Wednesday, December 31, 2008

So long 2008!

Let’s get this out of the way: Those who believe they can, definitively, speak to how 2008 (or any year) will be thought of in 50 years is a self-righteous fool. Harry S. Truman (and to an extent John F. Kennedy) proves otherwise.
Time has a way of clarifying history’s true judgments. Right now, 2008 seems like the year of Barack Obama. History may very well judge that assessment accurate, but it could just as easily be an ironic, negative assessment. Or perhaps the global economic implosion will, ultimately, come to define 2008 and an entire generation. We simply cannot know.
With that said, these reflections are given w/o the benefit of time and are quite likely to be seen as utterly foolish in years to come.
We begin with the trivial: Sports.

January once again gave the Ohio State Buckeyes a thumping, with LSU reaping the benefits. That game annoyed me far more than the year before (with Florida). Why? Stunningly, Jim Tressel seemed to learn nothing from the year before, with an awful gameplan on both sides of the football. A loss to Texas in the upcoming Fiesta Bowl won’t help the cause.

After a big trade in Feb., involving Ben Wallace, Delonte West, and Wally Sczerbiak, the Cavaliers played eventual champs Boston tough, but not tough enough. Looking ahead, that’s OK. As of the afternoon of Dec. 23, the Cavaliers, now with Mo Williams, are 23-4 and, unlike last year’s “LeBron and some other guys” unit, this team CAN truly win an NBA Championship.

The Indians, meanwhile, had huge expectations. They went on to fall flat on their faces. Joe Borowski, and the bullpen as a whole, should be fingered in this, but c’mon, you had platoons all over the place (1B, C, OF). No championship org. should be pinning their hopes on platoons w/ mostly average players (Delucci, for one). And yet, given the Cleveland market and Larry Dolan, this is the reality for the franchise: An extreme dose of good luck (Kerry Wood staying healthy) and good fortune (Shin-Soo Choo playing well) is the only way we’ll ever win.

The year in racing deserves it’s own post, which I probably won’t get to ;), but it ends with the end of an era.

So, Barack Obama will be President in 20 days. I think the night of, and the day after, the Iowa Caucuses were when the awe and gravity of what would possibly happen really hit me. As an abstract, it sounded great. But then, the abstract became reality. Obama, and ALL of us, made it happen.
What kind of POTUS will he be? Again, who knows? I hope he surprises me with, for instance, how he handles the UAW in the next month. But I’m not holding my breath.
Nonetheless, despite the turmoil and difficulty, for me, 2008 was the year we reengaged: with ourselves, each other, and our country.

Happy New Year!