Groundhog Day

February 2, 2010 – 7:12 pm by Hickey

Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don’t forget your booties ’cause it’s cooooold out there today.
It’s coooold out there every day. What is this, Miami Beach?
Not hardly. And you know, you can expect hazardous travel later today with that, you know, that, uh, that blizzard thing.
That blizzard – thing. That blizzard – thing. Oh, well, here’s the report! The National Weather Service is calling for a “big blizzard thing!”
Yessss, they are. But you know, there’s another reason why today is especially exciting.
Especially cold!
Especially cold, okay, but the big question on everybody’s lips…
– On their chapped lips…
On their chapped lips, right: Do ya think Phil is gonna come out and see his shadow?
-Punxsutawney Phil!
Thats right, woodchuck-chuckers – it’s
[in unison]

You’re playing yesterday’s tape, guys… oh, hey, loyal readers. You caught me in the middle of something there. Anyway, as we all know, in the 1993 classic Groundhog Day, Bill Murray is left living Feb. 2 over and over… and over. Great stuff.

Which got me thinking — if there was one day in my sporting life that I had to relive again and again, what would it be? You know, kind of like the day Phil Connors is talking about when he says “I was in the Virgin Islands once. I met a girl. We ate lobster, drank piña coladas. At sunset, we made love like sea otters.”  And on the flip side, there is the nightmare of a day you never want to live again.

Here’s what me and a couple of my colleagues came up with for our respective Groundhog Days. Feel free to add your own at the bottom. Because, ya know, this is supposed to be an interactive activity. It’s why they invented the internets.


Day to Relive: January 4, 2005. USC utterly obliterates the supposed (at the time) “Best Team In College Football History,” Oklahoma, 55-19.

Before the game all we heard about was how Oklahoma’s offensive line was monstrous and would destroy a “soft” USC defensive front. How Adrian Peterson would run over, through and around said “soft” defense and how former Heisman Trophy winner Jason White would pick apart the Trojans. White finished 24-of-36 for 244 yards and three interceptions.

We also heard that USC’s running game would be stifled by Oklahoma’s incredible defensive front. Before the game Oklahoma defensive end Larry Birdine called USC’s Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Matt Leinart an average quarterback on an overrated offense. Leinart went 18-for-35 for 332 yards and five touchdowns (four in the first half). He was also the game’s MVP. Reggie Bush and LenDale White combined to run for 193 yards and averaged 9.2 yards per carry. Oklahoma’s “vaunted” defense gave up 55 points and 525 total yards.

It was beautiful. SC trailed 7-0, then utterly dominated, pulling ahead 55-10 with 9:46 left in the game. In between there, the Trojans put on an absolute show, Ashlee Simpson sounded like a dying flamingo during the halftime performance and Pete Carroll bounced around the sidelines like a hyperactive 12-year-old. My dad and I watched with a combination of amazement, jubilation and disbelief. Again. It was beautiful.

Least like to relive: January 29, 1995, Super Bowl XXIX.

02superbowl29My beloved San Diego Chargers, a team of destiny throughout the 1994-95 NFL season, got absolutely obliterated by the San Francisco 49ers, 49-26.

The Chargers were a tough, hard-nosed team led by Junior Seau in his prime, quarterback Stan Humphries (playing through a dislocated left shoulder), young, exciting running back Natrone Means and one of the worst secondaries in the NFL.

The 49ers had one of the best passing attacks in NFL history, led by Steve Young, Jerry Rice, John Taylor and Ricky Waters. We should have seen it coming, but in the heat of the craziness surrounding San Diego’s run to the big game, we were seeing the world through powder blue-colored glasses.

In what seemed like the blink of an eye, the Bolts were down 14-0, then 28-7. I couldn’t bear it anymore. It was so painful, but I had to watch the entire game, because who knows when the Chargers would ever be back in the Super Bowl…they still haven’t returned…Thanks for that Norv Turner.


If I could relive any one sporting moment and not change it, it would be IU beating Duke in 2002 Sweet 16. (March 22, 2002).

If had to relive one sporting moment and change it, i’d go Bartman. (Oct. 14, 2003).

If i was a Detroit Pistons fan I’d like to repick the no. 2 pick back in the Darko-Melo draft. (June 26, 2003).


