The 2013 ESPY Awards were just recently in Los Angeles. It’s the night when sports and entertainment hook up. It was also the most inspirational night of television I have seen in a long, long time.

You know it’s going to be an amazing show when you get goose bumps from a highlight package in the pre-show. That is exactly what happened when I watched the Images of the Year Tribute set to the tune of Fallout Boys’ My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark-which by the way, I would’ve liked to have been in the room during the discussion about naming that song–“let’s call it Light Em Up, no let’s go with My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark-it just rolls off the tongue. Done.” Anyway, the video was amazing, chock-full of the most exciting, fun and memorable moments from the past sports year. Moments that are so good they rival any Hollywood movie because you just can’t script that shit. Hannah Storm echoed my sentiments exactly when she said, “And that is why we love sports so much.”


From that moment on, we were off to the races. There were so many inspirational moments. In true TomGirl fashion I’d like to breakdown the show and highlight some of my favorite moments.

Let’s start with the pre-show red carpet because we TomGirls love our fashion. My nominees for best dressed are:

Brandon Marshall (top-right): The combination of burgundy velvet on a Chicago Bear just makes me want to give him a great big bear hug.
Colin Kaepernick (bottom-right): With the red blazer, blue pants, white shirt topped off with the blue pocket square, he just gives me hope—hope that maybe he will leave San Francisco, pick up a basketball and join my Clippers since he seems to be a fan of the color palette.
Dwayne Wade (left): The outfit was classic except for his choice of accessories. The only accessory he needed was his smokin’ hot girlfriend, Gabrielle Union. Lose the scarf and the red shoes.

Lebron James (top-left): I give it to you-the red tux was fit for a king.
Ray Allen (top-right): I loved you in He Got Game and in the blue suit with the orange tie and gingham shirt, you showed you still got game.
Samantha Ponder (bottom-left): She nailed it with a beautiful dress, beautiful hair and a great husband accessory combined with a cool sports vibe that makes me want to hear more sports news from her.
Gabby Douglas (bottom-right): She just looked like a million bucks with a million dollar smile.

And the winner is…Ray Allen. What helped seal the deal was his interview on the red carpet. I love a player that is humble and quietly tends to business but still has a fire underneath driving him. Here was Ray’s quote on the red carpet:
“I think we all have an edge. There’s some bite in all of us but I think for the most part I’m just happy to be here. Whatever my job is to do, I go out there and do my job and I make sure while I’m doing it, I treat people the right way.” He sure did his job when he hit that giant game-tying 3 against the Spurs in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

jonNow, on to the show. First, let’s start with Jon Hamm. I love me some Don Draper but it was so refreshing to see him shake the seriousness and look like a kid in a candy store. He seemed to be having a great time and truly excited to be there. My favorite part of his open was his commentary on Dwight Howard leaving the Lakers saying, “He finally found a way to help the Lakers win.”

Then, the flood of emotional, awe-inspiring moments began. If your eyes did not well up at least once during this broadcast, well then, I think you just don’t have a soul. Adrian Peterson was first up. Winning Best Comeback, Peterson overcame an ACL injury to perform better than ever, becoming the 7th running back in history to get 2000 yards. In his acceptance speech he told the audience to “Stay strong, continue to work and thrive to be great.” What more do you need?

Next came Robin Roberts being awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Hate King James all you want but I loved Lebron’s intro for her:
“When I was a kid growing up in Akron, a lot of us didn’t have fathers around the house, but man did we have strong moms showing us the way. And every night when we watched Sports Center, we had another strong woman showing us the way on something that mattered more than anything-sports. Later, I learned she was an amazing basketball player as well. Her impact on millions of little boys and girls who live and dream about sports, can’t be measured. One of the greatest abilities of a trailblazer is the ability to turn the extraordinary into the ordinary… Robin Roberts is willing to bear her soul in order to open our eyes. We are all witnesses…to be able to beat adversity the way she did is the real example of a back-to-back champion. “

And then came Robin. Her video-so moving, so powerful and her wisdom and strength so incredible. We can all learn from her words:
“I think there is a myth that people who have succeeded, they never knew fear. We all have insecurities, we all have fears but I don’t let them prevent me from going for it. I believe everything happens for a reason…we all have these bad things that happen in our lives, but the tragedy is not those things happening, the tragedy is if we don’t take the time to understand the meaning. “

Robin Roberts changed the face of sports. Robin Roberts broke down the doors for female sports broadcasters for generations to come. As her ESPN colleague Kelly Naqi said, “Her first year at ESPN, men universally said we do not want a woman telling us our sports. Robin’s second year at ESPN men said we don’t want a woman telling us our sports unless it’s Robin Roberts.” I love this quote from Robin, “when fear knocks, let faith answer the door.” So many times we let fear paralyze us. Just open the door, say hello, and welcome it.

This year’s ESPYS were personal for me because my college coach Jeff Walz was up for Best Upset for leading Louisville in one of the biggest upsets in women’s college basketball by defeating defending National Champions Baylor and ending their 32 game winning streak. He is known as one of the best strategists around and he deserves it. But, unfortunately for him, he was up against Dunk City. Who doesn’t love Dunk City? The fact that they were a #15 seed and upset #2 Georgetown is just amazing and what March Madness is all about.

I have never been more proud to be from Nebraska as I was when I watched Jack Hoffman, a 7-year-old cancer patient’s return during the Huskers’ Spring Game. Jack won the ESPY for Best Moment and his acceptance speech was well, awesome-“This is super duper awesome, thanks for the trophy. I’m glad that you are all now on Team Jack and I know with you we can’t lose.”

To finish up the incredible moments for the night, Ben Affleck presented the Jimmy V Perseverance Award to fellow Bostonians Dick and Rick Hoyt. Rick was born with cerebral palsy but that hasn’t stopped them from racing for 34 years and competing in over a thousand races together. I think they made even the pro athletes in the room feel like lazy asses. Rick’s message for us all was, “It all boils down to remembering that yes you can and never, never give up.”

In conclusion, I would like to give the TomGirl ESPY to Robin Roberts. Beautiful dress. Beautiful heart. Beautiful soul. Most inspirational person. And all of these moments above made this one of my favorite nights of television.