Thursday, January 26, 2017

But on the plus side, Spring Training is around the corner

In these dark times known as "The Giants didn't make the Super Bowl," I have little to keep myself hopeful. This is particularly resonant as the Devils and Knicks both appear to be in the midst of middling seasons, the weather outside is gray and in the awful temperature range where it is too cold to be pleasant and too warm for the rain to turn into snow and I continue to cope with the fact that my country is now being led down the sewer drain by an incoherent rambling tangerine who never has his tie at the proper length.

So what am I to do? In a dramatic shift from, pretty much everything I know to be good and true, Spring Training is just 17 days away in Port St. Lucie. I know, I know. The Mets are my salvation? What kind of world am I living in? And yet the Amazins are coming off consecutive postseason appearances for just the second time in their history with unfinished business remaining on the docket.

The Mets have not won the World Series in 31 years, which is the vast majority of my life, but somehow that doesn't seem quite so interminable now. After all, if the greatest championship drought in sports history can fall, surely one not even a third as long is peanuts. The Mets managed to reach the playoffs last year despite losing three members of the starting rotation and half the opening day lineup. With a healthy roster in tow, what could they accomplish? The answer is probably "inevitable disappointment," but at least let that slow-burning pain unfold gradually like it's supposed to. I'll figure it out.

Meanwhile, there's even more hope across the Atlantic, as Southampton FC, enduring something of a frustrating League campaign of its own, completed an unlikely sweep of Liverpool by an aggregate 2-nil score in the English Football League Cup semifinals yesterday, earning them a trip to Wembley for the Feb. 26 Final and me many curious looks when I jumped up and pumped my fist after Shane Long's late goal sealed the win. This is just Southampton's fourth berth in a final of one of England's two major Cup competitions and its first appearance in the final of the League Cup since 1979. The Saints' last appearance in any major cup final was in the 2003 F.A. Cup Final, which happened during my first year following the team, prompting me to think, "Oh, man, this is going to happen all the time!" Southampton's only win in a major cup competition was in the 1976 F.A. Cup, still considered the greatest achievement in the club's history.

Friday, January 6, 2017

When your family creates a Giant problem

Football is family. Surely you've heard that. It's all the rage as the NFL would like you to know. After all, the league has been beating that drum for about two years now, and despite some noteworthy dissent, I'm not really going to argue all that much. After all, I was an unrecognizably sports-free child until I stumbled upon my father watching a Browns-Broncos game on Monday Night Football in 1990. Even then I wasn't won over until I saw the end of the Leon Lett Game when Pete Stoyanovich lifted the Dolphins over the Cowboys in a hail storm on Thanksgiving, this time with both my father and my uncle sitting nearby. Outside of my father, however, my immediate family tends to be somewhat oblivious to the goings-on of the NFL unless the Super Bowl is around the corner or the Giants happen to be playing particularly well.

The exception to this may be my sister, whom I visited in London this past October when I saw the Giants play the Rams at Twickenham Stadium back in a world where we still thought the American people actually had the good sense not to elect a thin-skinned narcissist to the White House. What a special time it was. But I think my sister would be the first to admit that she is, perhaps, not the biggest football fan I know or even in her own home. I did attend the game with her husband, after all.

I have, of course, sought to change this with the next generation, and that includes my oldest nephew, whom I have showered with an overabundance of paraphernalia in an attempt to brainwash him to root for the same teams as me. Apparently he is quite fond of his Giants stuffed football that plays noises when it feels impact, all of which signals some impressive progress considering I think my brother and his wife find football to be (not without some cause, it should be said) a morally bankrupt enterprise.

They are entitled to their opinion of course, but my nephew's interest is of great importance this week because for the first time in five years, which is to say, the first time in his entire life, which at the moment has lasted three years and six days, the New York Football Giants will be playing a playoff game this Sunday.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

David Kalan as it happened! 2016 edition

Look. I get it. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to notice that it's been a while since I've written here. I have been neglectful -- and even moreso than usual. It has been nearly two months since I last bothered to scribble my thoughts, an unfortunate consequence of life getting in the way. Work, travel and the progressive onset of aging have gotten in the way, which is a shame considering it's not as if nothing has happened.

In the past two months since I last wrote, the Chicago Cubs ended the drought of all droughts, the Kremlin appointed a demagogue-ic narcissistic manbaby to be President of the United States, the Mets locked in Yoenis Cespedes for the 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 World Series championship teams and, perhaps most notably, I went to Cleveland with my pal Mike to see the Cavaliers and Browns, making what was my only trip for a new sports team this year, and doing the one thing this blog was supposed to track.

To say I have dropped the ball would be kind.

But that's ok. Much like the rest of us, 2017 has provided an opportunity to turn a new leaf. Of course, I began this new year by dropping my iPhone on concrete and cracking the screen, but one imagines it can only improve from here, right? Right.

I am pretty optimistic for 2017. I have reached that point in life where formative changes can happen on a nearly daily basis. Friends are getting married with frequency, others are having their first children and I, too, am moving toward those grownup milestones by possibly moving out of an apartment I've shared with two roommates for nine years at the young age of 31. Much lays ahead of me. But that's not why we're here, right? We're looking at what lays behind me, even with a year considerably less busy in the sports world for me, but plenty busy nonetheless.

Here is my 2016 in review. Hopefully my next post isn't 2017 in review, but at the pace I've established, it's possible.