Since The Baker and I often operate on the same astral plane, it is not a surprise that our answers are remarkably similar.
If there is one day I could relive, it would definitely be March 22, 2002. But for completely different reasons than his own — I need that day back to do-over one of the most egregious errors of my lifetime.

You see, back in those days I was attempting to woo a young Zeta, and one of the most effective ways to do this was to bring her to a play. As luck would have it, that play happened to be scheduled on the same day as IU’s Sweet 16 battle with Duke, which is something that I could not have foreseen when buying the tickets.

lg_moye_ap-01The game actually tipped off before the show, so there was still time to back out if warranted. However, with the Hoosiers already down by about 16 points just 10 minutes into the game, that hardly seemed necessary. We proceeded to the IU Auditorium.

At the intermission, I ran into my buddy Alec in the lobby. You could probably see the deep concern in both of our eyes as we wondered if our respective attempts to woo ladies were the right choice on such a potentially momentous night. But we weren’t going to win, so this had to be worth it, right?

Then, just as the cast was in its final number of the evening, someone in the back of the theater shouted it.

“We beat Duke!”

I thought it was some practical joker at first. No way. Not against that super-team. Not with the way IU was playing when the game started.

Then, when we left the Auditorium, it was confirmed. Hundreds of people had gathered by the fountain in celebration, and that crowd would quickly grow into the thousands. The party continued all night, and fortunately I had taped the game so I was able to watch it in the company of friends later in the evening, including a guy who is now soon to be doctor and celebrated the win by pouring a Keystone Light on his own head. But I had missed the original joy of it all.

The girl? I only ended up seeing her two more times the rest of that school year, and she lived across the street. That one’s a definite re-do.

The day I’d most like to avoid? Oct. 15, 2003. Sure, the Bartman game was terrible. But the next day was even worse. There was a weird mixture of hope and panic going into Game 7 of the NLCS after the Cubs had blown Game 6 the night before. I mean, the Cubs are destined to be doomed, but Kerry Wood was going to be on the hill. And in ’03, Woody was the man.

The fear completely subsided when Wood hit a homer to tie the game at 3 in the second inning. Kerry Wood is hitting home runs? This is destiny! That feeling got even stronger when a two-run homer by Moises Alou — the guy who the whole Bartman thing revolved around — put the Cubs up 5-3.

Guh. I can’t remember exactly what happened next. Darkness warshed over Hick Flick like a dark steer’s tuckus on a moonless night. I do recall actually pulling my covers over my head at one point. And peeking out my head to see Paul Motherf*$&$ing Bako make the final out. Then wandering around the entire border of the IU campus before going to the bar for two shots of Wild Turkey and heading to my buddy Sean’s apartment for general commiseration.

Needless to say, I think I could go without dealing with that one again. Fortunately, the Cubs do not appear to be in any danger of putting themselves in a position for themselves to do so.
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  1. 11 Responses to “Groundhog Day”

  2. I would certainly relive the day I saw Carlos Zambrano’s no-hitter in person (a game you could have been at but decided against, Cousin Hick Flick. Perhaps that’s another candidate for a day you’d like a do-over on?)

    I would have to go with the Bartman game as well. After that atrocity, I just knew the Cubs were going to lose game 7.

    By Cousin Charlie on Feb 3, 2010

  3. A few moments stick out for me, such as the day SIU beat Indiana in Carbondale in December 2001. Our headline the next day, “Hey, Indiana, Hoosier Daddy?”

    There’s also the day the SIU football team snapped an 18-game losing streak to Western Illinois with a 54-52 homecoming victory on the final play of the game.

    And let’s not forget when the Cubs won the NL East in 1989. When Mitch Williams struck out that final Expo, I went running through the house and out in the front yard yelling about how we’d just won the division.

    But the greatest sports memory might’ve been in the autumn of 2004, when Kyle Kniss led Eastland-Pearl City past Lena-Winslow in the playoffs, pulling off the greatest comeback ever witnessed by man.

    By Todd on Feb 3, 2010

  4. I’m surprised Phillips didn’t go with Saturday October 17, 1998….stupid god damn Rich Garcia it was a strike


    Monday, October 1, 2007…Matt Holliday has yet to touch homeplate.

