Notice I titled this “10 songs” and not “Top 10” because there can’t be an order with these classics. I was fortunate enough to live my adolescence during the 2000’s - arguably the greatest decade of music. These are some tracks that I know you can relate to so specific genres do not apply here. Some of these will take many of you back to your “first time for ____” and others may take you back to your first heart break - or what you thought was heart break.
Single Ladies - Beyonce (2008)
On the tail end of the 2000’s, Beyonce delivered a classic that arguably remains the most played on this list. Incorporating a dance with this jam too? Forget it. If this song was not played at our middle school dances or gatherings, then it wasn’t a party. I was all for watching my middle school crush wave her hand back and forth signaling me to “put a ring on it”.
I was a big Playstation 2 guy, still am. My go-to’s were Kingdom Hearts, Metal Gear Solid and various adventure games- but in 2006, I decided to diversify my video game palette. I happened to buy NFL Street 3 and Madden ’06 together and switch the disks in and out as if I was in a race against myself. Learning the different styles and strategies of the game of football quickly became my passion.
At the time I did not cheer for a particular team or even watched football. Growing up in New Jersey, I had some Eagles fans in my family but ehh. I simply did not want to become an Eagles fan because I wanted to be “that guy.”
I shuffled through different rosters. Played with certain players. I knew there had to be one I could connect with. Agent 89 was one of the top receivers in 2005-2006 so naturally his speed in both games made him a cheat code. It got to the point where I would change Smith’s route to a “Go” route (go straight) every. single. time. And once I learned about his personality … I found my guy - and my squad.
Smith was a third round pick in 2001 by Carolina and began his career as a kick return specialist. The very first time he touched the ball he returned a kick to the house in ’01. He was always told he was too small or too slow to become an elite WR in the NFL. He stands at 5’9”. As he progressed and became a starting wide receiver, he was a natural trash talker to the camera and had extremely underrated touchdown celebrations throughout his career. (wiping the bottom of the football with his towel like it was a baby / rowing the boat / “When you see this face, that means I scored.” *same game* “When you see this face AGAIN, that means I scored AGAIN.”)
In the Fall of ’06 I was in 4th grade and I wanted one thing for Christmas that year. Grandmom Jeanne came in clutch (as always) and gifted me with my first football jersey – the one with the number 89 on the front and back. I made sure I wore my Steve Smith jersey AT LEAST once a week to school – not only to show everyone I rooted for another team, but to represent the chip one man could carry on his shoulder (and I never really saw someone under 6’ ft dominate anything athletically).
I credit my passion for video games for bringing football into my life. I began to buy old Madden’s (2001 was the earliest) and memorize the Panthers roster on each game. Learning the Panthers were in the Super Bowl a few seasons prior was pretty cool but that also ignited by HATRED towards the Patriots due to our defeat in Superbowl 38.