WHAT A WEEKEND

No matter who you rooted for, it was a great weekend for Houston sports fans

It was a big weekend for fans of Houston teams. Elsa/Getty Images

If you are a Houston sports fan, chances are this past weekend was one of the best in recent memory. No matter who you rooted for, you had something to celebrate. A look at the winners:

1) The Astros took the first two games of the ALDS at Minute Maid Park before raucous crowds on Friday and Saturday, beginning their defense of the 2017 World Series title. They wrapped up the series in Cleveland on Monday with a dominant 11-3 win.

2) The Texans? They beat fan rivals (if not real rivals) Dallas 19-16 on Sunday Night Football before a national audience. The win was their second in a row after an 0-3 start.

3) Fan of the Texas Longhorns? They are officially back. They knocked off previously unbeaten and arch-rival Oklahoma to take charge of the Big 12.

4) Texas A&M? They beat a ranked Kentucky team (yes, Kentucky is good at football this year) and moved back into the Top 25.

5) The Houston Cougars started the weekend off with a nationally televised win over Tulsa on Thursday night. After an abyamal start, they cranked it up in the fourth quarter and kept pace in the American Athletic Conference.

6) While the post-fight brawl got all the attention at the UFC card Saturday night, Houstonian Derrick Lewis stole the show before all that with a monster knockout. He also picked up a bunch of new fans with his funny, memorable postfight interview. Lewis could be in line for a heavyweight title shot after the win. 

So unless you are a Rice Owls fan (well, sorry to all six of you), you had a good weekend. 

In the grand scheme of things, it's not much. But for a city that is not exactly swimming in titles, we don't get too many weekends like this. The Astros' World Series win was the first in the franchise's 50-plus year history. The Rockets, while close in the last few years, have not won a title since 1995, which means fans have the same bragging rights as Cowboys fans do on their most recent title. (Quite simply, neither of you can brag about those anymore. If a team has not won a title since you were born and you are drinking age or older, it no longer counts. Sorry).

All that aisde, the Astros might be on their way to another title and will face the Yankees or Red Sox next (they vanquished both on the way to the title last year). The Texans are now 2-3 and only a game out of first in a suddenly mediocre AFC South. And chances are good your college team still has a lot to pay for, too. So it was a darned good weekend for Houston fan.

No matter who you rooted for.

40 years later the amazing moment in sports history still holds its place

Do you (Still) believe in miracles?

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It's hard to believe, but this week marks the 40th anniversary of "The Miracle On Ice" A result and event where "if scripted", Hollywood would immediately reject on general premise, due to it's improbability. For a younger generation who is unfamiliar with the story (or the odds), visualize a bunch of nobodies and college kids two weeks ago trying to defeat Patrick Mahomes and the KC Chiefs in the Super Bowl. Then, magnify that by about 50 times, and you'll have the general scope and idea. You see, this is exactly what TEAM USA was comprised of, a bunch of college kids, and nobodies going up against the mighty Soviets.

The average age on the American team was 21. They lacked speed, fire power and the tenure of their opponents. The Soviets hadn't lost an Olympic Hockey game since 1968. They had won 4 straight Gold Medals with their core players intact for entire stretches of their Olympic and Global dominance. By contrast, the only American returning from the 76' games was Buzz Schneider. Schneider would actually score the first goal vs. the Soviets. If you ask most American's today, they probably think Buzz was one of the astronauts. The Soviets were so dominating in this era, they had even defeated the NHL All-Stars 6-0 in 1979 to easily win The Challenge Cup.

Lake Placid, New York served as the backdrop for the 1980 Winter Olympics. Lake Placid is a small village in Essex County, NY with a population today of around 2,500 people. If you visit, it's amazing because everyone in that town claims that "they" were in attendance or had their elders in the tiny 8500 seat arena with their families. What makes the story even more remarkable, is that the matchup wasn't even supposed to happen. The U.S. were heavy underdogs even their opening contests with Sweden & Czechoslovakia. Not to mention, that no one really anticipated a contest vs the Soviets as a mere two weeks prior, the Soviets had easily defeated Team USA in an exhibition game at Madison Square Garden by a score of 10-3. Adding insult to injury in that loss, was defenseman Jack O'Callahan pulling ligaments in his knee. Jack remained on the Olympic roster, but played sparingly throughout the tournament.

The Soviets steamrolled through their tier of countries, defeating Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Finland & Canada by a combined margin of 51-10. The American's railed for a 2-2 draw in their opening game vs. Sweden, then stunned the Czechs, and then handled, Norway, Romania & West Germany. Thus the stage was set. There are edited versions of the historic matchup available for viewing on YouTube. Unlike the late Jim Mckay who refused to reveal the result on ABC's coverage (the game had been played several hours earlier) would never have had the impact in today's age of social media, and technology. Most American's had no idea the result prior to the game's airing on that tape delay. As a 9 year old kid at the time, this was certainly the case for me! This improbable upset didn't actually secure the Gold Medal. Team USA had to play Finland (trailed 2-1) before rallying 4-2 for the victory.

The "Miracle On Ice" launched some amazing sports moments in the decade to come. The Flutie Hail Mary, Lorenzo Charles stunning the Cougars, Nova shocking the Mighty Hoyas, but nothing could ever match American Pride on February 22nd, 1980 after the Soviets went down 4-3.

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