Sports legends ensure games’ timelessness

What makes a legend? Every sport has the great ones, hall of famers, All-Stars and superstars, but what makes them fall into the spotlight?Sometimes, one play can make an athlete into a legend. Doug Flutie’s “Hail Mary” pass in the 1984 classic against Miami is one of those moments that turned a man into a legend. He wasn’t the biggest guy on the field, but he used his heart and head on the college gridiron, and is now sealed forever in ESPN Classic fame.

LaDainian Tomlinson was one of those legends. Smaller, quicker, stronger, faster and just plain better. Every Sunday he makes highlights for the San Diego Chargers, and he is now ascending the ranks toward a career of NFL immortality that will hopefully land him in the Hall of Fame.

A jersey number goes down in the legendary shrines when a number gets retired. The number 34 has deep meaning in the state of Texas and even has some TCU roots. Nolan Ryan proudly wore the blue and grey 34 uniform for the Texas Rangers when he threw his final no-hitter in Arlington Stadium and now, the baseball scout’s poster child, TCU’s own Jake Arrieta, wears the same digits.

Earning respect at the cost of life and limb develops legends. Bear Bryant exemplified this approach with his no-holds-barred lifestyle of unfiltered cigarettes, strong bourbon and tireless practice. Seeing him sport a houndstooth hat with a Camel dangling from his lips will leave an image in the minds of college sports fans for ages.

Eventually, TCU will produce another Sammy Baugh or Davey O’Brien, but until then, fans must embrace the history that legends of the game can bring for timeless stories and classic tales of sports lore.