First of all, this is not meant to be mundane or cold. We’ve all shed a tear at some point, and the athletes we cheer for and (sometimes) idolize are no exception. This is a judgment-free zone.
As Tiger Woods climbed to perhaps 18th place in competition for what might be his last time at St Andrews, the 15-time major champion let his emotions wash over him. It might have been Rory McIlroy’s hat tip or the Old Course’s standing ovation or a potpourri of little memories flooding his memory bank, but Woods showed genuine emotion and inadvertently expressed how important this course had been to him over the years.
This is far from the only instance of athletes letting the waterworks go, and because we love a list almost as much as we love fine wine, we’re taking a look down memory lane and weeping softly over some of the best tear-jerking moments in sport .
Brett Farve’s (first) retirement speech
Though it’s a bit hackneyed now after retiring (and then retiring) over and over again, we can all remember Brett Favre’s first retirement speech, choking on it as he talked about it talked about what the game had meant to him. The Super Bowl quarterback’s retirement might not have been real, but the tears were there and his love of the sport was certainly evident.
Knowshon Moreno’s star-studded sobs
This is probably more known than anything as a GIF (with the g sound, not the j), but Knowshon Moreno crying during the national anthem is certainly memorable. Moreno went on to say that he was “definitely dehydrated” and that the slow-motion probably made it look worse than it was.
The Sandman gets sand in his eye
For opposing sluggers, nothing was worse than seeing Mariano Rivera saunter to the mound. Although opposing fans were happy he was making a career, no one can say it wasn’t an emotionally moving moment. With Enter Sandman as the catalyst, Mo’s final game at Yankee Stadium is sure to be a head turner.
It may not have worked out perfectly in the NFL, but Tim Tebow’s run in Florida was as good as college football gets. This is exemplified by his “Promise” speech in 2008, when Tebow broke down reflecting on his team’s loss to the Ole Miss Rebels and promising they would come back, and better than ever. The Gators won their last eight regular season games, beating Oklahoma for the BCS National Championship. So yes it worked.
Chris Bosh’s Superteam Blues
After coming together in Miami, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh unexpectedly missed out on a championship when they amazingly lost to a less talented Mavericks roster in 2011. Cameras caught an emotional Bosh walking back into the dressing room. He was unfairly ridiculed back then and then The Heat won two trophies in a row…who’s crying now?
Adam Morrison feels the March sadness
This is sure to be a game to remember as Adam Morrison and the Gonzaga Bulldogs lost a hard fought March Madness game to UCLA. It was Morrison’s last game for the team and he definitely felt it. A really great back and forth, which unfortunately had to lose a team.
Roger Federer chokes…
Roger Federer’s career, as legendary as it is in tennis, seems to be drawing to a close and it seems like he’s known it for a while. After beating Marin Čilić at the 2018 Australian Open, the Fed burst into tears as the crowd stood up.
Michael Jordan’s bittersweet victory
The man became a crying meme, but we’ll instead move on to Michael Jordan’s unforgettable Father’s Day championship in 1996. It was his first since his father’s death and it’s clear how much his father (and the moment) meant to him.
“That’s my quarterback.” There’s a generation out there that knows Tony Romo best as a commentator, but there’s another group of us that knows him as the Dallas Cowboys’ Cinderella tale that beat all odds. Terrell Owens defended his QB after a brutal playoff loss with rocking sunglasses to hide tears.
Tigers Miscellaneous open moment
We must end with this. At the 2006 Open, Tiger Woods won his first major after the death of his father and the heaviness of the moment caught up with him, sobbing into caddy Stevie Williams’ chest. Golfers will remember Tiger as one of the greatest golfers the sport has ever seen, but also as a person we saw growing up and becoming a legend right before us.