Happy Birthday

Yesterday was this blog’s very first birthday.  It was an amazing trip around the sun to take with all of you and I look forward to many more.

We all remember different things about this past year, but this is what stands out for me:

I remember DVR-ing the World Cup, watching it before I left for work.  I remember being at a bar in North Beach, breaking down emotionally after the USA loss and the nostalgia of being back in my old neighborhood after avoiding it for so long after I broke up with my ex.  I remember thinking how alone I felt that afternoon, how defeated.  But then I crossed the bay and came home to my sunny neighborhood and my loving dog, and remembered thinking that I was pretty lucky after all.

I remember when the Giants won the world series.  I remember being at a bar in Oakland with some of my Giants fan friends.  I remember thinking that even though I wasn’t a Giants fan, this was a once in a lifetime experience, to live here, to see it and have it happen all around you, and for that, I was grateful.  My friend Sarah was almost unable to scream or shout after that very last at bat, completely in shock of the reality of it all.  I remember videotaping the last at bat, but not the TV.  I taped the reactions of my friends, true Giants fans, finally seeing their dreams realized, because THAT is what I wanted to remember from that night.  I don’t even recall who the last batter was.  I don’t remember the score, but I remember the reaction from the fans and the city, and it’s something I never want to forget.

I remember that this year, as every year, athletes were turned into villains: Lebron’s TV special, his announcing that he was going to the Heat.  I remember thinking, I really don’t like this guy, but what, was he really supposed to stay in Cleveland forever?  Brett Favre and his pictures…I remember how very disappointed I was in my long time childhood hero but how everyone makes mistakes.  Michael Vick, having done his time, still taking punishment and criticism, had to prove himself on the field as well as off to get the respect that he deserves.  I remember the conflicts I had, agreeing with mainstream media about these figures, and how I found the confidence to speak out against the popular view.

I remember when Blame beat Zenyatta at Churchill Downs.  I remember standing up on my sofa, screaming at the TV as she came from behind and almost caught the leader.  I remember thinking how sad it must be, to fall short after such an amazing career.  But then I remember thinking that winning isn’t everything.  Everyone loved Zenyatta, winner or not—how achievements are great, but in the end, there are probably greater things to be proud of in life than your record.

I remember watching the long-awaited rematch between the Eagles and the Redskins.  I remember being at the bar with my friend Megan, watching the Redskins get murdered in one of the worst losses in team history.  I remember thinking, at least I’m here among friends.

And lastly, I remember missing almost all of March Madness this year—something I have not done in over a decade.  I remember being at my friend Erin’s bachelorette party during the final weekend of tourney play, and missing every single game.  But most of all, I remember not caring.  I remember thinking that sports are a huge part of my life, but in the end, they aren’t going to hug you when you’re sad.  They aren’t going to congratulate you on a job well done.  They aren’t going to loan you a dollar when you’re short on bus fare.  And they aren’t going share in the big and little things in life with you.  And suddenly, missing a couple games wasn’t the end of the world, and I felt like I grew up a little bit that weekend.

I hope that the next 365 days were just as wonderful as the first, and that it brings ups and downs and sadness and joy and stress and relief—in sports, as in life, I welcome the roller-coaster.

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