To make the list below, the tears must be those of victory, not of defeat. They may well contain some larger pathos (see Michael Jordan in 1991) but the overriding emotion is that of celebration.
So here they are . . . my Top Five Tears Of Joy moments in sports:
5. Michael Jordan wins 1991 NBA title. All watching knew that Jordan’s tears — and the ferocity with which he held on to the trophy — had as much to do with losing his father as with winning it all.
4. Andre Agassi wins 1999 French Open. He’d been on top in 1994. He’d been on the bottom — and, we later found on, on meth — in 1997. These are the tears of redemption, gratitude, and awe.
3. Bubba Watson wins 2012 Master’s. How can you not love this?
2. Dick Vermeil tells Kurt Warner he loves him. Too bad there aren’t more Vermeil clips available. If there were, he could have tear-filled list all to himself.
1. Roger Federer’s first Wimbledon 2003. Who knew there would be (at least) five more? The tears flow in full about 2:00 minutes in to this clip.