Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Workhorse Award: Chase Anastasio

I was watching Nevin O'Donnell's 2005 Highlight Video (go ahead and click and watch the whole thing again. I'll wait. Are you back? Allright), as is my wont during these football-starved times. After getting a buzz from this rock & roll-fueled injection of last year's most most incredible plays, I suddenly came to the realization as to what my favorite play of the 2005 season was. Earlier, the fellas at BGS put together a top ten list of clips, and while pretty solid, I was distraught to see that the ass-kickingest play of the year didn't make the cut (it's buried down in the honorable mentions).

I'm speaking, of course, of Tom Zbikowski's madcap, rumbling, get-out-of-my-fucking-way punt return for a touchdown in the first half of the USC game. Now, I've been attending amateur and professional sporting events for nearly my entire life, and I've seen my fair share of ridiculously awesome plays, but nothing can compare to the noise and unfettered jubilation that came after Zibby's return. I can't really explain it if you weren't there, but it felt like hell itself had rend itself open and ignited the stadium in a fiery inferno. In an effort to hug everyone in the section, I took a semi-drunken tumble down a flight of stairs in the aisle. It was insanity.

But watching Nevin's video, I saw something phenomenal which had evaded my detection in the chaos that ensued. Lost in the shuffle of Zbikowski's superhuman efforts was an earth-shattering block by the unheralded special teams workhorse Chase Anastasio. As Zbikowski plowed through the second layer of USC defenders, Anastasio opened up an entire side of the field with a blindside decleating of an oversized USC tackler, paving the way for Zibby's run.

One of the cornerstones of The House Rock Built is to give credit to the unheralded little guy whose gutty and self-sacrificing achievements often get overshadowed by the razzle-dazzle of the main attraction. So here's a salute to you, Chase Anastasio.