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Bests and worsts of 2005

WORST HEADACHE: An unidentified man gets struck in the head by a shot put during warmups at the US Track and Field Championships in Carson, Calif.

BEST EFFORT BY A SNOW MAN: Bode Miller loses a ski, but finishes the run during the World Championships in Italy. He finished last in the downhill and was unable to defend his title in the combined.

BEST EFFORT BY A SNOW WOMAN: Shalane Flanagan, a two-time NCAA champ from Marblehead, successfully defends her title in the women’s 4-kilometer at the US Cross-Country Championships.

BEST START BY A NOTORIOUS SLOW-STARTER: Pedro Martinez, who rarely showed up on time for spring training with the Red Sox, arrives 10 days earlier than expected to begin his new career with the Mets.

BEST USE OF AN OLD SOCK: Curt Schilling donates his blood-stained sock from Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

WORST NEWS IN THE AFTERMATH OF GOOD NEWS: Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi is hospitalized to determine the cause of headaches and the news is stunning — a stroke.

BEST WAY TO UNWIND AFTER WINNING A THIRD SUPER BOWL: Coach Bill Belichick accepts an invitation to play in the AT & T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, just four days after his Patriots beat the Eagles in the Super Bowl.

WORST WAY TO UNWIND AFTER WINNING A THIRD SUPER BOWL: Tom Brady has to turn down his invite into the AT & T — because he got selected for the Pro Bowl.

WORST RESUME BY A PROSPECTIVE NFL OWNER: Reggie Fowler claims he played in the NFL and CFL and in the Little League World Series as an 11-year-old. Research by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune determined that Fowler never made it out of training camp with any NFL team and that he never appeared on a LLWS roster. Fowler failed in his bid to buy the Minnesota Vikings.

WORST MYTH: ‘‘It never rains in Southern California.’’ Tell that to competitors in the Nissan Open in Los Angeles, as they could only play 36 holes after downpours for several days.

WORST CHEERLEADERS: Angela Keathley and Renee Thomas of the Carolina Panthers’ unit are arrested in a Tampa nightclub and accused of having sex in the ladies’ room.

WORST FAN (SOCCER): AC Milan goalkeeper Dida is struck in the shoulder by a flare shot out of the stands during a European Champions League quarterfinal against Internazionale in Milan. The game is halted with 15 minutes to play and Milan leading, 1-0.

WORST FAN (TENNIS): William Lepeska admits that he swam across Biscayne Bay in the nude in an attempt to get into Anna Kournikova’s estate. He was arrested when he climbed onto the pool deck at the wrong house and kept yelling, ‘‘Save me, Anna. Save me, Anna.’’

WORST FAN (BASEBALL): Scott Harper, 18, leaps 40 feet from the upper deck into the netting behind home plate during the White Sox-Yankees game in Yankee Stadium.

WORST FAN (FOOTBALL): Greg Gall runs onto the field at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati and when the whistle stops play, he goes out and steals the football out of Brett Favre’s hand.

WORST COACH (HIGH SCHOOL DIVISION): Paul Bryan, an assistant coach for 23 years, is caught on videotape moving a down marker to assure his San Pedro

High School team a first down, which helps set up the winning touchdown in a California playoff game. Bryan is banned from coaching for life by California officials.

WORST COACH (COLLEGE DIVISION): Temple basketball icon John Chaney orders Nehemiah Ingram into a game to purposely foul John Bryant of St. Joseph’s. When Bryant is injured and forced to miss some games, a controversy erupts and Chaney responds with a self-imposed suspension.

BEST GOLF STORY: Bart Bryant rejuvenates his pro career at age 42 and wins the Tour Championship and $3.2 million.

WORST GOLF STORY: Michelle Wie is disqualified from her pro debut because a sportswriter raises the possibility that she made a bad drop the day before.

BEST EXAMPLE OF PURE PETTINESS: Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese presents the University of Connecticut with the league’s championship trophy, but he doesn’t do the same to Boston College, which tied the Huskies for the top spot. Then again, it’s BC that is leaving the Big East, so the commissioner will show them.

BEST FINANCIAL SCORE BY A COACH: Former University of Washington coach Rick Neuheisel is awarded a $4.5 million judgment in suits against the college and the NCAA.

WORST FINANCIAL HIT FOR A FORMER ALL-PRO: Bill Romanowski is ordered to pay former teammate Marcus Williams $340,000 for injuries sustained in a fight during a practice with the Raiders in 2003.

