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.

-- I saw four new professional sports teams play home games, though only two (Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Browns), were in the continental U.S. Two of them (Arsenal, Manchester United) were in the UK.
-- I saw a completely new sport altogether when I watched Tyrone play Mayo and Dublin play Donegal in the 2016 All-Ireland Senior Gaelic Football quarterfinals at Croke Park.
-- I fulfilled a promise to my sister and flew out to London to see the Giants play the Rams at Twickenham Stadium, which was technically a Rams home game, though I am not counting it as it wasn't in Los Angeles.
-- I saw four sporting events in the United Kingdom and Ireland in three different sports
-- I saw professional sports teams in six new venues (Emirates Stadium, Croke Park, Old Trafford, Twickenham Stadium, Quicken Loans Arena, FirstEnergy Stadium)
-- I saw Northwestern basketball play a game at Barclays Center in Brooklyn
-- I saw Northwestern football a month later defeat Pitt in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium, which made it my first bowl game and the third different sport I've seen played at Yankee Stadium, which hopefully will host a basketball game soon so I can round out the big four.
-- I drove 12 straight hours across the midwest so I could attend said bowl game.
-- I went to my very first bull riding show, which was as American as humanly possible.
-- I saw sporting events, professional or college in 15 venues (Prudential Center, Madison Square Garden, Emirates Stadium, Kauffman Stadium, Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, AT&T Park, O.co Coliseum, MCU Park, Croke Park, Old Trafford, Twickenham Stadium, Quicken Loans Arena, FiestEnergy Stadium, Barclays Center)
-- Two of my teams made the playoffs, though one of them was ousted in the cruel mistress that is the National League Wild Card game.
-- I fulfilled my end of a bet on the 2015 World Series by flying to Kansas City for the Mets' season-opening series against the Royals with two dozen New York bagels.
-- I may or may not have seen Bruce Springsteen in concert six times for a cumulative total of roughly 24 hours.
-- I had my last day at the NHL after nine-plus years.
-- I turned 31 years old and confronted once again that I am no longer going to be young.
-- I watched my childhood hero have his number retired.
-- I somehow went to England three times.
-- I went hiking in three different countries.
-- I rode one ferry across the Irish sea where I met a scoreboard operator at Citi Field.
-- I went traveling with my girlfriend for 12 straight days and our relationship survived.
-- I learned how to drive stick.
-- I visited 21 cities (London, Kansas City, San Francisco, Oakland, Glen Ellen, Milwaukee, Hollyhead, Dublin, Cashel, Cork, Dingle, Doolin, Belfast, Edinburgh, Portree, Inverness, Washington, D.C., Charleston, Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis)
-- I stepped foot in four countries other than the United States (England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland)
-- I cleaned out my childhood home so my mother could sell it and found a plethora of relics from my childhood sports fandom, including ticket stubs from my first ever Giants game, Jets game and hockey game.
-- I found an unusual way to memorialize all of my childhood video games after the boxes were damaged as part of being stolen from my girlfriend's car.
-- I passed through 12 airports and flew on a plane 16 times.
-- I stayed in four hotels, two hostels, seven friends' apartments or houses, two summer camps, one bed and breakfast and one AirBNB cabin in the Irish countryside next to a cow pasture.
-- I went to four weddings in four states, two of which involved staying at an old summer camp, none of which was in New York.
-- I did not eat at In-N-Out Burger.
-- Luckily, I did eat at Culver's.
-- I did not eat at Giordano's, which might have been the second-worst thing that happened this year after the election.
-- I reached the semifinal of my keeper fantasy football league for the second straight season only to see my team completely fall apart. A week later each offensive performer exploded.
-- I bought my youngest nephew his first Mets hat, passing the torch to a new generation. He promptly cried upon opening it.
-- I wrote a pitiful 16 entries in this here blog.

I am not proud of my lack of writing in this blog -- I owe both of you that read this more than that. I hope in 2017 I can reach those heights again and return this blog to its predetestined state of grandeur. That it fell off the map somewhat in 2016 is not something I will beat myself up over, though. After all, adult life is hard and I'm generally keeping my head above water, which I realize more and more is no small feat.

2016 was busy even if the travails posted here were not. With any luck this year will be busier. Or at least it will be entertaining. I suppose you'll have to visit on January 1, 2018 to find out.

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