Top 10 Texas Sports Happenings of 2017
1) The Houston Astros: As a Houston native and lifelong Astros fan I can think of nothing that warmed my heart more in 2017 than the Astros winning the World Series. The devastation that Houston endured at the hands of Hurricane Harvey was heartbreaking. The Astros returning to Minute Maid soon afterward and winning one of the most exciting Fall Classics in my lifetime helped boost the morale of my resilient hometown. – M.F.
2) Michael Dickson's Golden Punts: So the Longhorns' football season didn't go as well as some would have hoped, but there was always one thing fans could be proud of – Dickson and that right leg of his. The Ray Guy Award winner even had one of the five longest punts in the NCAA this season with a 76-yarder against TCU. – R.Z.
3) J.J. Watt's Harvey Relief Fund: While J.J. Watt's season was cut short by injury, it turns out he had a more important job to do: raising more than $37 million for his Hurricane Harvey relief fund. Watt shared Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year award with his Houston Astros buddy Jose Altuve and proved there are more important fights to win than those that happen between the lines. – M.F.
4) New UT Athletic Director Chris Del Conte: This power change comes at a great time. Texas has been in need of a permanent AD, and Chris Del Conte has what the program's been looking for. His success at TCU and ability to implement a vision gives us a glimpse into what could be Texas' future – and we're excited. – R.Z.
5) NFL Protests: Colin Kaepernick lit a fire under the league and the country when he kneeled during the national anthem in protest of racial injustice. When President Trump weighed in saying he should've been suspended, and that other players who kneel during the anthem should be fired or suspended, the protest turned into a national firestorm with fans as divided in the stands as they were in the voting booth. – M.F.
6) UT Volleyball: This season the UT volleyball team earned their 10th Big 12 championship! The university has become so good at recruiting top talent and coaching them on to be champions that winning seems to come naturally. – R.Z.
7) Mo Bamba: You may not even pay attention to basketball, yet somehow you know who this guy is and that he's a complete beast. As one of the most talked-about Texas commits, there's no doubt Bamba adds something special to the team with his 7-foot-9-inch wingspan. – R.Z.
8) Texas Quidditch: UT's Intramural Quidditch teams Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, and Slytherin (of course) finished the year on top over all competition. Their success on broomsticks inspires us to find the golden snitch in all our lives. – R.Z.
9) Kevin Durant Gets a Ring: All-time UT great KD earned his first NBA championship with the Golden State Warriors in 2017. Can James Harden and Chris Paul do the same for the 2017-18 Rockets? Will head coach Gregg Popovich lead San Antonio to their sixth title? – M.F.
10) Texas Rowing Team: Their current-cutting oar movements helped them slide into another Big 12 championship title, their third in a row. With an eight-person team, every drive and run is critical – something the UT rowers work hard to perfect. – R.Z.