Saturday, December 27, 2008

Maybe Next Year

This has been a year of unlikely happenings. And while the world seems to be falling apart everywhere you look with the economic crisis, the on going wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the end of these being nowhere in sight, there have been some great things that have happened this year. And with the new year comes new hope.

I'm just going to talk about the good things in the sports world. Though I love politics, I've tried to keep this blog free of my personal views on the election. However, it is impossible to talk about things happening this year without at least mentioning the historic election of Barack Obama. And to tie this into sports somehow, he has expressed interest in getting a playoff system for college football. And for that policy he has my whole hearted support.

This year has been one of upsets and unlikely characters winning. The World Series featured the Tampa Bay Ray, who had never before had a winning season and the Philadelphia Phillies, whose city had suffered from a 25 year championship drought. The Phillies won and the in an even more unlikely turn of events, everyone is Philadelphia was happy for a few weeks. That was a truly amazing sight. The Rays gave hope to every small market team that with good management and a well stocked farm system allows a team to compete even in a division with the Yankees and the Red Sox.

Another surprise this year for me was the Ravens actually being competitive. With so much turnover and so many changes I picked them to go 5-11. They are now one win away from having the opposite record and going to the playoffs. My hopes for maybe next year turned into maybe this year. A win over Jacksonville tomorrow will cement a playoff berth and even a loss with some help could send them into the post season. The Ravens have been competitive all season and had some hard losses. Overall, they've been really fun to watch and it's been great to finally see some offense from this team.

The Terps football team was one of constant surprises. Each week a different team seemed to take the field. And they seemed to win the games they were supposed to lose and lose the ones they were supposed to win. They went from thoroughly enjoyable to completely unwatchable. It was a frustrating season, but they ended with a respectable record and a bowl game. So next year hopefully they'll be a tad more consistent and go to a bowl game in a warm city, instead of Boise. But a bowl game is always nice, expect another post about this soon.

The Terps basketball team is off to a great start this season. They are 8-2 and winning at the moment. They haven't lost any truly damaging out of conference games. They're only two losses coming to Georgetown and Gonzaga, both ranked. And they have managed upset wins over Michigan and Michigan State. They are playing well with a young team and look to be in a good position going into ACC play in the new year. Hopefully this season will end with a tournament appearance, and not the NIT. Right now things are looking good for the young Terps team.

I also discovered hockey this year. And apparently at the right time. The Caps went from being one of the worst teams in the league to winning their division and making the playoffs last year. Even though they were eliminated in the first round, they fought til the end and gained good experience. This season, the Caps have suffered injury after injury and are still leading their division by ten points. They could make a good run this season if they can get everyone or mostly everyone healthy by playoff time.

Even the Orioles seem to be moving in the right direction. They are shoring up their farm system and trying to sign young players to improve their core. They didn't get Teixeira, but not all is lost. The hometown boy probably wouldn't have been the savior they were looking for anyway. And while it's a slap in the face to go play in New York, that money can be better spent on quality pitching, a far more pressing need for this team. But with Baltimore back on the jerseys, maybe next season will be a winning one.

The Summer Olympics also took place this year. Michael Phelps popularized swimming and won a record eight gold medals. There was also some scandal involved with possibly underage gymnasts. And Usain Bolt shattered his world record 100 meter time even though he slowed down at the end to showboat. China dominated sports I didn't know existed like synchronized diving and trampoline. But the US had strong showing overall and I got sucked into watching sports I didn't care about and cheering for unlikely comebacks. I'm actually excited to see what happens in four years.

The new year is a time to look back and see how far things have come. Its a time to remember the good things of the year and think of ways to make the next year better. With so much turmoil and uncertainty in the world right now its nice to be able to look at sports think of the eternal hope of sports fans. Maybe next year things will turn around.

Thanks for everyone who has supported and read my blog this year. I've really enjoyed writing it and appreciate all the comments and criticisms. I'll try to get a few more posts up this year, but I thought I'd thank you all in advance. Have a happy new year.