How Do We Describe 2018? Decide For Yourself
December 31, 2018

One more trip around the sun completed. By the time this column gets posted, it will be 2019 in California, and it's already next year now in most of the world. I've used various adjectives to describe previous years. I've decided I'm not going to do that this time.

I just re-read my synopsis of last year. I wrote that 2017 sucked. It did for me personally. Things were better for me in the most recent 365 days, but everyone still has their issues. In 2017, I complained that I had to start getting up at 4am to work the morning shift. This year I'm still doing it, but at least I got a little promotion out of the deal. The car that I bought in 2017 ran great in 2018, so no real problems there either. The Dodgers got back to the World Series, which makes the summer fun, although they came up short again, falling to the Red Sox. That's okay. I'll live.

If you ready my little blog here regularly (and many thanks again if you do), you know I like sports and to write about them. This year had the Winter Olympics in Korea, the World Cup in Russia, a 16 seed beat a one in the college basketball tournament, Roger Federer win a major tennis tournament for the 20th time, and Kobe Bryant got an Oscar.

There was a Triple Crown in horse racing, LeBron James became a Laker, a hockey team from Vegas got to the Stanley Cup final in its first year of play, and Alabama won college football's title. Again. We learned names like Shohei Ohtani and Sean Manaea from baseball, Maia and Alex Shibutani (known as the 'Shib Sibs') and Chloe Kim from the Olympics. Patrick Reed won the Masters, and I'm told even more ardent golf fans hadn't heard of him.

The weirdest thing that happened to me in 2018 was getting accused by a radio guest of making a sexually inappropriate comment. She apparently heard me wrong, but at least had the decency to confront me and discuss it in person, rather than putting out some false blast on social media. I didn't know her before, and haven't spoken to her since, but I'm convinced it was a misunderstanding. It makes me shudder, though, to think that it could have been a lot worse, and what a false accusation could have done to me and my career. It didn't, though, and everything's fine.

I suppose if that's the worst thing that happened to be in 2018, then the year really wasn't so bad. In July, though,a friend and co-worker was fired (a “cost-cutting” measure). I recently found out (and wrote December 10), that the Gold Sox have folded. Last year (2017), I had to evacuate when it was feared that Oroville Dam might break. Family and friends both had wildfires burn very close to their homes. Other fires struck Nevada County where I work, but were minor in comparison to those in Santa Rosa and Ventura. Other than days of thick smoke in Marysville, and fears of what could have been in Grass Valley, we weren't directly affected by the Camp Fire this year, which destroyed the town of Paradise. I went to school in Chico, though, and knew Paradise well. It sickens me what happened.

As all January Firsts go, it's a good time to turn the page. I'm still a little melancholy, though. My mom is 92 and her health is declining. Going home for Christmas was pretty sad. She can't do many of the things she used to anymore, and just sits in a chair all day. She can barely walk, and is also losing her eyesight, so things like going to the bathroom have become a major task.

I think (and hope) that she is going to stick around awhile, though, but we are about to lose one of her neighbors. A man whom I have known all my life just went on hospice care with lung cancer. I got to see him the day after Christmas, and he was awake and resting comfortably. He suffers from dementia now too, but asked me if I was “still up north” after I told him who I was. That made me smile, but it's likely the last time I'll ever talk to him, which doesn't get one very excited about a new year. The fact that he is surrounded by loving family is comforting, though, which is something positive to take into 2019.

As I write this, it was just about an hour-and-a-half ago that the ball dropped in Times Square. It was a rainy, chilly night, but hundreds of thousands of people still attended, and reveled in the celebration and ceremony. Many bright things could be in store. Maybe even a World Series win for the Dodgers! The Rose Bowl is tomorrow, Alabama and Clemson will play for the college football crown. Again. The Super Bowl is in a month, and Spring Training opens right after that. Our next trip around the sun begins.

I don't know what adjective to use to describe 2018. I wrote that last year sucked. Looking back at this year, at least I can say it wasn't as bad, so I guess it didn't.

Happy New Year?: If you are on the west coast, and want to watch the ball drop from Times Square live, your only real option is CNN. I miss Kathy Griffin, who was fired as co-host with Anderson Cooper a couple of years ago. I miss her only because she made Cooper so uncomfortable, it made the show interesting. Andy Cohen and Cooper are too lovey-dovey, and without Griffin it really stands out how poorly the show is produced. I know it's live, and you never know who may show up or call in, but no one ever seems to have a clue what's going on. That was true when Griffin was around, too, but it was more fun.

It didn't mean THAT much!: It's still not clear to me if it was a glitch, or by design, but all during Fox's telecast of the Rams and 49ers Sunday, the only score they ever showed at the bottom of the screen was the Chicago-Minnesota game. That game was important to the Rams because had LA lost and Chicago won, the Bears would have gotten the second seed in the NFC playoffs, and next week off. The Rams, though, took a big lead early in that game and the outcome was never really in doubt. Meanwhile, there were a total of eight games in the time slot with playoff implications, and Fox never scrolled those scores.

Hum drum playoff: I think it's fair to say that most college football fans prefer to have four teams play off foe the title than two, but Saturday's semifinals were, let's face it, boring. Clemson blasted Notre Dame 30-3, followed by Alabama's 45-34 win over Oklahoma, which wasn't really that close. The Tide led 31-10 at halftime. Clemson and Alabama were both double-digit favorites, but we expected better contests.

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