(Wikimedia Commons photo of the Space Needle at New Year’s by “X-Weinzar”.)
That 2013 was a massive roller coaster ride for me would be a great understatement.
Professionally, it was as bad as I’ve ever gone through. Personally, I’m sure I’ve not gone through a year quite like it. As a sports fan, it’s as good as I can remember.
(And, yeah, I haven’t been here in a while. Meek explanation to follow.)
I think the last time I went through an entire year without a full-time job was when I was 21. I had just come back from spending time in Minnesota, where nothing went as planned. My mother said I should take some time off and regroup for whatever happened next. Soon after I turned 22, I was working full-time in a library and starting to plot my return to college. So the break turned out pretty good, in the long run.
I’m hoping something like happens this time around. Between applications, interviews, classes, a gazillion resume revamps and reformats, endless cover letters and wondering if I’d ever see a workplace again, it’s currently as bad as my professional life has ever been. I’ve been agonizingly close to a job on numerous occasions, while at other times I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get past a specific point of an interview process or even get contacted. Frustrations have been high, and sometimes it got to the point where I wondered how much more I could take. How many times can I handle getting the emails saying thanks, but no thanks, about a job? How many times can I not get a return phone call, or a return email, about a position? How many times can I impress in the interview, but not enough to get the job? Yeah, the frustrations are great. But all I can do is grind, to keep applying, to keep hoping. Because at some point, I’ll get that job, whatever it is, and all will be fine again. All I can do, is hope.
I did get to start writing again. I have been writing a weekly column for Soccer Newsday, a site that covers many levels of soccer around the world. My focus has been on the Portland Timbers, and I haven’t been short on things to write about. No, I’m not getting paid, but I am writing regularly, and it gives me a bit of a schedule to work on. It’s been fun so far, and it’s even allowed me to add on some followers on Twitter.
(And that’s why I haven’t written much on here lately.)
Speaking of sports…2013 has likely been the best year I’ve had as a sports fan in many, many years. First, there was the run to the Super Bowl by the San Francisco 49ers, and coming so close to actually winning it. Arsenal made the UEFA Champions League again, and finished 2013 on top of the Premier League. The Portland Trail Blazers are stunning the NBA by being one of the best teams so far in the 2013-14 season, shocking a lot of pundits (and fans) in the process. Washington State’s football team made their first bowl game in 10 years, but, being the Cougs, they lost the game after blowing a big lead late.
Then there are the Pittsburgh Pirates. Their run into the MLB playoffs, and getting that first winning record in 21 years, brought my interest in baseball back to the levels of my youth. After so many years, I could say that I was a Pirates fan and not have people give me strange looks. Yeah, they lost to St. Louis in the playoffs, but just being there was amazing. I haven’t screamed at a TV as loud as when the Bucs beat Cincinnati in the wild card playoff. That was fun…baseball, fun! That hadn’t happened in so long, at times I didn’t know how quite to respond. That 2014 could be better makes me smile, and that the Pirates are now contenders rather than afterthoughts is incredible.
Speaking of going from afterthoughts to contenders, may I present the Portland Timbers. What Caleb Porter and the club did in 2013 was nothing short of miraculous. Being one game away from the MLS Cup Final, qualifying for the CONCACAF Champions League, being the best team in the Western Conference during the regular season, beating Seattle in the playoffs…things that only could be distant dreams after a horrendous 2012 season. But, that’s what happened. Will Johnson and Diego Valeri became favorites, the ol’ stadium in Portland was rocking like it hasn’t in a long, long time and hope now springs eternal. That was some season, and I can only hope that 2014 can bring more of the same, and maybe take another step or two forward.
Yeah, there was some bad spots in my sports world. That was mainly reserved for the Edmonton Oilers, who at times made me really question why I support them after all of these years. That I love hockey so much probably saved me from going completely AWOL from the Oilers, but maybe someday they’ll be good again. But that doesn’t look like that’ll happen anytime soon.
But, throughout it all, I just keep living. My wife has been my rock, the calming influence when I’ve just about reached the breaking point. Having good friends, those who keep encouraging in spite of my situation, has also been a big help. Someday, I hope to repay them in some way. Then again, for as much as my wife has gone through with me this year, I don’t know if I can repay her enough. She puts up with my extreme lows and my hopeful highs. I can’t say “I love you” to her enough.
So, 2014 is almost here. All I hope for is that it’ll be better than 2013. That there’s a job in my future, that I can be a good friend and a better person.
The line that sticks in my mind is this: “Believe Beyond Reason”. Because, no matter how bad things get, if you still believe, if you still hope, then things will get better.
To you and yours, a great 2014. Let’s hope for good things, for all of us.
And, maybe, believe beyond reason.