WORST EFFORT BY A CHAMP: After securing a share of the conference title, Boston College is stunned by West Virginia, 78-72, in the first round of the Big East Tournament.

BEST NIGHT FOR GREEN OVER ORANGE: Vermont stuns Syracuse, 60-57, in the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

BEST VICTORY SALUTE: Carl Edwards shows off an impressive backflip after each of his NASCAR triumphs.

BEST HO-HUM NEWS: Catholic Memorial wins the Super 8 title and is the class of EMass school hockey for a 16th time.

WORST JOB BY THE COMPETITION AT A MAJOR: Annika Sorenstam wins the Kraft Nabisco Championship by eight shots.

BEST TRIP OVERSEAS: Brad Faxon is one of only two Americans to fly to Scotland to take part in local qualifying for the British Open. He earned one of the coveted spots, then goes on to finish T-23.

WORST ONGOING STORY: The BCS. Please. Enough. No more. In January, the Globe and other media outlets proclaim it a failure. In December, the BCS is the best thing since strawberries dipped in chocolate. Go figure.

BEST ADDITION TO THE SPORTS SCENE: Boston University opens Agganis Arena.

WORST SLIGHT BY THE BEST ADDITION TO THE SPORTS SCENE: The women’s hockey team at BU is relegated to old Brown Arena and not invited to play in Agganis.

WORST KICK: San Diego’s Nate Kaeding shanks a 39-yard field goal try in overtime and the Jets oust the Chargers in an AFC wild-card game when Doug Brien converts a 28-yarder minutes later.

BEST SETUP FOR DISAPPOINTMENT: ‘‘If we don’t win it all, it will be

disappointing,’’ said Illinois guard Deron Williams. We imagine he was disappointed, because North Carolina beat the Illini in the NCAA men’s basketball final.

BEST OPENING: The World Series champion Red Sox start the season with a game against the Yankees.

WORST OPENING: Hours before the Devil Rays were to begin their season, outfielder Alex Sanchez is suspended 10 days for violating baseball’s new drug policy.

BEST FINISH: Jack Nicklaus, 65, birdies the par-4 18th at St. Andrews, the last hole he’ll ever play in a major golf championship.

WORST FINISH: The Celtics win Game 1 against the Pacers, lose three of the next five games, triumph in a crucial Game 6, then throw in a stinker to lose Game 7 at home. It is an ugly ending and the series features two games in which Celtic stars get ejected — Antoine Walker in Game 2, Paul Pierce in Game 6.

BEST SOFT HEARTS BY MEN OF HARD FISTS: An organization of veteran boxers and friends pay to have the remains of famed welterweight champion Kid Gavilan moved from a common plot in a Miami cemetery to a better place of rest where he is afforded a headstone paid for by Mike Tyson.

WORST START FOR A MANAGER: Terry Francona complains of chest pains and is forced to miss the Red Sox’ third game of the season.

BEST MOVE BY A SPECIAL TEAMS GUY: The Patriots’ Larry Izzo travels to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kuwait to visit US troops as part of a USO mission.

BEST PRACTICE ROUTINE: Amateur Austin Eaton of New Hampshire plays a practice round with Tiger Woods in preparation for the Masters.

WORST SHOT BY THE BEST PLAYER: Tiger Woods’s putt for birdie from the back of the 13th green in Round 1 of the Masters rolled long, down a slope, and into Rae’s Creek. It led to a bogey.

BEST DEFENSE ON WATER: Harvard’s heavyweight rowers take a third consecutive Eastern Sprints title.

BEST DEFENSE ON ICE: Denver wins its second straight NCAA hockey championship, beating North Dakota, 4-1.

BEST DEFENSE ON RED CLAY: Amelie Mauresmo rallies to win her second straight Italian Open women’s tennis title.

BEST DEFENSE WITH STICKS IN HAND: Salisbury edges Middlebury, 11-10, to complete a 20-0 season and win its third straight NCAA Division 3 men’s lacrosse championship.

BEST RALLY: Tiger Woods re-starts his third round four shots behind Chris DiMarco, but with just seven swings and in just 31 minutes, he makes three straight birdies and goes one shot in front en route to his fourth Masters win.

