2016: In The Rearview Mirror

(originally written 12/28/16)

While parts of the nation teetered on the brink of social collapse throughout 2016, I personally had a decent-ish year. Still, it'd be impossible to live in America and not feel, at the very least, residual effects of all the political unrest around us, and I was no different.
I'd long beamed with unwavering national pride, which has been loudly expressed more than once in the past. Yeah, I was fully aware of our nation's flaws, as well as the flaws of those who ran it. I didn't care. Religious people have Jesus to believe in. The USA was my Jesus, I suppose.


But this summer, at long last, I lost faith. I feared anarchy was imminent when Dallas police were slaughtered in July as supposed retaliation for police shootings elsewhere. It seemed like we were unraveling as a society when we weren't sewn all that tightly in some respects to begin with. News channels, local and national, wasted no opportunity to fan the racial flames—after all, the more barbaric, bloodthirsty cretin in the streets, the more civilized people at home watching their newscasts. Disgusting. Not surprising, though.


The direction we were headed truly devastated me, to the point of tears one night. For the first time, I was not proud to be an American, and would have immediately uprooted if I could have.
I'm grateful that our communities did not disintegrate into war zones, as I tentatively predicted after Dallas. But do not mistake that gratitude for relief—we're still atop a 3,000-mile powder keg, just waiting for the next volatile traffic stop to spark it.


But I digress. On to lighter topics.
In early 2016, I realized I was too old and too fat to compete against college-aged hoopsters. My post moves were too slow to trick them, and at times I literally could not jump on command. After an embarrasing schooling one night, I retired from competitive hoops a month shy of 36—joining Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett as possibly the greatest hoops quartet to walk away in the same year.


(Despite said limitations, in August I was still able to trounce a cocky 24-year-old challenger in one-on-one. I won't lie: that was one nice ego massage for creaky old Skillz.)


Got to catch up with an official fuckton of friends I’d gone at least a year without seeing during the first half of 2016—May was especially memorable in this regard, a number of happy reunions went down. Unfortunately, two months later I saw another pair of friends for what I’m hoping is not the last time. Miriam and Charles...all da best from your peeps out in Cali. You’re so highly thought of that I used preposterous grammar to address you.


Try as I might, I eventually fell back into my old RockStar habits after all but abandoning them in 2015. Unlike in the past, most indulgings were necessary—I was a very busy man at times this year. 


Let's see: I actually planned and executed a Memorial Day BBQ (much appreciation to all who made it!), planned and executed—with help—a July 4th weekend road trip to sunny Idaho (full of beer, laughs, and unfortunately bird blood) and even planned and executed a birthday party for my child in November.
That last one was terrifying—setting up events is not one of my strengths. But I got through it somehow. Thanks again to all who made Josie's day so special just by being there. It'd take a serious blow to the head for me to ever forget it.


And given my clumsiness level at year's end, such a blow might come sooner rather than later—as I type this, I'm currently in a splint recovering from a self-inflicted left thumb sprain that felt more like a break at first. Part of me hoped for a break just for the cast—people sign strange crap on casts, as I found out in 1990 when breaking my wrist. But I'm not here to talk about the past.
I'm also recovering (more slowly) from a bruised rib cage suffered while collapsing onto a wall while skating at Downtown Ice last week. Yes, you read that correctly. Yes, it was a catastrophe. Yes, I'll probably do it again.


In closing, there's just one more 2016 tidbit I'd like to touch on before approaching the 2017 on-ramp—the shuttering of TheSkillzReport.com in September. It was my dream to one day run my own successful "mashup" website, and still is. TSR had a lot of potential, and still does. But when I realized my devotion to the 15-20 regular visitors to my site was taking priority over my devotion to my daughter...it was time to step back (which is also why I suspended my Facebook in July.) 


TSR will return, better than before—I promise you that. And it'll be sooner rather than later. Until then, Happy New Year to all, may your drinks and smooches be tasty as the clock strikes 12.