You really can't get a true grasp of how long one calendar year is until you work in small-town T.V. news. It's likely about this time when your local news stations start rolling out "The Year In..." stories. You know, what happened in politics, or criminal cases, or water-skiing squirrels from 2014.
The amount of work needed to compile all of that video? Not to mention writing a script about it all, too? It's some damn fine frustration, the lot of it. My first time doing one of those stupid "Year In" packages took me about four days. Video tapes on top of video tapes, pages of notes, all scattered in a cramped edit bay. It might as well take twelve years to comb through twelve months of stories.
To put it bluntly: I'm no fan of "End of the Year" specials, ones I've produced or otherwise. That includes your Facebook "Look Back at all the Photos I Already Posted and You Already Ignored" posts, too. We get it, you took a lot of pictures this year.
Now, that doesn't mean I don't get a little nostalgic around this time, because I do. I mean, it's kind of hard not to, what with the news stories and ESPN's annual Year in Review and your damn Facebook posts! Plus, heading into year three here at TNIAAM, I do get to scour through my posts from the past months-- a little bit like a diary. Um...I mean, a a journal! A MANLY JOURNAL. A MAURNAL!
Hell, in 2014 alone, I almost died! I wrote about my dad and how him and I discovered Bunker Games way back when. Actually, I wrote about my dad a couple of times, something I had never done before. What can I say? This was the tenth year since I've last asked him for advice, or hugged him or heard his booming laugh. I had a lot to write about.
And, in review, 2014 kind of sucked.
I don't think we like to write off years completely. It's one thing to have an off day or a month, but an entire 365 days? That seems less about luck and more of an indictment. The whole year can't be bad! Well, sometimes, it kind of can be. And, trust me, 2014 won't rank too highly when I scroll through the years while laying on my death bed.
Good riddance, '14!
(Which is kind of eerie for me. 1994 was one rough year and when 2004 rolled around I remember being worried -- something about the symmetry of it all. Then, wouldn't you know it, '04 goes down as the single worst year of my life! 2014 wasn't on that level of bad, but it's odd how '94, '04 and this year all mostly blew for me, isn't it? What are the odds my tombstone will have "2024" on it?)
It was the same on the "Sports Front" this year. My Eagles and Chip Kelly are specializing in punching my teeth, heart and scrotum all at the same time (a franchise staple, I know) Plus, the Yankees are somehow less interesting than the Mets and the Knicks are doing to basketball what Greg "GERG" Robinson did to football!
Oh, and things haven't been too good with Syracuse athletics, either.
Did You Know: Syracuse football, men's basketball and men's lacrosse are a combined 36-24 in the 2014 calendar year? And the postseason record is a whopping one win and two losses for all three programs total. Yucky.
For Boeheim's boys, since the start of 2014, the overall record is 22 wins to 10 defeats. And if you go from the Boston College loss, the first defeat of this year, to right now, the record for the Orange men sits at 10-10.
Even with this season's maddeningly maddening team, it's hard to believe that there have been ten losses total since January, right? Hell, SU was number one or number two in the country for about six weeks last winter. There was that game-winning answered prayer for Tyler Ennis at Pittsburgh. And who can forget the classic against Duke at the Dome? I think 60,000 people made up the 35,446 attendance that night back in February.
But all that can get a little buried by the losses -- six in the final nine games of last season; four in the first eleven games so far this season. And the Orange have had some doozies in 2014, too. That egg laid to B.C., or how about that...whatever it was...to Villanova last weekend? Georgia Tech ruined the final home game for C.J. Fair, Tyler Ennis, Jerami Grant and Baye Moussa Keita? I was there and I still can't believe that was real life.
Luckily, Sean didn't assign me to do the "Year In Syracuse Hoops" package! There are way too many ups and downs, good and bad stories to choose from. The last twelve months, wheeeww! And that doesn't even include this all-encompassing NCAA investigation that seems to be hoovering over all of Syracuse University like a Black Hawk helicopter waiting to touch down.
Finding enough "good material" in Small Town, U.S.A. covering twelve months can be difficult. With Syracuse, paring it all down would be the real hard part.
And the tone of a Year In Syracuse Hoops would likely take a negative form. From the inexplicable losses to the departures of Ennis and Grant to the NCAA investigation -- there is a lot of "bad" to choose from. It's been a long 365 days for a lot of us, it seems.
But the Saving Grace? The year's odometer is about to reset, refresh. A new twelve months under the "2015" banner. Sure, March may bring NIT for the Orange and Orange fans, but something tells me the narrative will flip come next fall. I know that because of the recruits coming in. I know that because it's not an annual thing for Jim Boeheim to pile up losses.
It'll all be welcomed change -- to get back to the winning, the usual, the real yearly routine. For Syracuse. For any of us. A Happy New Year indeed. And, with luck, maybe this one be worth the effort it takes to retell it all someday.