BEST SURPRISE APPEARANCE (SOLO ACTS): Derek Lowe, now with the Dodgers, appears with his former teammates during the Red Sox’ home opener and accepts his World Series ring. Dave Roberts, now with the Padres, does the same.

BEST SURPRISE APPEARANCE (TEAM ACT): To the roars of a sellout crowd, a group of Boston sports legends — Bill Russell, Bobby Orr, Tedy Bruschi, Richard Seymour, Dom DiMaggio, Jim Lonbord, and Fred Lynn — help the Red Sox celebrate that home opener and raise the World Series banner.

BEST FEET TO STOP AN IMPRESSIVE STREAK: Hailu Negussie of Ethiopia wins the Boston Marathon, just the second time in the last 15 years that a Kenyan hasn’t won.

BEST FEET TO CONTINUE AN IMPRESSIVE STREAK: Kenyan Catherine Ndereba, 32, finishes in 2:25:13 to win her record-fourth Boston Marathon.

WORST NEWS FOR A LOCAL ATHLETE: Cyclist Tyler Hamilton of Marblehead is suspended two years by the US Anti-Doping Agency for a blood-doping violation in the fall of 2004.

BEST RESPONSE TO A TEAM MEETING: After being talked to by manager Terry Francona for lethargic play, the Red Sox beat Tampa Bay, 11-3, in a game marred by a bench-clearing brawl.

WORST BROTHER ACT: Jose and Ozzie Canseco are found guilty of assault and ordered to pay two men nearly $1 million for injuries suffered in a brawl at a Miami nightclub.

BEST SISTER ACT: Serena Williams wins the Australian Open, Venus takes Wimbledon, both of them defeating Lindsay Davenport in the finals.

BEST FATHER-SON ACT: Thomas Hearns, at 46, returns to the ring and beats a tomato can named John Long. On the same card, his son Ronald wins a Middleweight bout.

BEST COLLECTION OF ROSES: Giacomo, a stunning 50-1 shot, takes the Kentucky Derby as 5-2 favorite Bellamy Road finishes seventh.

BEST VICTORY FOR THE OLD STATE U: The Minutemen storm back to beat defending national champion — and perennial power — Syracuse, 16-15, in the first round of the NCAA Lacross Tournament.

WORST NEWS FOR ATHLETES WHO LOVE FRENCH CUISINE: In a stunning upset, London is awarded the 2012 Summer Olympics over Paris.

BEST YOUNG ADDITION TO THE PRO SPORTS SCENE: Pittsburgh Penguins rookie Sidney Crosby shows a flair for hockey that hasn’t been seen since his teammate, Mario Lemieux, stormed into view 20 years ago.

WORST TV TRADE: The NHL is kicked off of ESPN and lands on OLN.

WORST MEDICAL SECOND OPINION: The Red Sox dismiss Dr. Bill Morgan, just a few months after he was universally praised for his work with Curt Schilling during the ALCS.

BEST RETURN OF A LEGEND: Joe Paterno shows he can still coach, after all.

BEST WIN AFTER A STUMBLE: Afleet Alex overcomes a bad step at the top of the stretch and wins the Preakness Stakes, then he wins the Belmont to take two-thirds of the Triple Crown.

WORST PR MOVE OF THE YEAR: Kirk Reynolds, the PR director for the San Francisco 49ers shows a 15-minute film to team players that features racist jokes, lesbian soft-porn, and topless blondes. The film was intended to help players deal with the media.

WORST MOVE BY A PITCHER (GOLD): Kenny Rogers breaks a bone in his non-pitching hand after punching a water cooler, then he gets fined $50,000 and suspended for 20 games for pushing a TV cameraman before a game in Texas.

WORST MOVE BY A PITCHER (SILVER): Minnesota’s Terry Mulholland scratches his eye on a feather protuding from a hotel pillow, but in an act of great courage, he is able to pitch.

WORST MOVE BY A PITCHER (BRONZE): Derek Lowe sustains a cut on his right wrist after throwing a stool out of anger.

BEST YOUNG SLUGGER: Alex Rodriguez, 29, becomes the youngest player in baseball history to reach 400 career home runs.

BEST BASEBALL MATCHUP: The Red Sox for the first time ever play the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

BEST TEAM 1-2 PUNCH: Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili spur San Antonio past defending champion Detroit in Game 7 of the NBA Finals for the team’s third championship.

