2011 regional sports: Roy left us cheering and crying

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

Published:

 

A lot of things happened with the Portland Trail Blazers in 2011. Brandon Roy, though, dominated the discussion.

He began the calendar year hurt, with no idea what the future would hold for him. He gave us the greatest postseason comeback in Blazer history. Then he ended the calendar year with a shocking announcement: retiring at the age 27 because of those knees that betrayed him.

He tops our list for the top 5 sports stories from the region.

1 ROY stands for Rally of the Year

“The Trail Blazers put destiny on their payroll Saturday and gave fate a generous tip. Then, they watched (Brandon) Roy score 18 points in the fourth quarter on the way to the biggest comeback in Portland’s postseason history.”

— Published April 24

From all NBA fans, thanks for the memories, Brandon.

2 Soccer City, USA

“The dreams of so many area soccer fans were realized on Thursday in downtown Portland.”

— Published April 15

The Portland Timbers won their home opener in the first season as a Major League Soccer franchise, and this region’s love for soccer became a national story.

3 Who Dat? Dat’s the Seahawks!

“Those labels stuck on the seven-win Seattle Seahawks — jokes, lightweights, laughingstocks — no longer fit. Who Dat moving on in the NFC playoffs? It’s the Seahawks.”

— Published Jan. 9

Not only did the Seahawks win the NFC West with a losing record, then they stunned the Saints in the playoffs.

4 Ducks lose in BCS Championship game

“Nicknamed the blur offense, Oregon’s spread-option ran right into a speed trap named Auburn.”

— Published Jan. 11 after Oregon lost to Auburn 22-19

The Ducks’ magical season came up a win short of a national title, but Oregon became the first team not named Southern California from the conference to play for the BCS title.

5 WSU football makes a change

“In spending an unprecedented $2 million a year to hire Mike Leach, Washington State is sending a message to its Pac-12 rivals: You won’t have the Cougars to kick around much longer.”

— Published Dec. 2

Paul Wulff was let go after going 9-40 in four years as WSU’s head coach. In came Mike Leach, a national name, promising better things to come in 2012 and beyond.