There were a lot of big news and important life moments in the 365 days that constituted my experience of 2014.
But I didn’t have time to write about everything. So I decided to barnstorm through some of the topics of 2014 that mattered to me on some level or just kept nagging at the back of my mind.
So, as the great philosopher, Samuel L. Jackson, once said:
1. Johnny Manziel
The surprising, magical and whirlwind year the Dallas Cowboys have enjoyed up to this point could be identified as having two starting points:
Sunday, Sep. 7, the day of Dallas’ first game of the season, a 28-17 loss to the 49ers and its last “L” for seven weeks.
Or four months earlier on May 8, the first day of the NFL Draft in New York City. Clearly, the latter is the more important date and event. “Why?” you may ask.
Because my prayers to the sports department in the sky were answered that day.
As the first round of the Draft moved along, one thing became very clear to everyone and myself while watching with friends and fellow students at the Front Page Sports Bar & Grill in downtown Indianapolis:
No one was drafting Johnny Manziel. (You thought I was going to use the “F” word, didn’t you?
As every potential landing spot for Manziel went by without drafting the partying, reckless and spotlight-seeking quarterback, I felt the pit in my stomach growing.
It’s the sensation that’s born and continues to grow when you know the Cowboys have the 16th draft pick and They’re owned by Jerry Jones.
As I stood in Front Page, propping myself on a chair for emotional support, I dreaded the thought of watching Commissioner Roger Goodell walk out of the wings and declare, with all the excess power his office grants him, that the Cowboys had drafted a certain 6 foot, 210 LB QB out of Texas A&M. Such a declaration would have signaled the beginning of the end of the Tony Romo-era in Dallas and any hope for success in the immediate future.
But then a miracle happened.
When the 17th pick – owned by the Baltimore Ravens – was on the clock, Johnny Manziel was still available.
Dallas made a fool out of all of us, taking offensive lineman Zach Martin out of Notre Dame, another piece of a puzzle your grandmother starts putting together and takes four years to finish, but when finished depicts a breathtaking landscape of a 12-4 season, an NFL East title and who knows what else.
The Cleveland Browns took Manziel, his nickname and “money” celebration and waited until they had a winning record and playoff chances to unleash it upon the world. Then the magic lasted about as long as a faulty bottle rocket, the kind with great packaging, but a fuse that takes 1 minute to ignite before it fizzles out right before liftoff.
Martin was selected to the Pro Bowl and named a first-team All Pro.
2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
You know what the perfect cure is for a stomach virus that keep you up the entire night following Thanksgiving?
The first footage of a movie you wouldn’t have dreamed was possible just two years prior.
I had waited until about 3 AM with the hopes that the first teaser for Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens would be released on iTunes at midnight Pacific time. As soon as I gave up, so did my stomach.
Hours later, I had set up permanent residence on the couch in my parent’s living room. That’s when the Internet blew up sometime around 9 A.M.
The rest of my morning was wasted away in 88 second increments.
Of course, the best part was the end, when the most famous Corellian freighter in the galaxy showed itself for the first time since 1983.
That could have been the entire teaser and I would have been satisfied.
As for the title, The Force Awakens, it might have been a tad off-putting at first, but it’s now cemented itself in my brain.
2014 was a deceptively good year for film. Sure, Guardians of the Galaxy was some of the most fun I’ve had in a theater in a good while, but there was so much more: The surprise hit that was The Lego Movie, the underrated joy ride that was Edge of Tomorrow (sorry, I mean Live. Die. Repeat), X-Men: Days of Future Past, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Snowpiercer, The One I Love, Her, The Interview and more.
This was also the year my inner 16-year-old died, as I made the conscious decision to not see either the new Transformers or Spider-Man movies. I can only take so much.
I started 2014 reading “Brilliance” by Marcus Sakey on my Kindle that’s since been abandoned. I finished by reading both “A Fan’s Notes” by Frederick Exley and Bob Ryan’s memoir, “Scribe.”
Thanks to my internship at Sporting News I’ve had access to a bunch of unwanted books sent to it for review purposes. Because of this I’m set on sports related reading material for the next two years. Right now I’m reading “A Few Seconds of Panic,” Stephan Fatsis’ 2008 recounting of his quest to become a NFL kicker with the Denver Broncos.
But along the way some books were lost in the fight. I hate giving up on a book and I did it more than once in 2014. Twice I’ve essentially given up on Bob Woodward, setting aside both “The Brethren” and “Veil” when I had read what I wanted to or just became bored. This is even worse considering I had set the long-term goal of reading all of Woodward’s books.
Every book is a battle … of my patience.
5. Backpack, backpack
I threw away my backpack last week. Not just any backpack. It was the backpack that served as my personal carrying device for my last three years of college (at least) and then my five months in Charlotte.
There was nothing particularly special about this backpack, which was brown by the way. But it had been everywhere with me. To numerous sporting events in multiple states and on a two-week vacation in India and when you’re in India for two weeks, you’re bonded for life.
That is until you clean out said backpack and notice the fabric at the bag’s bottom has thinned to near catastrophic levels. I could no longer lug a laptop, two books and one or more notepads wherever I go without the possibility of a very unfortunate and embarrassing incident.
So, after a moment of reflection, I threw it in the trash.
Then I went to Wal-Mart and bought a new, silver backpack for $15.
While leaving I stopped at a Red Box and rented “The Purge: Anarchy” and “What If?”, a new Daniel Radcliffe film. It was at this moment that my mind chose to calculate how many years it would before my 10-year high school reunion.
My mind told me it would be four short years before I was celebrating having graduated in 2009.
Age: reminding you of its existence in the least memorable moments of your life.
Have a great 2015.