10 Sports Moments That Wowed Us in 2011 (VIDEOS)

Baseball gameMark this one on your 2011 calendar: this writer is about to admit that sometimes the written word just doesn't do it. When it comes to the world of sports, sometimes you just need to see it to believe it.

And so you have the instant replay, the highlight reel, and this: 10 of the most memorable sports videos of 2011, coming at you before we rush into 2012 and another chance to watch the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Championships, and all those other mega moments that keep us on our toes.

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Baseball Takes a Giant Step Toward Embracing Gays: The San Francisco Giants made it hard to stick to my "hate all National League teams" motto when players got together to make their own It Gets Better video to help gay teens:

Taylor Lautner Finds Humor in the NFL Lockout: We all know Taylor makes a fine-looking werewolf, but did you know he can turn a cornfield into a football field? The actor brought the funny and the football players to "Iowa" to help us get through those football-free days until the lockout finally ended:

 

 

Baseball Announcers Laugh as Fan Falls to His Death: Announcers in the Texas Rangers' ballpark didn't know the laughter and mindless prattle that they're so accustomed to using as they call a game would be the backdrop to horrific tragedy as fan Shannon Stone fell to his death in July while trying to catch a ball for his young son. In an odd turn, we're happy to say most videos have been removed from the web so we don't have to relive this sad moment in sports. Out of respect for Shannon's family, we cannot let this story go unmarked, but are relieved not to have to watch again.

Cirque du Soleil Performer Puts Pitchers to Shame: The first pitch at a baseball came is surrounded by a lot of hoopla, but can be pretty boring. Half the time the VIPs can't even get it over the plate. But the day some dude from Cirque du Soleil showed up at a Padres-Royals game and did some crazy back flips before letting the ball fly goes down as one of the best first pitches of all time:

 

Hockey Bad Boy Becomes Gay Rights Poster Child: Sean Avery is many things. New York Rangers player. Model. One-time fashion mag intern. But the enforcer sometimes called the "most hated" guy in the NHL surprised the world when he came out in front of the video camera to join the fight for marriage equality in New York this past May:

Pastor's Hilarious NASCAR Prayer Would Make Will Ferrell Proud: If you're a NASCAR fan, it stands to reason you'd take the sport seriously. But when Pastor Joe Nelms thanked God for "Sunoco Racing Fuel and Goodyear tires that bring performance and power to the track," even the most hardcore racing fan was giggling:

Disabled Veteran Makes Kid's Day With Amazing Foul Ball Catch: It's hard enough to catch a foul ball in Yankee Stadium. Now imagine being a wounded US military veteran who lost an arm in the warm who manages to catch the ball with the other arm . . . only to give it to a little kid. Michael Kacer had us all swooning with this amazing moment back in June:

Best World Cup Final Moment: Kid Lifting Shirt: Watching Team USA make it all the way to the finals of the Women's World Cup brought the country together this past July, and the loss was hard to take. But the replays of a kid lifting his shirt in the stands to celebrate Alex Morgan's goal was so gut-bustingly funny, we couldn't stay sad for long:

Mets and Phillies Fans React to News of Osama Bin Laden's Death: It was the "do you remember where you were moment" of 2011: the moment President Obama confirmed the world's most wanted terrorist had been killed. And watching fans at a baseball game screaming USA, USA, made us feel like we were all part of something bigger than ourselves:

Possessed Runaway Golf Cart Crashes High School Football Game: There are serious moments in sports. And then there is that time an unmanned golf cart somehow careened around a football field and we laughed at people falling down. We all need moments in life just like this:

What were some of your favorite sports highlights from 2011?

 

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