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Sports have functionally become the mechanism that unites communities—providing those facing adversity with a brief amount of respite. In 2013, this was proven with moments that gave purpose to an otherwise questionable necessity of spectator sports.

As a part of the Yearbook13 event, RSVLTS has compiled a list of the moments in 2013 athletics that transcend stats—giving athletics an intangible relevance in American society.

10. Peyton Manning Returns to Indianapolis

In 2012, there was a tear-filled divorce between The Indianapolis Colts and arguably the best-spent first overall pick in NFL history, Peyton Manning. In 2013, Peyton Manning returned to Lucas Oil Stadium—commonly referred to as the “House that Peyton Built”.

What resulted when Manning took the field was as rightful standing ovation coupled with a nostalgic video that took the Colts’ faithful back to yesteryear.

9. Blackhawks’ Open Letter to Boston

In a Stanley Cup Final that faced the Bruins against the Blackhawks, the latter emerged as the victorious party. And, such wasn’t difficult to predict; the Blackhawks were the best team throughout the 2013 NHL Season.

But, this didn’t stop the Blackhawks from writing an incredibly classy letter to the city of Boston—saluting Beantown for its competitive spirit and its resilience in the face of recent tragedy.

8. Todd Helton’s Final Home Run

There were many notable retirements in 2013. But, in Colorado, none were more significant than Todd Helton’s. Announcing his retirement, Helton paid homage to his Mile High following with a proper Home Run sendoff.

7. D.J Hayden’s Draft Story

Given the lack of talent at the skill positions in the 2013 NFL Draft, there wasn’t as much of an interest than previous years. However, one of the most notable Draft stories was D.J Hayden’s experience with a serious heart injury—one with a very high rate of mortality.

Surviving the experience, Hayden was a first round pick with the Raiders.

6. Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte Take Mariano Rivera Off the Mound

With two decades of work, Mariano Rivera will easily be remembered as the best relief pitcher—let alone closer—to ever step onto a mound. But, age takes even the best athletes—making them fatigued and ready to move onto new chapters in life.

This happened with Rivera. And, in the final home game of the Yankees otherwise forgettable 2013 MLB Season, Rivera’s fellow pinstripe mainstays Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte helped him off the mound—a teary moment that will go down in the lore of the Bronx Baseball Team.

5. Boston Rallies Around Its Teams

New England’s central metropolitan hub was left in a state of disarray after a harrowing display of violence during the Boston Marathon. Leaving participants dead, injured, and traumatized; the city’s teams responded with countless pregame ceremonies honoring the city’s first responders and victims.

4. Kevin Lee Becomes a Member of Seahawks

The Make a Wish Foundation is one that gives the physically ailing youth of America a small amount of mental alleviation from their ordeal. In this case, Kevin Lee—a 12 year old from Michigan—chose to meet the Russell Wilson and the rest of Seattle’s self-proclaimed “Legion of Boom”.

3. Eduardo Martinez Wishes For Patriots

Another Make a Wish foundation story, Eduardo Martinez wanted to meet his favorite team—the New England Patriots. Attending their practice, the 18 year old who is plagued with pulmonary hypertension got to score an honorary touchdown during a scrimmage against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

2. Steve Gleason Leads “Who Dat” Chant

Saints nation will forever remember Steve Gleason as the player featured on the famous “Rebirth” statue—the immortalization of the blocked punt that occurred during the reopening of the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina.

Gleason, now stricken with Lou Gehrig’s disease, led the “Who Dat?” chant at the beginning of the Saints’ 2013 NFL Season while accompanied by Sean Payton.

1. Jack Hoffman Scores Touchdown for Nebraska

A seven year old who was battling cancer, the young Jack Hoffman received an entire football team’s worth of support when he scored a touchdown for the Nebraska Cornhuskers during their annual spring game.

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