A big part of the satisfaction we get from watching sports is about witnessing greatness, experiencing that jump to a higher place when we know we are watching something special.
Tim Howard gave that to all of us here in America on Tuesday afternoon.
In a 2-1 losing effort against Belgium, an effort that was one agonizing play away from being a United States victory, Howard had a mind-boggling 16 saves minding the U.S. net, many of them of the spectacular variety.
It was truly one of the most amazing international efforts, not just in soccer but across all sports. In fact, if you would like to relive all 16 saves, well, that's what YouTube is for, quite frankly, so here you go:
Now, the sign of a truly transcendent effort in 2014? Well the spawning of a Twitter hashtag, of course. And Howard's herculean game on Tuesday launched the genesis of one of the Internet's most inspired efforts yet -- a Photoshop orgy entitled #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave.
I created a separate column for this hashtag on my Tweetdeck, and it moved at the speed of a column on an old-school slot machine. So give yourselves a round of applause, Internet! You've knocked it out of the park with this one.
In reverse order of the degree to which Tim Howard's actually saving these things would have improved the quality of my life, here are my favorite 15 #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave tweets:
15. The severing of Luke Skywalker's right hand I was actually rooting for this. Luke was a pussy.
— ian garas (@iangaras55) July 2, 2014
I had Auburn on the money line, so I'd have actually been pissed at Howard for stopping this.
— July 4th (@mfergii16) July 2, 2014
Honestly, I've already had a vasectomy, so this one doesn't really help me very much at all.
— De la Torre (@fromdahtower) July 2, 2014
I got at least three days' worth of content from this, so Howard stopping it would not have helped me at all. This is still funny, though, for another chance to see Winston's face in this Photoshop, if for no other reason.
— Gator Nation (@ItsGreatUF) July 2, 2014
Ditto this incident on the "content" tip.
— Daniel Carbone (@bonediddly11) July 2, 2014
I was kind of hoping for Dean Ambrose making the turn. Shows how much I know, Ambrose isway
over as a babyface right now.
— THE Coester (@Random__Zero) July 3, 2014
Ned was fine, but definitely could have used Howard during the Trial By Combat episode to save Oberyn Martell.
— Arya Stark (@GoT_Arya) July 2, 2014
Adapt or die. It was probably time for Blockbuster to close up shop.
— Tim Howard Saving (@SavingTimHoward) July 2, 2014
I hate getting political, so this seems like the perfect spot to place this where I won't catch a ton of heat from Democrats and yet Republicans will know enough to give me a silent nod. Seventh is a very "neutral" spot.
— Tim Howard Can Save (@HowardCanSave) July 2, 2014
When Mickey died inRocky III
, it was sad. When Apollo died, it was infuriating. This made most people my age angrier than the actual nuclear weapons the Russians threatened us with.
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) July 2, 2014
This was ultra-sad, and led to the crazy scene where Tre air-boxes against invisible cops while wearing his clothes that were soaked in Ricky's blood. The only positive about this scene -- it led directly to Doughboy's baby face turn.
— Wale Ogunoye (@waleogunoye) July 2, 2014
I grew up a Red Sox fan, and this happened when I was 17 years old. It was traumatic enough for me to carry it around until they finally won a World Series in 2004.
— Taylor goss (@Tgoss099) July 3, 2014
To be clear, any naked chick getting eaten by a shark is ALWAYS bad. You go, Howard!
— 2014 World Cup (@TheWorIdCup) July 2, 2014
I've had way too many Saturdays affected by plays like this. Also, this was the end of one of the most improbable comebacks ever, with Denard Robinson leading Michigan 80 yards in three plays in like two seconds. Awful.
— Irish Illustrated (@NDatRivals) July 2, 2014
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Original sin. Need I say more?
— Zac Gregory (@zac_gregory) July 2, 2014