Mattís Take:



Itís time to blow out the candles on the cake and say Happy Birthday to Double Take.



For the past three years Andrew and I have predicted everything from World Series and Super Bowl winners to debating the biggest stories in sports and whether or not NASCAR is a sport. And just for reference, driving in a circle is not a sport.



Itís been my pleasure to share my opinion with you. Iím not always right and I may pull my homer card from time to time, but itís all in good fun.



Well, as tradition we are going to look back at the past year in sports for our top story.



For me, there is one blindingly obvious choice ó NBA-er Jason Collins coming out as the first active gay player in the four major professional sports.



How could you argue against that? Well, stay tuned.



For my money, the story of the year so far is Kevin Ware and the Louisville Cardinals run to the NCAA Championship.



If you donít remember the story, itís gruesome and somewhat disturbing. Ware broke his right leg in Joe Theisman fashion during the Cardinals Elite Eight matchup with Duke.



The story was sad, but nonetheless inspirational, as his teammates rallied around the youngster and used the injury as motivation.



As devastating as the injury was, Ware is now back on the court shooting jumpers. Itís a story of determination, motivation and inspiration.



Kudos to this young man. Who knows if he will ever clock time in an NBA game, but even if he doesnít, Iím a fan of Ware for life.



Sure, itís not as impactful as Collinsí coming out, but it represents all that is great in sports.



 



Andrewís take:



I just got done writing my name on the wall in crayon. Thatís what a three-year-old would do right?



Now, as an official tradition, Matt and I are looking back at the last year and identifying the most prominent sports stories.



I spoke with a lot of friends about this one, because the last year wasnít as clear as the previous two.



Some mentioned Manti Teío. Eh.



I was actually leaning toward the topic of Jason Collins, and the recent publicity of gay athletes, which is the topic that evokes the strongest personal feelings.



But then I realized that only one story is ďlife-or-death.Ē



The future of ďAmericaís GameĒ has become in-jeopardy, and the 2012 football season made it official.



The word was already out. Even though the correlation isnít necessarily ďdirect,Ē we still know that athletic collisions involving the head often cause permanent damage.



Then, Junior Seau committed suicide.



Basically, a career of heavy cranial contact caused one of the best defensive players of all-time to become so depressed that he shot himself. And he wounded himself in the chest, just to preserve his brain for research.



Then, Javon Belcher committed suicide.



His death wasnít clearly a product of brain damage, but he was a linebacker, just like Seau. The same position that takes all the hits.



So, if youíre a parent, and youíre debating whether or not to sign the permission slip that allows your child to play football, how do you give away that ďJohn HancockĒ?



Iíve always imagined, if I have a son, that he will play football. But Iím not a parent. I donít know what itís like to have that animalistic sense of protection. I donít know how I would handle that permission slip situation. I know that I definitely canít blame a skeptical parent.



Youth football numbers are going to fall, which means that the talent pool will become smaller, and the quality of the game will suffer.



In 2013, you better watch some football, because it might be the best we ever see.