    By Booter on Feb 3, 2010

  5. Groundhog Day is so rewatchable. I dare say, if I were stuck in Phil’s situation, I wouldn’t mind rewatching Groundhog Day on a loop. How meta.

    It’s difficult to pick a great moment, as no team I root for has ever really won anything, ever, but watching Jake Peavy beat Roger Clemens was pretty great. And the Cubs/Padres game where D. Lee and CY got in a fight was probably the best game I’ve ever watched live. I could watch that again forever.

    On the flipside, this most recent Chargers loss was pretty painful (mostly because everyone in San Diego was so sure it wouldn’t happen), but The Matt Holliday Incident takes the cake.

    By red on Feb 3, 2010

  6. Best day to re-live: October 7th, 2000

    I was a student at the U. We were playing FSU at the old Orange Bowl. Tailgated from 8 am til the game. The place had over 80,000. Met up with a girl in the stands whom I would bed later than evening. Dorsey hit Shockey down the middle for the go-ahead score with :50 left. F$U got hlpe from a personal foul penalty and got into FG range. Then it happened….wide right 3. The stadium exploded and the crappy bleachers rocked back and forth. I know they won a title the next year, but that game always sticks out in my memory and that day was so awesome.

    Bad Day: February 3rd, 2008.

    I’m a Pats fan, David Tyree. What made things worse is that I had to go work a graveyard shift after the game. So the crushing loss was followed by a whole night of stocking shelves and reliving the game over in my head.

    Great idea for an article, and the movie GH Day is absolutely timeless.

    By cleet on Feb 3, 2010

  7. Best: Besides every moment that I ever watched Walter Payton play football?
    – November 7th, 1999. Bears miraculously block a field goal with what I am quite sure was divine intervention from the spirit of Sweetness, to beat the Packers 14-13.
    June 7, 2003. Arturo Gatti/ “Irish” Micky Ward boxing match.
    Worst: 1984 Game 5 of the Playoffs, Cubs lose to the Padres. Awful.

    By roundthewaygirl on Feb 3, 2010

  8. I’m sure there’s a lot of other great sports moments I’d like to relive or redo, but the first day that popped into my head was my 18th birthday – November 4, 2001.
    It was the day the Bears made their second stunning comeback in as many weeks by scoring two touchdowns in the final 28 seconds to force overtime against the Browns before winning the game on a Mike Brown interception return in OT for the second straight week.
    What was just as memorable, if not more so than the fact that they won the game in identical fashion to the previous week was how they tied the game.
    Shane Matthews heaved a 34-yard desperation hail mary on the final play of regulation that was tipped by David Terrell and miraculously caught by James Allen as time expired.
    To this day I don’t remember a more ridiculously exciting moment as a Bears fan. That includes the day they won the NFC Championship in 2007.

    By AK-47 on Feb 3, 2010

  9. Relive: the 2005 Elite Eight game between Illinois and Arizona. I watched from a Hooters in Manhattan. By the last few minutes everyone in the place, none of whom were probably Illini fans, were cheering for the Illini. Deron’s three to tie the game is probably the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.

    (Note: I was also at that D. Lee/CY fight game at Wrigley. Choice. Putting aside the fight, it was a well-played Padres 1-0 win that put the team in first place. That ’07 Padres team was good. If Milton Bradley and Mike Cameron don’t get injured that team was going places.)

    Least like to relive: the Chargers ’06 Divisional Playoff loss to the Pats. I was in Tahoe for my friend’s bachelor party and watched from a casino. They showed the game on a projection screen. What a nightmare.

    By Ryan on Feb 7, 2010

  10. I could not гesist commenting. Verу well written!

    By on Dec 22, 2013

  11. I seldom write comments, however i did some searching and wound up here Groundhog Day | Rumors and Rants.

    And I actually do have 2 questions for you
    if it’s allright. Could it be simply me or does it look like some of the remarks come across like they
    are left by brain dead visitors? :-P And, if you are writing at other places, I’d like to keep up with anything fresh you have
    to post. Could you list of all of all your community pages like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

    By sumatra surf camp on Jun 6, 2016

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