WORST DISAPPEARING ACT: First the MIAA unanimously votes to eliminate the Super 8 hockey tournament, then, less than a week later, the same folks vote to restore it.

BEST USE OF A HERO’S NAME: The left-field foul pole at Fenway Park is officially christened ‘‘the Fisk Pole.’’

WORST INTENT TO POKE FUN AT A HERO’S NAME: After he is accused by a woman of using the alias ‘‘Ron Mexico’’ in a relationship, Michael Vick discovers that jokesters are ordering his Falcons No. 7 jersey with the name ‘‘Mexico’’ on the back. Officials of official NFL merchandise put a halt to the orders.

WORST NEWS FOR THE BEST TENNIS TOURNAMENT: An injury forces Andre Aggasi to withdraw from Wimbledon for a second straight year.

BEST NEWS FOR THE FASHION INDUSTRY: NBA commissioner David Stern issues a dress code for players when they are off-court and out in public.

WORST NEWS FOR THE BEST TEAM: North Carolina wins the NCAA men’s basketball title, but four starters — Marvin Williams, Raymond Felton, Sean May, Rashad McCants — leave the program and get selected in the first round of the NBA draft.

BEST JUMPER: Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva establishes her 18th world record in the pole vault.

BEST NET STORY: Croatia defeats the Slovak Republic, 3-2, to win the Davis Cup.

WORST LACK OF SOCCER RESPECT: Greece delivers a shocker and wins the European championship, yet gets left out of the draw for the 2006 World Cup.

WORST LACK OF SOCCER FINISH: The New England Revolution again march into the MLS Cup final, but again come up empty.

BEST DRIVER (GOLD): Fernando Alono unseats the great Michael Schumacher to earn the Formula One championship.

BEST DRIVER (SILVER): Tony Stewart wins the Nextel Cup Championship.

BEST DRIVER (BRONZE): Greg Biffle wins six times on the NASCAR circuit.

WORST DRIVER: Kurt Busch is suspended from the Roush Racing Team after he is arrested by police in Arizona and charged with reckless driving.

BEST FAST STORY: Justin Gatlin wins both the 100- and 200-meter races at the world championships.

WORST FAST STORY: Tim Montgomery is stripped of his world record in the 100 meters and suspended for two years in yet another steroid scandal.

WORST TEETH: Mike Tyson, who is caught biting Kevin McBride’s nipple during their sad excuse of a heavyweight bout won by the unheralded Irishman.

WORST PREDICAMENT FOR A MANGER: Terry Francona bypasses his own pitcher, Matt Clement, and chooses Los Angeles’s Bartolo Colon for an All-Star berth.

BEST CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT: Major league baseball returns to Washington.

BEST STREAK BY A GROUP OF AMATEURS: Acton-Boxboro wins 52 consecutive football games before finally being stopped by Westford Thanksgiving Day.

WORST TEAM BEHAVIOR (COLLEGE DIVISION): University of Connecticut basketball players Marcus Williams and A.J. Price are accused of stealing $11,000 worth of laptops from campus dormitories.

WORST TEAM BEHAVIOR (PRO DIVISION): Minnesota Vikings, whose coach (Mike Tice) gets fined $100,000 for scalping Super Bowl tickets and whose team members organize a notorious booze cruise on which lewd sexual behavior is alleged and later confirmed.

BEST SENSE OF RELIEF: Roger Clemens comes out of the bullpen for the first time since 1984 to pitch three scoreless innings and help the Astros defeat the Braves in 18 innings, the longest postseason game in baseball history.

BEST SKATERS: Jennifer Rodriguez wins the women’s 1,000 meters, Shani Davis does likewise in the men’s competition, completing an impressive US sweep at the world speedskating championships.

BEST HONESTY: Sheryl Swoopes, the MVP of the WNBA, announces to the world that she is gay.

BEST QUINIELA FOR AN NFL OWNER: Robert Kraft not only lifts his third Vince Lombardi Trophy in four years, but also the Theodore Roosevelt Award, given to a former NCAA athlete who has gone on to make a distinguished contribution to society.

BEST CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM THAT GOT OVERLOOKED: Brown University wins the College Ultimate Frisbee Team Championship.

BEST EXAMPLE THAT THE STEROID CONTROVERSY IS EVERYWHERE: Waterford Crystal, a champion horse, fails a drug test, so show jumper Cian O’Connor is stripped of his gold medal.

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