Play it again: The Sports YouTube Hall of Fame (part one)
College Contributor Network
I missed it. That might be the biggest fear of every sports fan -- not being there. Missing that big shot, that big save, that big comeback, that big win, that Moment with a capital M. Every fan with a little self-respect wants to kick back at the end of the day, sip their beer with their fellow supporters, and say that they remembered each Moment.
Back in the day, this might not have been a problem. Back in the day, you still calculated all your statistics from the newspaper, and in the DVR-less, Internet-less world, there was no shame in not being able to make it to the television or to your seats for every game. Saying "I was there" was a little bonus on top of your overall fan experience. Now, if you can't say "I was there," it's almost shameful.
That is why YouTube deserves vast recognition in the sports world. This is as close as we have right now to a sports time machine, a limitless video camera, a boundless highlight reel. YouTube might be the most important thing in sports media since instant replay, simply because it never lets us miss anything. Want to see all 81 points in Kobe's 81-point game? YouTube has that (Did you know he only had 26 at half?!) Want to see a gym-clearing crossover? YouTube has that. Want to have a good man-cry and watch the Miracle on Ice again? YouTube has that too.
Yet, even with all of this content, there are certainly some things we are going to go back and YouTube more than other things -- why? What makes something YouTube-able? Well, looking at general YouTube trends, we see that the most popular stuff either carries a big name (the new Star Wars trailer, as of this writing, has over 46 million views), has a baiting title, or is genuinely phenomenal (both "Greatest freakout ever" and "Trick Shot Basketball" fall into this category, although for vastly different reasons). However, sports clips on YouTube fall under simpler criteria. It has to be different, and it has to be, well, awesome.
This is what the selection committee (that is to say, me) looks at for the Sports YouTube Hall of Fame. Who are the most YouTube-able athletes in sports? Who gives us not mere performances, but downright spectacles in their realm of competition? Who made our jaws drop and our fingers click the replay button? Who transcended pure ability and entered the world of entertainment? The Sports YouTube Hall of Fame looks to honor that.
The criteria for inductees:
The Internet is one big click-competition, and if you do not stand out as an athlete, you are going to be buried amid all the gifs and Vines and clips and bytes. Athletes that want to enter the Hall need to set themselves apart from the rest of the pack. To do that, they need to meet the Standards of the Hall:
We demand style points:
Fundamentals have no place in the YouTube Hall of Fame. Guys like Derek Jeter, Tim Duncan, LeBron James (oh, shush -- before we even talk about this guy in the Hall, we need a dunk contest) and Peyton Manning are all extraordinary all-time talents, and they might wow us, but they never surprise us.
You could be the GOAT, but you need a little extra something to be in the Sports YouTube Hall of Fame. You need flair, unpredictability, spontaneity, riskiness -- we want to see you take a routine fast break or halfback dive and turn it into something fun. I'm tired of LeBron's powerful tomahawks -- gimme a 720 over that any day. You know what's more exciting than a back averaging 4.5 yards a carry? The Beast Quake, that's what. Those who enter the Hall need some flavor.
There has to be spiral potential:
Writing this article has been exhausting. I've probably spent three hours looking at YouTube already and we're only 700 words in. That means our inductees are doing their jobs, because unlike the case of Beast Mode above, you need to be more than a one-and-done in the highlight world. We need to see Top Play compilations. We need insane single-game packages. We need hilarious interviews and entertaining fan tributes.
The committee needs to see a healthy amount of content in that "Suggested Videos" sidebar. We need to easily lose 30 or 40 minutes watching you break people's ankles or scramble for first downs or leave opponents in the dust. If I YouTube you once, I want to snap out of it 45 minutes later and think, "What's that smell? Oh yeah, that's the hot dog I left on the stove. I was too busy watching the 'Best Pool Shot Ever' to notice that it lit on fire."
Pre-2005 athletes are still eligible:
YouTube may have been launched less than ten years ago (!), but its archive goes back decades. Athletes before the YouTube era have routinely made their presence known on the website, and we need to respect the greats.
You're inducted when you're ready:
Athletes can be active or retired to enter the Hall. All you need is a solid YouTube resume and approval by the committee. I could care less if you only had a few years of relevancy and were plagues by injuries in the back half of your career; if those few years were entertaining as hell and gave me some solid clips, you have a chance at induction. If you blasted your way through the college level and put out a stellar YouTube season your rookie year, there is nothing stopping you from entering the Hall before your sophomore effort. When you're ready. That's it.
Bias toward certain sports exist; deal with it:
Sorry, golf fans. Your sport sucks on YouTube. When your realm of athleticism doesn't even involve running or jumping, you are going to have a really hard time making it into the YouTube Hall of Fame. Same goes for auto racing and baseball (although, the latter might have a rep after all). I don't care how much of a phenom Mike Trout is -- the committee says he plays a boring game. Would you rather see Trout catch a fly ball, or Anderson Silva knock some dude out with a reverse elbow in 13 seconds? Case closed.
Of course, the next step is to arbitrarily choose some inductees to make up our very own inaugural class into the Sports YouTube Hall of Fame, so that is what we are going to do. Does anyone in the MLB stand a chance? How many broken arms will we see? Is there enough room for superstars of today and yesterday? All those questions will be answered in part two!
Tyler Daswick is a junior at Northwestern University. He is a huge fan of the Green Bay Packers, Indiana Jones, and writing stories about cowboys and banditos. Follow him on Twitter: @AccordingtoDazz