In a couple of nights, we'll be saying good bye to the year 2014. But even though the countdown right now still has days and hours, rather than mere seconds, a look back reveals some things that aren't going to missed, and others that are. They say that life has its up and downs, and for every yin, there's a yang. The past 365 days or so seem to have been a good example of that.
Globally, gas prices are down and the economy seems to be good, but terrorism abroad and racial unrest at home have been a big part of the year. The year even ends with all of that nonsense over The Interview. I still haven't heard if the movie is any good, but I doubt it. Personally, my year was pretty decent financially and I spent my 50th birthday crossing Punxsutawney Phil and his western Pennsylvania hamlet off my bucket list, but my mom fell out of bed and wound up in the hospital, and had to stay in a physical therapy facility for seven weeks. In the entertainment world, one beloved figure is now being called a rapist for something that allegedly happened 30 years ago, and another who was probably the silliest man on Earth, killed himself, reportedly after learning he had a debilitating disease. Even in the sports world, the Dodgers nearly had the best record in the National League, but the Giants won the World Series.
There's more. The Affordable Care Act went into effect, and more states recognize gay marriage. Many people criticize both issues, but they combined to save a friend's life. Now being able to get health care, and be put on her partner's plan, she was able to go to the doctor. She was diagnosed with cancer. She's done with chemo now and things seem better, but not having insurance for much longer would have killed her. She's 47.
In a 48-hour period in October, an unmanned NASA rocket exploded during launch off the coast of Virginia. No one was hurt. Two days later in the backyard of my home town, a test of Space Ship Two saw a crash and a pilot killed. Sometimes instead of good and bad and up and down, things go from bad to worse.
The sports world is supposed to be the lighter side, but the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers said racist things about Magic Johnson and was forced to step down. Pro football saw several players involved in domestic violence allegations, but one was caught on tape punching his now-wife in an elevator. A San Francisco 49er got to play after he was arrested for domestic violence, but ended up doing it again and got released. A prominent running back did was his parents did to him—hitting his child with a tree branch. He did not play this year.
On the field, there was some good stuff. Florida State defeated Auburn 34-31 in the final college football championship of the BCS era. The four-team playoff is issued in now, beginning with the Rose Bowl on Thursday. The Super Bowl was just outside New York City, but it featured two west coast teams. Seattle beat Denver badly as I watched from my hotel room in Pennsylvania—the first time the big game has ever been played on my birthday. There was the Sochi Olympics. Team USA did not win a hockey medal but beat the Russians in a shootout. We also got to root for Nevada City resident Evan Strong in the Paralympic Games. He won Gold in Snowboard Cross, and I stayed up until like 3am to watch it live online. Connecticut beat Kentucky to win the NCAA Basketball Tournament, the Dodgers opened the Major League Baseball season in Australia, and baseball also began using instant replay for the first time. And although hockey is a winter sport, the championship is in June, and the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup. The San Antonio Spurs won the NBA title, but I didn't watch, and am taking a two-year break from caring about it.
In local sports, the Marysville Gold Sox had their best season ever statistically, going 40-7. Nevada Union High School's football team was 3-7, but that's three wins more than they had last year. I also got to broadcast a rainy, muddy, Bear River 7-6 Halloween Night win over Center High, and the Bruins went on to win the Sac Joaquin Section Division V title. NU's basketball teams were a repeat of last year. The girls lost early in the playoffs, and the boys failed to qualify.
Other stuff? I am a fan of awards shows, and at least all the hosts were good. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will emcee the Golden Globes for the third straight year in a couple of weeks. Ellen Degeneres hosted the Oscars, and Seth Meyers guided us through the Emmys, and on a Monday night for the first time. 2014 was the fiftieth anniversary of the Beatles coming to the United States for the first time—exactly one week after I was born. I never got to see them in concert, but I did see Arlo Guthrie in Grass Valley. The concert was about 24 hours after I had a flat tire and my computer crashed at work, destroying all my data that was stored on it. I didn't know it on that April day, but that would be a perfect example of a day in the life of 2014. Happy New Year, and let's hope 2015 is better, and isn't as strange.
Note: I wrote this last year, but with this column, I have now completed four straight years without missing a Monday. That's 209 straight weeks that I have written here. This started as a New Year's resolution in 2011, but that was only supposed to be for one year. I am still uncertain if I will continue to post something every week, but admittedly, the streak of not missing a week has kept me going. Four years is a long time to do anything, but we'll see.