The days are growing short. The year is almost over. So it is a good time to look back and remember what was good and bad about sports in 2012. After all, what do all the games become but memories?
●Best newcomer: What a lucky year for Washington sports fans. The Nationals’ teenage sensation Bryce Harper and Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III burst onto the scene. So who was better? It’s awfully close, but I would say RGIII. Even though Harper was terrific, Griffin made a bigger difference for his team.
●Best moment: Jayson Werth’s home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of the fourth playoff game against the St. Louis Cardinals was like a dream come true for every kid who has ever played baseball. Maybe Werth can do it again for the Nationals in 2013 — in the World Series!
●Biggest disappointment: It was a downer when the Nats lost to the Cardinals and the Capitals lost to the New York Rangers in the last game of their playoff series. But I felt even worse when the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner, I’ll Have Another, got hurt and couldn’t go for horse racing’s Triple Crown.
●Best local athlete: Katie Ledecky, a 15-year-old student at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, swam away from the field to win a gold medal in the 800-meter freestyle at the London Summer Olympic Games. Not bad for a high-schooler from Bethesda.
●Best team: The women of the U.S. Olympic team won 29 of the United States’ 46 gold medals in the Summer Games. (Among other countries, China was the only one whose combined men’s and women’s teams won more gold medals than the U.S. women did.) The American women were the stars of the London Olympics.
●Worst teams: No matter how many different players they try or how hard they play, Washington’s pro basketball teams — the Wizards and the Mystics — can’t seem to win many games. This year was a tough one for Washington hoops fans.
●Biggest upset: After going winless at Nationals games for more than six seasons, everybody’s favorite Racing President — Teddy — finally won a race in 2012.
Have a safe and happy holiday. See you in 2013.
Fred Bowen writes the sports opinion column for KidsPost. He is the author 17 chapter books for kids that combine sports fiction and sports history. His latest book is “Go for the Goal!”