old or young, now or later, the sports world is changing. The days of Mickey Mantle, Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan, and Brett Favre are gone. The Astrodome, Joe Louis Arena, and others will no longer host memorable moments. Chuck Noll, John Wooden, and Tony Larussa won’t be seen coaching the greatest teams any more. We move on. We adapt, we grow. We move on together being captivated by the best sports figures and cheer with them throughout their career and shed a tear with them as they ended it. The ever rotating door spins on, and we the spectator, are along for the ride.